Springfield, OH. – Springfield’s own TAC – The Abilities Connection, Inc. (TAC) has taken a pioneering role in expanding the horizon for employment opportunities in the local community and beyond for people with disabilities with a unique, healthy alternative for a quick meal grown and harvested in part from their own hydroponics greenhouse and sourced locally for other ingredients and menu offerings. The new restaurant, “Fresh Abilities – Salads inspired by Porttion” is located in the former Myers Market which is now the setting for COhatch – The Market at 101 S. Fountain in downtown Springfield.
The non-profit organization has been serving individuals with disabilities for over 35 years. As advocates for inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, TAC has dedicated the time and effort into creating this restaurant run by employees with disabilities. The mission of TAC is to employ, connect, and care for people with disabilities in the community settings of their choice and TAC believes that individuals thrive in a nurturing, respectful, and developmentally appropriate learning environment. TAC currently serves nearly 250 individuals with a wide array of disabilities. The estimated opening for Fresh Abilities will be in early 2020.
For those who choose to make Fresh Abilities a career choice, they will receive 18 days of hands on food service training including the national standard for safe food handling ServSafe Level 2 certification, in addition to food preparation, customer service, online order fulfillment and point of sale systems prior to beginning work in the restaurant. In effect, those who work for Fresh Abilities will be gaining the skills, experience and certifications which will make their resumes stand apart from others seeking employment in the food service industry.
TAC CEO, Jim Zahora, is excited for the possibilities that Fresh Abilities offers in terms of food options and of course, for the greater community. “I can think of no other setting that I have seen that combines so much of what people have to offer and what they stand to gain personally. If we do our jobs right on this venture, I see the potential for great relationships to be established for our employees with their fellow Springfield citizens. Nothing would make me happier than to have our employees eventually be able to use their experience with us as a pathway to employment in the greater community.”
Fresh Abilities will open for business in mid-February 2020.