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Starbucks in Milan hires people with special needs

Starbucks in Milan hires people with special needs

The brand new Starbucks in Milan occupies an entire building in the heart of the city. The three-storey building in Piazza Cordusio used to be the headquarter of the Italian Postal Services. Conveniently located just a few steps from the Duomo cathedral and the La Scala opera house, the Starbucks building features an impressive set of original decorations and ornaments dating back to 1901.

In the original plan right in front of this new Italian development of the Seattle-based coffee house there was an outside area for al fresco dining but this specific project needed to be put on hold. Right there where tables and benches needed to be there was a newsstand.

The “edicola” (italian for newsstand) was not like any other. It belonged to a non-profit association whose objective was the social reintegration of people in difficulty. An opportunity to learn a job and to make ends meet. When Mr Howard Schultz came to Milan  to inspect the facilities had the chance to sit and talk with the mayor of Milan, Mr Giuseppe Sala and Father Gino Rigoldi, the leader of Comunità Nuova a non-profit association dedicated to people with special needs. Father Gino did not care that much about the newsstand, he cared about the three people working there who needed a job so he agreed to move it somehwre else in the city as long as Schultz hired at least twenty guests from the Comunità Nuova. And so Mr Schultz did.

Now that Starbucks in Milan has officially opened these twenty guys are already working there making coffee and learning a job in an international environment.

What happend here in Milan is an extraordinary example of how the private and public sector can work together to positively affect the lives of those who are in need.

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