In January 2021, leaders met with an employment consultant looking to get her client, Damian, started at Goodwill through a program. Rather than going the program route, leaders decided to hire him immediately, said Jen Meisner, former Store Team Leader and current Retail Training and Project Coordinator.

“We thought this is a good opportunity,” Jen said. “Damian is coming to us at the right time, and we can accommodate his schedule.”

Because Damian lives at a group home, he needs to have certain work hours to have his transportation needs covered. Damian, who is deaf, started working four-hour shifts three days a week as a ticketer and had a job coach with him.

“He was very successful right away,” Jen said.

They initially used a tablet to communicate, but it didn’t work for him or for the team. Instead, they now rely on handwritten notes.

“He can communicate through paper, and that’s what we found was the best way to communicate,” Jen said.

In the beginning he had some barriers with leaving early. Communicating the importance of staying the entire shift was challenging, but they worked through it and shared how if cleaning was going too fast and finished up early, he can ticket a few more items afterward.

“It was a process and will continue to be a process,” Jen said.

It’s been working so well that he is being elevated to working four, four-hour days a week with the goal of increasing that, depending on transportation.

“All the leaders grew him together, and the team members were amazing,” Jen said. “He feels value added when he comes to work every day. It works. It is nice to see someone be happy.”