In a unique partnership with the library, NIVC is operating the coffee shop in the Mason City Public Library Commons, Java Works, providing a service not only to those who drink the coffee but to those who serve it.
It gives men and women from NIVC the chance to learn and use job skills, said Sherri Becker, executive director of NIVC. “It encourages purposeful lives,” she said.
Becker worked with Library Director Mary Markwalter, the NIVC Board and the Library Board to make it happen. She said she first thought about what a good fit it would be when she learned the previous proprietor, Cabin Coffee, was closing its library outlet.
“I’ve been intrigued by this idea for a long time,” she said when plans were announced last month. “We’re all about jobs.” Bill Reid, who has past experience as a coffee shop proprietor, is now a NIVC employee who works with the clients at Java Works.
It is open from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., serving various kinds and flavors of coffee as well as cookies and pastries and now sandwiches with literary themed names, like Tolstoy Tuna Sandwich.
NIVC Services currently trains individuals in food preparation, service, and clean-up at an on-site kitchen cafeteria that also provides breakfast and lunch to over 50 trainees and employees for an affordable price. This training can lead to a food service certificate and more importantly to open jobs in the community.
Now trainees can move on to the coffee shop to add skills and build on customer service delivery. It is a win – win employment training expansion. Library patrons and guests enjoy refreshments and area employers end up as winners of trained employees.