Employment for At-Risk Populations

Dwayne Ross Human Service Training and Staff Development for Agencies that serve the community and improve the Human Condition. 

What is At-Risk?  At Risk for What?  Employment for at Risk Populations need not be a difficult task. So many workforce professionals try to fit people in the job instead of finding jobs that people have a natural affinity to be successful.  It’s a one case at a time approach based upon the gifts, talents and abilities as a foundation. The workshop challenged the attendees to make a positive contribution to the over all bottom line of any company while virtually eliminating the old stigmas, and attitudes associated with job development. Everyone was challenged to learn how to help those considered as at-risk, solve the problems for business owners, which will lead to employment or business development opportunities. Over 20 attendants came to share and gather a tool for their tool box with regards to working with challenging populations.


In today’s economic climate many companies are hiring people who are not only capable of meeting the job description but employers are also looking for generalist who can use their transferable skills to enhance the position they are hired into. With countless millions out of work, the market has become very competitive. In the past many companies would hire a person based upon personality match… but those days are far behind us. Employers are looking for the person who can “do it all”… Ability based.  

KEY: Companies that hire high risk people groups, like welfare recipients, ex-offenders, high school drop-outs, long term unemployed, Individuals with “diff-Abilities” even our wounded veterans face the potential risk that the individuals may be less productive or less skilled than other employees. It is hoped that by indentifying the abilities and focusing on the person not the risk, as well as tapping into governmental wage subsidies will compensate employers for this risk, (such as a tax credit) while providing at-risk populations the opportunity to develop new skills, enhance current abilities and experience necessary to secure long-term, unsubsidized employment.

Four keys to success for working with this population are;

Be Open!

Be Honest!

Be Supportive!

Be a Strategist!

Embracing the needs of your prospective employee allows you to create a team approach to employ-ability success.  It’s time to have an Encounter.  If you want to make a positive impact on the life of another who has major challenges then perhaps you may want to consider using what I call, EMPACT. 

Encounter, Motivation, Persuade, Answer, Commit and Track the results. The EMPACT process is designed to move the person from thinking about the barrier into a a strategic approach to moving through the barrier.  This approach challenges the specialist to focus on the outcome, desires and dreams instead of what they see or know about the person. If you get too focused on what the case file says about the person you may be tempted to make adjustments based upon biases, your own personal limitations and who knows what else. It’s not about You! it’s all about the individual.

The person you are working with. There are three things you may want to consider as you put this process into play… Will you Carve a place in the employment world with this person? Customize an opportunity? or Create something? It’s possible you may need to do all three until you get to the place where the person is at his or her place of employment or doing his or her Work!

 So is work the same thing as a Job?  

     Let’s talk about that in the next post!  

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Affirmations:Turn thoughts into Action

Dwayne Ross talks about Positive Affirmations; Why using Positive Affirmations can cause your mind to attract positive things into your life. Remove the limits, manifest change.

Over the past few years the book titled the Secret gained multi-million dollar recognition because people were looking for a way to bring better things into their lives and this book promised a simple path to getting that accomplished using positive affirmations. I actually watched the movie, my self. I read the bible and guess what?  It said the same thing… we can call something that isn’t actually in out lives right now, into our lives juts by making statements of faith.  In my workshops people say, “You are lying to yourself…” and I always need to break down why an affirmation is much more different than a lie. So once again… what is an affirmation? It’s words that are used a certain way, that when used and stated as a belief, will attract the very thing into your life. Now as I mentioned before… you can just talk a good talk but if it is not supported by an true belief, you are wasting words.

Create a 30 second Montage for your Affirmation.


Athletes use positive affirmations, business people and ordinary everyday people use them effectively to change their lives forever. Many people actually say very negative things that they start to believe and it has the opposite effect… negative things come true.

“I can’t win for losing…  if it ain’t one thing… it’s … If it wasn’t for bad luck I would not luck at….” You can finish the statements, because you have heard them stated in truth over and over again. It’s not scary or spooky, it’s a truth. Anything stated in the affirmative with absolute certainty will come to pass. It’s a power we all have that was given to us when we were created.

Caveat; If you evolved from a monkey… maybe not.

The words that are used over and over again help your mind identify EXACTLY what you want. It’s a type of laser focused thought, that allows your imagination, your brain to capture the words (we talk in pictures) and create actions that lead to the very thing we are repeating.  If you were climbing to the top of a mountain face, you may become weak or start to feel as if you can’t make it. By using the affirmation you will tell your self, ” I am easily standing at the top of this mountain.. or I am completing this climb effortlessly… of “I know I can, I know I can…” remember the book, “The Little Engine that could?” He was using an affirmation. It was spoken with conviction, belief, assurance, attention, desire and it was specific.

