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Transit Café provides jobs, personal growth

Coal Grove resident Bobbi Jones does it all during her shift at The Transit Cafe, located along South Second Street, in downtown Ironton.

Coal Grove resident Bobbi Jones does it all during her shift at The Transit Cafe, located along South Second Street, in downtown Ironton.

Labeling and filling bags with ham for salads at the Transit Café, Bobbi Jones went about her day at the restaurant where she has worked for four years.

Jones began working there after hearing about it through Tri-State Industries.

The Transit Café is operated in conjunction with the Ironton-Lawrence Community Action Organization and Tri-State Industries’ Board of Developmental Disabilities (DD).

Tri-State Industries (TSI) works with clients with developmental disabilities to place them in jobs around the community. There are currently four TSI clients who work at the café.

Jones does a variety of tasks ranging from ringing up customers at the cash register to washing dishes.

“I’m here five days a week,” said Jones.

For Jones, working at the Transit has been a way for her to break out of her shell and get to know more people.

“I used to not be a people person until I worked down here,” said Jones. “It feels good to meet different people.”

That is Jones’ favorite part about working at the café, she says.

“I have her run the register sometimes,” said café manager Debbie Malone. “She is good and she learns.”

“If we see one of our regular customers come in, we know what they want,” said Jones.

Jones enjoys keeping things light hearted when she works with Malone.

“Making Debbie laugh” is what Jones said is one of the things she likes most about her job.

“She keeps my spirits up,” said Malone.

“Transit Café is a great way for clients to learn the skills and to get out in the community,” said Tim Nunnery, public relations and personnel director with TSI’s DD. “It’s a good starting point for them.”

Working with the employees placed at the café through TSI is something that Malone enjoys doing.

“I have never had so much fun in my life working with these (employees),” said Malone. “They are very easy to train.”

The Transit Café is a good way for TSI clients to interact with the community, said Malone.

“They need to be out in the community,” said Malone. “Too many people (are) stereotyped.”

While Malone spends time training employees at the café, she said that they have taught her things as well.

“They make me appreciate what I have,” said Malone. “Couldn’t ask for a better job.”