Artistas Cafe, a coffeehouse located in Tampa that only offers employment to adults with autism, is taking their healthy snacks and drinks on the road. The cafe was previously inside a local Mercedes Bens dealership and operated during set hours, according to Tampa Bay Times. Now they have moved their operations to a food truck name the “Bean Mobile“, which runs when it is booked for events. The Artistas Cafe was created in collaboration with the Education Department at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP). Being on the road will be a better way to promote the cafe’s mission of showing the public that employees with autism are great workers, reports the NBC Miami. The cafe accepts interns with disabilities from the USFSP and provides skills training while helping students feel confident in their abilities. According to the Artistas Cafe website, some interns obtained paid positions at the cafe while others were hired at local businesses.
Vicky Westra, Artistas Cafe’s founder, has a 21-year-old daughter with autism, reports Tampa Bay Times. “The severity of autism varies from person to person. Some autistic adults are highly functional. Others struggle with basic communication. But all are employable”, Westra told Tampa Bay Times. Russell Wadsworth and Remmick Wadsworth are both baristas for the Bean Mobile. They both completed the Artistas Cafe program and obtained employment at the cafe and food truck. Take a look at Russell and Remmick’s Artistas Cafe video testimonials here.