Bike Union’s unique requirements
November 14, 2019
Everyday around 3:05 p.m., a wave of Central students storms The Bike Union and Coffee stationed parallel to Capitol Hill. Pupils use this space to talk, wait for rides and study after a long day. Even though this shop is used daily by Central kids, not much is really known about The Bike Union.
Since Central is right across the street, one may think students would be fighting over after-school jobs. Very few of them would get hired. The Bike Union has very unique requirements for its employees. Each employee that is considered must have been involved in the foster care system in some way, preferably someone that has “aged out” of foster care or a background very similar to foster care.
The job is a year–long program where each employee gets 20 paid hours per week while simultaneously getting taught work force and professional development skills.
“On both the bike and coffee side, we work on building skills to either be more work force ready,” said operations manager Curtis Wilson, “or build the skills one needs to leverage into a job in the future.”
All staff go through a mandatory mentoring program that includes financial literacy classes, personal health and wellness, mindfulness and meditation and GED prep courses to prepare for the future. Every course takes place while employees are on the clock.
The slogan, “One coffee cup, one changed life,” refers to their state of social enterprise nonprofit. Every time someone comes in to buy a coffee, the staff is receiving work force development from that customer for free. The shop remains running due to the countless foundations and organizations that fund them little by little.