Starbucks opened its 100th store in Singapore on Friday, and joined a growing list of companies that have hired people with special needs.
In its first such partnership, the global coffee chain's store at Fullerton Waterboat House has hired six clients from the Autism Resource Centre (ARC).
Starbucks has committed to have ARC clients form at least a quarter of the staff at the store. This is part of an ongoing collaboration with the charity, which began in 2005, to train people with autism and equip them with job skills. One such joint programme that they have launched was the setting up of a cafe training facility for youth with autism in ARC's special education school Pathlight School last year.
Tumblers bearing the Starbucks logo that are designed by a student at Pathlight School will also be sold exclusively at the store, with $5 from the sale of each tumbler going to ARC.
ARC president Denise Phua, who is also MP for Moulmein-Kallang GRC, said: "Many persons with autism can become contributing members of the workforce if they are properly identified, trained and supported at work."
"This expanded collaboration with Starbucks showcases the immense possibilities available for persons who might otherwise be left behind in our fast-paced society."
Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing and the ministry's Parliamentary Secretary Low Yen Ling also attended the store's opening.