Purple Door Coffee (PDC) was launched in 2012 with the objective of creating a self-sustaining employment social enterprise that would provide foundational job and life skills training in conjunction with strong community support. PDC created an exceptional environment for job training and personal development for Dry Bones’ friends within the coffee roasting retail and wholesale business environment.
An Investment that Works
Employment Social Enterprises provide jobs, on-the-job training, and specialized supports to people who face high barriers to employment with the goal of long term job placement.
At Purple Door, we walk alongside young people as they work to overcome barriers, pursue their goals, and realize their potential.
Transitional employment at an employment social enterprise allows people to build their skills and confidence in a supportive environment while they are earning a wage.
The unique combination of a paying job and vital support makes the difference. Services might include help with finding childcare, housing, record expungement, transportation, financial literacy and mental health counseling.
Employment social enterprises support employees with job readiness skills to foster positive job placement outcomes. This support might include interview prep, job research assistance, and resume building.
After exiting an employment social enterprise, people transition into unsubsidized competitive employment.
To bolster long-term success, support often continues after a participant is placed into competitive employment.
So what does a Purple Door graduate look like?
Spend a few minutes with Ducky. She has worked successfully at Purple Door Coffee for almost a year and is set to graduate soon. She transitioned from living on the streets, to living in her van, to getting her own apartment. She recently graduated from high school, carrying out her high school career while living on her own. Graduating was a huge dream, and she did it. In her final months at Dry Bones, Ducky is working on a project that, when successfully completed, will help her attain a full grant for cosmetology school. She is also excited about the potential of becoming a peer support counselor and one day running a non-profit to continue paying it forward.
All of this has also been a dream of hers–one that she has worked hard to make a reality!
The Dry Bones to Purple Door Pathway to Success
The journey from the streets and reentry into society is often long and arduous. Among a population living in survival mode, companioning a young person through rigorous life change takes patience, hope, creativity, and steadfast commitment. Many of the young people within the Dry Bones community are ready for the high challenge of entering the Purple Door job training program. Others are not. For the young person seeking life change through PDC, they must demonstrate desire, resolve, and be ready for a pathway filled with the ups and downs of the rewarding journey ahead.
1. Meeting young people where they are, both physically and emotionally.
The Dry Bones outreach team meets young people experiencing houselessness throughout the city of Denver. Through high invitation opportunities, relationships are formed, and the art of companioning begins. Opportunities for connection, fun, and fulfilling basic needs are often the first step, including services like home-cooked meals, showers and laundry facilities, bowling, movie days, camping trips, doctors’ appointments, connecting to vital resources, sharing clothing and survival supplies, and more. Safe spaces of healing are intentionally created. Spiritual and emotional support become the daily norm. The Dry Bones Emotional Support Team is engaged among those ready for more intense support. This team involves a small group of therapists, psychiatrists, pastoral counselors, and life coaches. Through companionship and walking the path of life together, individuals arise that are clearly ready for a higher challenge invitation. These are the young people that the Dry Bones team invites into the next step of job training at Purple Door. (Note: For some, PDC is not always prescribed or needed. Dry Bones has many friends that are able to move directly into work or school without needing intensive life skills and job training. Other friends have not demonstrated readiness for work or training and are therefore not yet candidates for PDC.)
2. For those ready to proceed, the high challenge invitation of filling out a job application to work at Purple Door is shared.
The candidate is interviewed by the PDC team and potentially given the opportunity to begin the 12-month program at the roastery. During these 12 months, the work of life change ramps up significantly as the curriculum begins on day one. The PDC staff social worker provides a full assessment that looks at various needs and employment barriers, such as: housing, transportation, budgeting and banking, mental and emotional health, legal issues, document requirements, and more. The employee will begin working on the production of coffee, but much more is happening alongside their daily tasks as these barriers are addressed. Weekly coaching and curriculum meetings take place, along with celebrating significant milestones along the way.
3. During the final three months of the training curriculum, the PDC team begins the process of launching the newly empowered young person into a lifetime of sustainable employment.
Most of the graduates will prepare a fresh resume and begin applying for jobs around their career interests and goals. Assistance locating their next job along with three full months of intentional follow-up post-graduation by PDC staff are all a part of the curriculum. Purple Door Coffee seeks to create an environment to offer long-term employment opportunities to some of its graduates within two categories.
*Graduates that that would greatly benefit from further mentorship in a next-stage work environment before fully entering the larger workforce.
*Graduates that desire to remain in the professional coffee industry and can become mentors of future program employees. One of the many benefits of the new flagship shop is that it will fulfill this important need.
Don’t Miss an Opportunity to Make a Difference
Your meaningful gift allows Purple Door Coffee to continue to be a place of holistic employment, teaching and support to young adults transitioning from street life to self-sufficiency.