Metropolis Coffee partners up with Aspire for a more inclusive workplace

A local coffee company is being recognized for its efforts to maintain an inclusive workplace. 

For 10 years now, Metropolis Coffee Company in Avondale has been offering meaningful employment to people with disabilities. Their partnership with the non-profit Aspire, helps make it happen.  

"We are all about creating inclusive workspaces and inclusive communities, so Aspire our parent nonprofit partnered with Metropolis. They roast our coffee, and we have a team with developmental disabilities that package it up so we can sell it to offices and ship it to homes all around the country," said Katie Filippini, director of Aspire Coffeeworks.

"Our team members are in charge of labeling all the coffee bags and then scooping, weighing, and grinding all the coffee, so we can get it out the door. A super important job here, " said Filippini.

In addition to creating jobs, 100% of the net proceeds for the coffee benefit Aspire, she said. And jobs are key, said Filippini, since more than 70% of people with disabilities are unemployed.

Rene Ruano has worked at the Metropolis Roastery for six years. 

"I definitely love this job," Ruano said. "It's the great feeling you have in the environment when you work with great people every day, you smell the delicious coffee, which I actually do right now, and you just have fun with everybody," he said.

Metropolis Founder Tony Dreyfuss said partnering with Aspire just made sense.

"I feel like I saw the possibility with it right away, that coffee could make a difference in the lives of others. And I saw a lot of likeness between Aspire and Metropolis," Dreyfuss said.

The company was first started 20 years ago, and Metropolis coffees can be found in area grocery stores. But people are welcome to visit the roastery at Rockwell on the River and as Fillipini puts it, "Consider buying coffee for your home or office."

Aspire partners with some 200 area businesses to provide employees with developmental disabilities. Aspire Coffeeworks sells more than 30,000 pounds of coffee each year. 

"More than a million cups of inspiration," said Serena Alaily – Aspire CEO. 

The goal is to break down barriers for adults with disabilities who want to enter the workforce.

The organization will honor Metropolis at its upcoming gala in the West Loop March 16. Tickets can be purchased at