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Couple Cooks Up Plan to Help People With Disabilities Enter the Job Market

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Walter and Judy Gloshinski opened Smiling With Hope Pizza in Reno, Nevada, in January, and the business has already received an incredible response from the community. Not only has the demand for their pizzas been so high that they’ve run out of dough a few times, but they are aiming to turn their eatery into a place that offers people with disabilities steady employment.

“We did it because it needed to be done,” Gloshinski told ABC News. “There are no jobs out there for these kids.”

For the last two decades Gloshinski worked as a special educator opening businesses in California, Texas and Ohio with public schools that trained students with disabilities for competitive work, according to the Smiling With Hope Pizza website.

Gloshinski says the training process is thorough, but they try to tailor it around the needs of their employees. “We try to assess their skills, and place them in a situation where they can be successful and grow,” he told ABC News. “Right now one of our trainees likes to be in the back. She does all the dishes, puts together pizza boxes, and she does the garlic knots. The other trainee is a people person, so he is up front seating people, bussing tables and waiting tables.”

The Gloshinskis currently work with two volunteer chefs and two trainees with developmental disabilities, and they’re hoping to expand. Smiling With Hope Pizza’s ultimate goal is to “become a nonprofit and provide safe housing, pension plans, vacations, for our employees,” according to its website.

Beth Sullivan, chairman, International Down Syndrome Coalition told The Mighty:

“Contrary to common belief, hiring people with disabilities is actually good for the bottom line and improves corporate culture. Technology has eliminated or lessened many of the barriers that were previously faced by people with disabilities in the workforce. Any necessary workplace accommodations are low in cost and ultimately positively impact the workplace.

As more business like Smiling With Hope Pizza showcase the talents of these workers, more people with intellectual disabilities will find employment and more companies will take the chance at hiring them.”

Originally published: March 3, 2016
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