I Think I can... "As a Man Thinks... so is he."

If things are not working in your life right now, maybe it’s because you are Saying the things that are bringing you wrong results Change your words… change your life. 

Taking a time out for “DiffAbilities”

Dwayne Ross at the AFP Summit near Washington D.C.  

Hi Everyone,

I am taking a time out because this post is dedicated to what I am engaged in when I am not training….  Improving the lives of those with Disabilities who will now be called “DiffAbility” according to Tim Shriver CEO of Special Olympics who I met (picture not that good) where he has asked America to stop using the “R” word.

End the use of the "R" Word add Differbility

I sometimes use the word ‘diffability’ because it says different abilities and people do have different abilities. We all do. But some are especially different and — and deserve some special attention.
—Tim Shriver, “Willowbrook: The last Disgrace,” The Geraldo Rivera Show, January 6, 1997

People are persons with… versus a “label.”

Terms that are associated with people with a specific disability or DiffAbility… makes a very large difference. We can make change or be the change as Gandhi asked… be the change we want to see.

My goal with this post is to raise Social Awareness to stop the labeling of people with “DiffAbilities.”  Using the R word is similar in my culture as the N word, as an African American. We all know that people will continue to do many things that are hurtful as long as they are socially acceptable. Slavery was acceptable at one time in our history, just as killing babies who were born with what was termed as a Birth Defect. Some were Institutionalized for many years just because they were different.

It’s time to Celebrate their Abilities and embrace the DiffAbility. Care to join me?

Watch this:

If you have more time check out this amazing young man.
His name is Dylan of DK Arts when he was interviewed by BizKids.

It’s time that all of us look into the depth of our hearts and choose what’s right. What would Dylan’s life be like if he was cast to the side, placed in an Institution or if those around him continued to see him as a person without Value. Anything that is thought to have “no value” can easily be cast aside but when something is valued or someone is valued, we take notice and we make sure support is giving simply because it’s the right thing to do. Want to help this cause?
Leave a comment and Together we can make that Change!

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Affirmations Who needs them?

Dwayne Ross provides Staff Development Training for Human Service & Workforce Development Agencies

Affirmations… who needs them? Everyone does. I was at church and was listening to the Pastor speak and he was saying,”Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart…” and it made me think, why should anyone keep saying anything unless they believed it. The truth was, most people Don’t believe and by saying it over and over again they develop the Faith to believe. So let me say this again… everyone needs affirmations.

A Business Affirmation
A Business Affirmation

In the past few years the right perspective on affirmations have actually came forward. Back in the early 90’s people were saying all types of things that were not based upon any reality what so ever. They would find a catch phrase and use it as an affirmation. This was dangerous and in some cases quite the contrary to how an affirmation should be used. The reality of any human is that he or she was created with “Divine intelligence.” Now some would say no… we were Intelligently designed… but I would say lets agree to disagree and here’s why.  For the next few lines to make any sense to you , there must be a base of thought…. a foundation of truth if you will.

My foundation is that I was not evolved from a monkey or any such animal but I was the result of something much bigger and infinitely intelligent that I.  I believe in God of the Bible.  Because of this belief , I read the word in the bible that states, “God is with-in Me.” I was created in his likeness. I am another speaking spirit. By having God in my I can tap into his divine intelligence and with my belief linked to his intelligence I can change what is in my life, through reminding myself or flesh-man, that I can do all things and thus an affirmation can be used to support what it is I want.

Affirmations are truth words, that carry power to the belief system based upon repetitiousness to support that it is so. The dictionary say it this way,” an Affirmation is a declaration that something is true. Specifically, it may refer to: in logic, the union of the subject and predicate of a proposition. It’s based upon what you Believe. The truth that you present to your belief system.

Example: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

"I am Fearfully and Wonderfully made..."

If you believe you are an ugly blog of existence, how can you change that belief? By making a New Declaration of Your Truth! It’s time to declare yourself as some of the things you think about. As in anything of course there’s more to it than saying a bunch of words… you must also couple that with actions. Affirmations require you to not only speak but “Act as if,” what you are saying Already exist in the reality of now! There are some specific elements involved when writing and saying affirmations… I will break this down in my next post.  “I want to help you say what you beleive and believe what you say when you say what you say…”    Okay! lol!

Next: The Elements of Your Affirmation

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