Barriers to Employment… Truth?

Dwayne Ross provides On site Human Service Staff Development Training, Youth Development, Online Travel Marketing and MLM information reviews, Blog Training & Suggestions.

Multiple Barriers to Employment?

What exactly is a barrier anyway? Is it truth or perceived. Let’s explore this question…
I was very excited this week as I was able to revisit this topic with about 20 trainees. The biggest barrier that came out of the class however was actually related to management and not the actual people they supported. management who are stuck in doing things the old fashion way. This was an actually good part of the conversation because many job coaches and employment specialist are going out and telling what they will do to support the person without actually finding out what the employer wants to do… or they don’t even take time to get to know the culture of the environment they are attempting to gain the placement. Another issue is the internal thoughts that drive their work… Do they even believe the person they support can actually find, secure and maintain employment? This is a very big problem. During our short time together I wanted to remind the attendees that they must begin with two foundational truths:

“Most Decisions are based Not upon what is true… but upon what is perceived to be True… and If you don’t believe…borrow someone’s belief.”

Employers base their assumptions of how a person will work or not work on what is thought to be true. A person comes in with a Major degree… he or she has maintained a particular background and the thought is… they will make a great XY or Z. Is this true?

An Individual whom they support needs a job… he or she likes likes people… the case manager or job coach often times will jump to the job and decide, Billy or Sally wants to work in retail! but is this true? I believe you need to explore a little deeper. I took the group on an imaginary walk through time using the cast of Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow, Lion and Toto too. (Most of us age 40+ are familiar with the story and new grads have had this story in at least once in psych class) I began by asking, What were the barriers each of these characters had to face? What were they looking for? What did they need to be successful and what was success for each of them? Did the scarecrow really need a brain? and what about those ruby slippers? Didn’t she have them the entire trip to see Mr. Oz?Was the Tin Man disabled without his oil can? What were their diff-abilities?

The answers were diverse… everyone could state issues that every character had including Toto but this class was small so we didn’t engage Toto’s character (but just in case you wondered… one of his barriers was transportation… he required total assistance in some areas) By the end of the exercise, I asked the question …”What was the most significant barrier? and did it stop any of them from reaching their goal? So what is stopping you? What ‘s stopping the person who is homeless? the drug addict? the person diagnosed with intellectual disability… or autism? Truth or Perception?

It’s time to Shift Our Focus and Focus on Possibility not Limitations.

I explained that there are systems that keep people stuck… give people access or place people in perpetual circles without hope for a better life. Systems work when people don’t but I also reminded everyone that they can create a better system. They have the ability by focusing on one person at a time…  to impact one person by digging deeper and creating a new paradigm of expectation. If a person is missing an eye… totally blind or can’t even walk… there’s always endless possibilities. Our job should be constantly looking for ways to improve the quality of life of those we support.
Oz Public Domain Picture 1

(Picture sited from: http://www.entertainmentlitigation.com )

As practitioners, we can help people push through the barriers into possibility. Isn’t that what we all are suppose to do?   Let me know what you think. Be blessed.  

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