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The Periscope

Curing Ignorance Through the Lens

Equal Opportunity Employers


New employment opportunities for the disadvantaged and the disabled are seeing success.

It’s hard enough to find a job these days, with some people at an even greater disadvantage. However a couple different businesses have developed unique hiring practices to help those that may have a particularly tough time securing work.

The owners of RedTail Coffee based in Fort Collins, Colorado, decided to hire some of the low-income and homeless people who had moved into a recently built housing development. The housing construction had faced resistance from the local neighborhood, but Seth Kelley, cofounder of the shop, wanted to change the neighborhood’s perception. He says, “It challenges the idea that people who are homeless are lazy or just aren’t working hard enough,” and added that, “It’s been a very positive experience thus far. It’s definitely opening up the eyes of people who live in the area.” Homeless individuals experience greater obstacles in getting hired since most employers require a permanent address and many encounter discrimination.

Another business is Signs, a casual-dining restaurant, which recently opened in Toronto and is staffed by deaf people. The menus have icons for each of the dishes so that customers can learn how to order their food and describe any requests using American Sign Language. The owner of the business, Anjan Manikumar, got the idea for Signs while working at a different restaurant where he met a deaf diner who had to point at the menu to order. The new restaurant gives deaf people the opportunity to work in the service sector and patrons the chance to communicate in a different language.  

Photo by Chris Brown, licensed under Creative Commons.