By Sabrina Maggiore SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – With more than 30 years of business in downtown Syracuse, Provisions Bakery and Restaurant is known for serving sweet treats to local residents. While the bakery may be famous for its chocolate chip cookies, the second oldest store-front in Armory Square prides itself on its reputation as a non-profit bakery where lives are changed. The bakery is run through Access CNY, an organization that seeks to empower individuals with disabilities and brain injuries.
“Over those 30 years we’ve done some very important work, we’ve sold over 200,000 chocolate chip cookies, but more importantly helped achieve success by becoming more independent,” said Matt Seubert, an Associate Executive Director at Access CNY.
The bakery seeks to empower its employees by helping them develop transferrable work skills. Individuals with disabilities accomplish a variety of tasks at the bakery. From working the counters to waiting on tables, employees are taught time management, workplace expectations, and interpersonal skills.
“We also teach the soft skills of employment, how to work with a colleague you don’t get along with, how to navigate public transportation, how to navigate your work schedule,” Seubert explained.
Provisions trainees are typically with the bakery for one to two years before they are encouraged to move onto their next job opportunity. Part of Provisions’ mission is ensuring that the skills employees develop while at the bakery serves as a base line for success at workers’ next employment opportunity.
“It all depends on the progress someone is making in the recovery and the skills they are learning but ideally we don’t like them to be here for much more than two years. We want to see this as a step along the way to their journey towards independence.” Seubert Said.
Since its start, the bakery has helped over 1,000 employees foster a greater sense of independence leading to successive employment opportunities.
Audio Transcript: Provisions Full Interview Transcript