Common Ground Café hopes to take the place of the Oasis Café on Veterans Plaza

CLARKSVILLE, TN (CLARKSVILLE NOW) – The Common Ground, a new café offering job training for people with developmental disabilities, may soon be arriving at the Veterans Plaza.

The coffee planned by Directions Progressives Inc. is in many ways the successor to the Oasis Café, previously located at the Plaza before moving to Tennova Healthcare-Clarksville and CMCSS. As with Oasis, PDI plans to employ mentally disabled citizens as a means of vocational training; However, where Oasis primarily employed CMCSS students, Common Ground will offer assistance to a wider range of Clarksvillians.

PDI President and CEO Jay Albertia told Clarksville Now they will partner with Workforce Essentials to recruit employees for The Common Ground.

“What we’re planning to do again is a cafe that would welcome these people with intellectual disabilities, teach them job skills, and then put them on the open market to find jobs. It will be a vocational training site, ”said Albertia.

Common Ground employees will learn the ins and outs of the restaurant industry, including food preparation, working from home, and health guidelines. The cafe will employ job coaches as well as a job developer to help employees find work.

According to Albertia, PDI has 133 clients employed in the community on 89 sites.

‘It’s almost a deserted restaurant’

Albertia said the cafe plays another important role in providing food service to an underserved area. There are only three restaurants within a mile of Veterans Plaza, one of which is a cafe.

Having a cafe nearby gives employees and visitors a place to eat that doesn’t require travel.

“It’s almost a restaurant desert where the square is. I think this will be a great advantage for the employees of the esplanade and for the citizens who go to the esplanade. It helps them, but it’s also a great training ground to then put to work people who might not get help, ”said Albertia.

According to PDI’s potential lease, Common Ground Cafe will be located in suite 102 of Veterans Plaza, a space of 1,075 square feet.

The PDI rental agreement requires approval from the Montgomery County Commission, and is on the agenda for Monday, January 10. The resolution is included in the consent agenda and should pass without issue.

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