New restaurant provides individuals with disabilities industry skills

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) — Before the COVID-19 outbreak, people with disabilities were unemployed at nearly double the rate of people without disabilities.

TAC Industries, a non-profit that provides training and jobs to residents with disabilities, plans to bridge that gap with a new restaurant called Fresh Abilities opening in Springfield.

“The ultimate goal is to help them go as far as they want to go in life,” said Harrison Wang, general manager at Fresh Abilities.

The restaurant serves smoothies, soups, and salads made with lettuce grown and harvested in TAC’s hydroponic greenhouse.

“What we do is we check the PH level and the conductivity of the water every day to make sure it gets all of the nutrients and that’s really the exciting part, our lettuce is so good because it gets exactly what it needs,” Wang said.

During training, employees like Tonya Williams and Laura Rose learn knife safety, crisis management, and become certified ServSafe food handlers.

“I make salads and I help them make smoothies and also I help them with cleaning,” Rose said.

“I was nervous the first time doing it but I’m a pro,” said Williams.

“They can go to any restaurant and say ‘Hey I can prep for you. I can make salads or sandwiches,’ that’s the kind of training we’ve really given them,” Wang said. “As far as the restaurant industry we hire all the time and the turn over is great so for TAC to be able to train these folks to go into any restaurant and do the job for them I think it opens up a huge door for the folks.”

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