Our Workplace Skills Development Program
Work Opportunities for Young Adults with Special Needs
At Piccolo & Dolce, we have a passion for creating opportunities for people of all abilities. That’s why we’ve built a comfortable environment where young adults with special needs can develop workplace skills and gain experience. Our candy shop was established with our community in mind and we love initiating an inclusive workforce with the our workplace skills program.
With few resources and programs currently in effect, owner BJ Gerl has a heartfelt mission to help teenagers and young adults like his son. We wanted to create a safe place where people of all abilities can thrive and be part of something positive.
Candy and Community
Piccolo & Dolce offers a positive community where young adults with disabilities can take pride in their work. Our candy shop is a pleasant place where they can learn to collaborate with others and their optimistic spirit can flourish with professional development.
Candy shop workers learn how to succeed in a workplace setting. Our goal is to teach these young adults how to work and to be more independent, allowing them to secure employment positions in the future. Our workplace skills program is designed so participants can gain workplace socialization and customer interaction. It provides workers with a goal to focus on and also increases confidence.
Our workplace skills program helps these young adults develop independence and prepare for other employers along the way. We train, prepare, and test candy shop workers to become food handlers certified by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
These workers will have valid food handler certificates upon leaving our program. This certification can be taken to other restaurants and retail stores for future work opportunities throughout Illinois.
Mentors and Volunteers
In addition to our in-house staff, we rely on kind-hearted community members to mentor our candy shop workers. Our volunteer program connects volunteers with our candy shop crew. Mentors offer guidance, instruction, and reassurance to candy shop workers.