By CAROLINE PATRICKIS, ABC7 News
WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Starbucks is opening its first signing store in the United States in Washington, D.C., later this year.
It will be a store designed for the deaf community.
The company announced Thursday it will provide "employment opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing people as a part of the company’s ongoing commitment to inclusion, accessibility and diversity."
The chain is expected to hire 20 to 25 deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing partners from across the country to work at the signing store. Additionally, all partners will be fluent in American sign language.
The store will be located at 6th and H streets near Gallaudet University, a bustling hub that is deaf-friendly. It's set to open in early October.
Starbucks said, "The store will create a distinctive retail experience for all customers, while offering a unique store format that promotes accessibility and offers employment and career advancement opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing people."
"The National Association of the Deaf applauds Starbucks for opening a signing store that employs deaf and hard of hearing people,” said Howard A. Rosenblum, CEO of the National Association of the Deaf. “Starbucks has taken an innovative approach to incorporating deaf culture that will increase employment opportunities as well as accessibility for deaf and hard of hearing people, while at the same time educating and enlightening society."