Starbucks set to open its first U.S. sign language store this year

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Starbucks is opening a branch in Washington D.C., where every worker will be proficient in American Sign Language.

The coffee house will be close to Gallaudet University, the world's only liberal arts institution of higher learning for the deaf.

Starbucks says at least 20 deaf and hard-of-hearing employees will be hired for the so-called "signing store" location. All workers who have hearing will be required to become fluent in sign language.

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The coffee shop will also have art by deaf and hearing impaired artists, and will hold events for the local deaf community.

The signing store will be the first of its kind in the United States, but Starbucks has worked with the deaf community in other markets.

A Malaysian store staffed by deaf baristas opened in 2016. It features wall art that has the word Starbucks spelled out in American Sign Language.

Starbucks' signing store will be open in October.

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