Today’s Special, Inc. is a bakery that aims to be a leader in the food service industry by empowering individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to take an active role in the distribution, development, and marketing of high quality baked goods that are produced in a truly integrated workplace. We believe that the food service industry is uniquely positioned to bring communities together and we take pride in producing high quality baked goods while striving to create an inclusive world.
Created and operated by the family of a person with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Today’s Special, Inc., a start-up business operating as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, intends to raise funds through grants and charitable donations to open bakeries designed to provide employment opportunities for people of different abilities.
Funds will be used to secure a bakery facility, purchase capital equipment, make leasehold improvements, cover start-up expenses, purchase initial inventory, and provide adequate capital for daily operating expenses. These funds will enable Today’s Special to open for business at an independent location and begin generating sustainable income. Over the longer term, Today’s Special plans a steady growth trajectory to open multiple locations.
Today’s Special was born out of need, as are so many forward-thinking ventures that impact the lives of others. Founder Michelle Carlucci’s son, Harry, has different abilities. Harry began his employment experience at age 16, working in various positions offered through his school program. Because of the accepting times we live in, Harry enjoyed a life of inclusion with his typical peers throughout school and at various community-based social clubs. His generation, including people of all abilities, is passionately engaged in the inclusion revolution. Now a young adult of 23, Harry has aged out of the school system, transitioning into the adult workforce. Unfortunately, once children age out of the school system, employment opportunities, as well as social opportunities, become scarce. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for workers of different abilities, ages 16 to 64, is approximately 11%. In contrast, for the same age group without different abilities, the rate is half, at 5% (see Part III). Our citizens of different abilities merit an expectation of inclusion that does not end in adulthood. This employment gap is where Today’s Special expects to make an impact, by distinctively providing employment opportunities to people of different abilities, thus providing a continued and fulfilling life of inclusion.