Starbucks will open its first signing store in Washington, DC, U.S. to create employment opportunities for the deaf community.
The coffee brand will hire 20-25 Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing partners from across the country to work at the Signing Store with a requirement that all be proficient in American Sign Language (ASL).
Starbucks previously opened a similar signing store in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2016 with nine deaf partners. Starbucks also has an internal team of Starbucks Deaf Leadership, Accessibility office and Access Alliance which will support the opening of the store.
Howard A. Rosenblum, CEO of the National Association of the Deaf said: "The National Association of the Deaf applauds Starbucks for opening a Signing Store that employs Deaf and hard of hearing people.
"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."
Rossann Williams, Starbucks executive vice president of U.S. Retail said: “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.
"This store is truly from partners, for partners, and we couldn’t have gotten here without the team of Deaf partners and allies from our Accessibility office and the Access Alliance partner network who came together to bring this vision to life. I look forward to the team welcoming the community to this store in October.”