Mission In Action

Emerging Employee Opportunities – N.E.S.T. Program

A Little Compassion launched a workforce development training/work  experience program in August of 2020!

The goal of The N.E.S.T. (New Employment Skills Training) Program is to build skills and confidence for future independent employment.

The NEST program takes place 2-4 hours a week over a 4-6 week period and is adapted based on each person’s skills and support needs. The program provides participants with work experience and career exploration in an authentic environment with our lead staff and job coaches.

Structured training and supports ensure all participants develop self-knowledge, confidence, as well as basic work and interpersonal skills  valuable in any  workplace. Participants also have the opportunity to learn the major tasks and basic ins and outs of an authentic coffee shop.

The program is a fee for service program for eligible participants who are  young adult (ages 16-30) with autism or other neurodiversity who has basic  job readiness and functional skills that allow them to participate fully in our program to explore and prepare for the world of work.

Limited scholarships are available for The NEST program for a limited number  of participants through a generous grant from the Liberty Bank Foundation.

Interested individuals can contact jodi@alittlecompassion.org for further program information and eligibility.

Nest Interns and Customers are Perfect Match

At any one time The Nest Coffee House has between 6 and 8 young adults high school students with autism, intellectual/developmental disabilities or neurodiversity actively a part of our shop? Through our collaboration with local school transition programs these amazing young adults are learning so much by being with us at The Nest 1 or 2 days a week. As interns they follow the same process as our employees by filling out an application, completing an interview and beginning their on the job training out front in the shop. Not only are they trying out every facet of being part of a coffee shop, but they are getting the critical worker skills that can make or break any job: arriving on time, having a clean uniform, following a supervisor’s directions, accepting feedback, working with co-workers and more.

Here’s a statistic that might surprise you ...

The most important predictor of future success for a young adult with a disability is if they had a job in high school.  The critical experiences at this age set the stage for all future employment by not only providing worker skills and job experience but more importantly, to build the confidence and self-esteem needed to be out there in the world of work!  At The Nest our plan for these student interns is pretty straightforward. We surround them with whatever supports they need to succeed during their time with us. Whether that is breaking jobs down into much smaller parts, providing the repetition needed to retain a skill, modifying tasks to fit their ability, providing a role model with our lead staff, giving positive feedback and setting higher goals or being active at understanding  and meeting their emotional support needs in these ever changing times.  Simply said, we make a very stressful new situation comfortable so learning can take place.  We know it works because we have hired many of our interns and customers just rave about their skills.

But we don’t do it alone ...

Every customer who comes into The Nest provides important training to our interns. Simply by placing your order and being patient when it needs to be repeated several times, chatting with them as they enter your order to teach them customer relation skills, encouraging them when the task feels especially difficult, providing praise for a job well done, understanding when your order takes a bit longer or is not quite what you had expected…and finally being kind. These are all incredible gifts and ones we could never provide without you and we feel comfortable bragging that our customers are the best around. So next time you stop in, recognize that you are wearing an invisible super hero cape. Together we are making the world more inclusive one person at a time and there is great power in your purchase of a simple cup of coffee or treat at The Nest. Opportunity Brews Confidence here!