Not Your Typical Deli…

From a young age we’ve been taught to accept everyone for who they are, not what they look like. This is expected to be our mindset even as adults, however this is not always the case. The unemployment rate for disabled teens and adults is 90 percent. Is this fair?

Why are these disabled individuals being mistreated? It’s not because of their disability, it’s actually the employers who are the problem. says that employers aren’t used to working with people with disabilities and they don’t know if they’ll be productive employees. For a local shop in Gilbert, AZ, productivity doesn’t matter. Not Your Typical Deli is a typical deli, with some-not-so typical employees. The sandwich shop’s staff consists almost entirely of teens and adults with various disabilities. Chef W and his wife Vanessa run the shop along with Pam and Chuck DePalma. The DePalma’s have a son with Autism, so the position is special for them. The owners and employees offer twelve-week training programs to begin to prepare the incoming employees for work. The work experience for these individuals is very important because they will gain valuable communication skills. Their confidence level usually grows as well, surrounding themselves with others just like them.

Not Your Typical Deli is one of the first food shops to hire an entire staff of disabled individuals. If more awareness for disabilities is raised, maybe more companies would follow in its path.

By Lauren Miller

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