BENTON, Ark. – Goodwill Industries of Arkansas has created a new job placement program to help bridge the gap for those living with hearing disabilities. 

The DREAMS program, which stands for Deaf Readiness to Employment and Achieving Maximum Success began late last year and has already seen huge success – placing at least a dozen individuals in new jobs. 

“So within the DREAMS program it’s offered to them in their language and their culture,” says Britany Fuhrmann, a job coach and staff interpreter for Goodwill. “We have a job coach who is also deaf herself shes able to contribute the struggles that shes had along the way to find employment.” 

The people in the program have defined vocational goals and work with staff to create an individualized employment plan to help them be successful at their jobs. 

More than five percent of Arkansans have a hearing disability according to a 2017 report by Cornell University. One challenge they face is finding employment. 

The National Deaf Center reports 60 percent of people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind are unemployed. Most of them are unable to find work. 

Goodwill recently began accepting clients into the DREAMS program in hopes to change the culture and conception.