Starbucks opens first sign language store

The American coffee giant will give employment opportunities to deaf and hard of hearing people

World’s largest café chain, Starbucks, has decided to make its service more diverse. In October 2018, the company will launch America’s first ever sign language store in Washington D.C.

Starbucks will hire around 20 deaf, hard of hearing and hearing partners from across the United States to work at the new Signing Store with a requirement that all be proficient in American Sign Language.

The store will provide a distinctive retail experience for all customers, while offering a unique store format that promotes accessibility and offers employment and career advancement opportunities for Deaf and hard of hearing people.

“The National Association of the Deaf applauds Starbucks for opening a Signing Store that employs Deaf and hard of hearing people,” said Howard A. Rosenblum, CEO of the National Association of the Deaf.

“Starbucks has taken an innovative approach to incorporating Deaf Culture that will increase employment opportunities as well as accessibility for Deaf and hard of hearing people, while at the same time educating and enlightening society.”

“This is a historic moment in Starbucks’ ongoing journey to connect with the deaf and hard of hearing community, hire and engage deaf and hard of hearing partners, and continue to find ways to be more inclusive, accessible and welcoming to all,” Rossann Williams, Starbucks executive vice president of U.S. retail, said in a statement.

However, such concept is not the first one made by Starbucks. The company launched a similar project in Malaysia two years ago. Starbucks partners in the U.S. voiced the opportunity to create a similar third-place experience for the Deaf and hard of hearing community in the U.S

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