Good news for Fowlerville coffee shop dedicated to training, hiring Michiganders with disabilities

What’s happening: A Fowlerville coffee shop was recently selected as an extension campus for Michigan Career and Technical Institute (MCTI), the state agency that provides career development training for Michiganders with disabilities. The nonprofit cafe and coffee shop Torch 180 was selected alongside Kalamazoo’s Northside Association for Community Development as two new extension campuses for MCTI earlier this month.

What it is: Torch 180 is a functioning cafe and coffee shop that has been providing food industry training programs for adults with disabilities since 2016. Those enrolled learn food safety, food preparation, and customer service skills, providing students the vocational training, work experience, and soft skills necessary for more independent lives.

What it does: Adding Torch 180 as an MCTI extension campus provides students new opportunities to earn industry-recognized credentials that will help secure jobs in the food industry, as well as additional MCTI resources.

Why it’s important: "We are so excited to receive this accreditation,” says Torch 180 President Rhonda Callahan. “It gives students the opportunity to earn Michigan Career and Technical Institute's certifications here in Livingston County, and it also adds a welcomed layer of accountability and challenge to our programming."

But that’s not all: The Torch 180 news was paired with a similar announcement for the Northside Association for Community Development, which will provide Certified Nurse Assistant training in Kalamazoo. MCTI also announced a partnership with Plainwell Community Schools to expand adult education services on its main campus in Plainwell, adding new programs for eligible adults to complete their high school education while pursuing postsecondary credentials and certificates.

What they’re saying: “We are committed to finding innovative solutions to help all Michiganders, including those with disabilities, reach their full potential, and the introduction of these new extension campuses and the new adult services program are great examples of this,” says Stephanie Beckhorn, Director of LEO’s Office of Employment and Training. “By finding new ways to help individuals receive the education and training they need to secure good-paying jobs, we’re also supporting Michigan employers who need workers with the right skills to help them grow, compete and succeed.”

Torch 180 is located at 131 Mill St. in Fowlerville.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.