KU is the first university to employ developmentally disabled persons for its bakery.
It may take longer for service, but expect great taste and sincerity
KU is the first university to open a bakery employing people with developmental disabilities.
KU offers a wide range of opportunities for students to share diverse values. For example, North Korean defectors have a chance to realize their entrepreneurial ideas with the help of professional consulting through the KU Startup support program. Students can also experience the meaning of community life at the KU Bakery, managed by the disabled.
The Korea University Bakery, managed by five developmentally disabled employees hired directly by KU, opened on May 2nd. It is located in the 2nd floor lobby of the KU International Studies Hall, which has decent foot traffic. Due to its accessibility, more students now have the opportunity to communicate with disabled employees.
Hiring people with disability is a part of the “Employment Promotion of Disabled Persons” effort, a pledge made by President Jaeho Yeom. He said, “I hope KU students experience and share the diverse values that exist on this campus. There are students with disabilities at KU, and I want them to feel confident that they can become leaders when they join our society after graduation, and become progressive talents transforming our society.”
The individuals with developmental disabilities became KU employees as bakers and salespersons. Four out of the five employed will be making coffee and selling products at the KU Bakery #3 store and the other person, who is a baker, will make bread at the production line. Two of the employees working in the store are licensed baristas. The service speed may be 1.5 times slower than other cafes, but the taste of their coffees does not lack a single thing compared to those made by other baristas.
One of the new hires is a KU student. Dongjoon Lee is a 3rd year business student with Level 3 physical disability. He applied for the position, overcoming his severe condition, and was hired. He stated, “I want to show other students that people with disabilities are no different from them.” He hopes to continue participating in activities related to protecting the rights and improving the public perception of the disabled while studying and working.
KU will actively support the store to invigorate its operation by placing orders for refreshments for school events and meetings. Profits from the store will be used as salaries for the disabled employees and any amount exceeding that expense will go to various program-based scholarships dedicated to disabled students.
* Program based scholarship: Supports students to build their own vision instead of traditional grade-based scholarships.
KU has built close ties with the social enterprise Bear Better, which hires people with developmental disabilities, sharing its philosophy and providing more job opportunities. Bear Better is already successfully operating social enterprises with developmentally disabled persons and was able to provide their experience on managing the KU Bakery.
KU will continue to do its best to fulfill its social responsibility for the marginalized through not only support projects for the disabled, but also, startup support for North Korean defectors and child welfare for multicultural families.