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Inclusive, accessible cafe opens at YVR airport

Paper Planes Cafe offers training and work experience for those from the neurodiverse community.

A new cafe at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) serves more than just coffee.

Paper Planes Cafe, an inclusive coffee bar, officially opened on Monday at YVR in partnership with the Pacific Autism Family Network (PAFN).

The coffee bar provides an inclusive and accessible space for individuals of different abilities from the neurodiverse community to work.

“Paper Planes Cafe is more than just a coffee shop, it is a place where adults with diverse abilities can gain paid employment, training and valuable work experience,” said Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO of Vancouver Airport Authority.

“Travellers passing through YVR will have an opportunity to enjoy quality food and beverages while also upholding employment opportunities for individuals across the neurodiverse community in a safe and empowering place.”

The goal of the coffee bar is to “give power” to individuals with diverse abilities by providing them with a space and the skills and experience they need to succeed in the workforce, Vrooman added.

Paper Planes offers a training program for up to six months for all staff to learn skills in the restaurant and food industry, such as barista talents, food preparation and customer service.

After the training program, staff will be supported during their job search in the community.

“Part of the work we do (at PAFN) is employment initiatives,” said Sergio Cocchia, board chair and president of PAFN.

“Building upon our programming, this (cafe) will allow us to offer meaningful training in a paid position leading to hopefully employment.”

Paper Planes Cafe offers coffee, lattes, pastries and specialty food.

It can be found at YVR’s domestic arrival area and is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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