LiFT University MicroBusiness Program
LiFT University, Entrepreneurship in Education
In 2018, LiFT University added Micro-businesses to its course offerings. These businesses allow students the opportunity to gain skills that will add greatly to their value as an employee. Through entrepreneurship, young adults with disabilities learn organizational skills, including time management, leadership development and interpersonal skills, all of which are highly transferable skills sought by employers.
- Positive outcomes include:
- Increased problem-solving and decision-making abilities
- Improved interpersonal relationships, teamwork, money management, and public speaking skills
- Job readiness
- Enhanced social psychological development ie. self-esteem, ego development, self-efficacy
LiFT University currently has three micro-businesses:
LiFT U Cleaning Crew, Supervisor: Phillip Martin Opened for business in September 2018. The LiFT U Cleaning Crew is brand new this year. Mr. Phillip Martin (LiFT University staff member) is the CEO and Job Coach. Phillip’s son, Bryan Martin, is an experienced trainer. Currently, three students: Erik, Bryan, and Ian have been assigned an Internship with the LiFT U Cleaning Crew. Students are learning janitorial skills that will prove to be beneficial as they seek employment in an industry that is lacking workers. For every 20 job openings in this field, there is one prospective employee to fill the vacancies. Mr. Duffy (father of staff member Ashley Duffy) owner of City-Wide Maintenance of Tampa Bay, has offered his expert advice in training our students in the field of building maintenance. LiFT U Cleaning Crew trains at Pinellas Park Church of Christ and the church donates $250 per month to LiFT U to support this micro-business.
Leo’s Cafe, Supervisors: Michele Kochanik and Phillip Martin Leo’s opened for business in September of 2016. However, the business plan was scrapped in June of 2018 and the program was completely re-developed. It opened to customers on September 11, 2018. Students participated in the overhaul process. The new, and much improved, business model provides a service to the students and staff at LiFT, while providing LiFT U students with an opportunity to learn multiple job skills related to the food industry: branding, customer service, food prep, money management, business development, and cleaning. LiFT University students operate the cafe two days a week: Wednesdays and Thursdays offering lunch to LiFT Academy students and staff.