Finding Your Lane of Greatness: 3 part DSP Series

Dwayne Ross is an author, speaker and training specialist dedicated to you and your staff’s positive success. 

The blog was off for quite some time due to a technical issue I have had with the host… Host gator has fixed the concern and I am ready to get back on track with your success. This 3 part series was created to give a tangible step by step process which will help staff have the type of impact that leads to personal growth and organizational excellence.

So many people have joined an organization with the idea that they want to make a difference and there are a few things that must be accomplished to make the type of impact that most organizations want. My focus in this series is the idea that there is a lane that staff need to drive in to have the success they want. The industry we will to focus on today is the Direct Support Professional industry. These are the people who work with some of our most vulnerable populations inmost communities. The DSP field is an entry level field and usually doesn’t require much more than a High School diploma. The work of a DSP is another story. They are expected to be mature, make life saving decisions, be caring and concerned about the use of the best life practices available when working with individuals with disabilities, our aged/elderly, mentally fragile, youth and of course our children. The jobs that they do require a sensitivity that in many ways can’t be taught. It starts with their internal drives and passion which is driven by a very clear why, not money.



Driven by why? Not money? Yes… a compelling why, coupled with the desire to make a real contribution is one of the best ways to build the staff in this industry.  I call it, “Finding Your Lane of Greatness.” This series a dedicated to the “Direct Support Professional.” If your job requires you to work with others who can’t quite do it all for themselves, this is for you.

Check out the next post where I will identify the three lanes I have seen most Direct Support Professionals drive their careers in. I hope to give you a clear step by step process that can help you provide the best services no matter if you have just started or have been involved with the DSP industry for years. Check out this video from LADD Inc a very progressive organization in Michigan, explaining why being a DSP is so rewarding… life changing!

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I’m Switching Things Up a Bit…


Dwayne Ross is a Staff Development Instructor, Author,  Speaker & Adjunct Instructor @CSM with over 25 years experience in Human Services Comment, Converse and Connect Today! Dwayne is now the co-host of his own radio segment: The Chop Chop on MentorMe® Memorable Moments Social Health

Are you absolutely satisfied with your fan Page? I wasn’t. I have been using poor quality pictures and fonts I didn’t really like and making some small changes here and there but decided a full make over might be best. It scared me a little because I thought I needed to buy a lot of HD photos etc. pay a coder and so much more but I was wrong. It was simple, and easy and fun. I used Canva. A free graphics tool that allows you to design almost anything social media-ish. I promise. Image is important for my fans, and getting their input first…was important. And the winner is… well at least for this month.

Facebook fan page and new cover photo
Updated Facebook fan page and new cover photo

I have started to make some changes to promoting my site and really adding more value to the conversations of those who listen in to the Chop Chop radio show as well as the people who support the training and course work I do. I hope to make this site more engaging, add some webinars, training videos, interviews and other interactive elements to increase engagement and add value to you, my visitors. Hope you like the changes and I hope we can build our relationship in this community andin your community as well.


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Discover Your TAG from my LinkedIn Post

I couldn’t seem to get it together over the past few years. My heart was always fighting in training and development but I knew I was making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. The salary wasn’t a bad salary but I knew something was missing. For five years I drove maybe 12 minutes to work in a place where a smile could pierce and bad hair day and a hug could melt all your problems away. If the world outside was raining the sun was shining inside and all I had to do was get there. Pauli did that… Washington did that… Millie did that… every day. What did they have in common? a major disability and it was my job to make sure life was the best possible life during the day at the Center.

As much as I enjoyed being there, my hands would sweat and my heart would race whenever I was asked to make a presentation to my peers or come to the Maryland Works office to make a presentation… this was my love… this was what captured my heart even more… Training & Development of training and empowering staff. I had to find a way to do it daily… I had to follow my passion and I knew now was the time… The concern that I had was tied to the “What if.”



Was there a way to do both? Who would pay me for it? How can this work? What if it doesn’t work? Could I train the same groups and organizations and make a living? Honestly who was I kidding… how could I leave a job in the midst of a changing system? I had endured 7 State Director Changes… fiscal budgets where over 35 million dollars was lost and I was having trouble following the Executive Director I was working for too… I knew there was a better way but how could I show it? How can I say it when I wasn’t living in my passion?

What if it doesn’t work! and then I heard deep down inside of my soul… What if it does work… What if you can prove your hunch or theory? Why aren’t you working in your passion? Why are you settling, when you could be creating the life you imagined? My career had taken a pretty cool turn and I was comfortable. I had a nice title, a nice corner office, a nice team that was able to get the job done… why rock the boat? After all I was doing some training hear and there and it was good enough to wet my need or was it? Is it for you? Have you taken the time to really look at what you are doing and evaluate your greatness? I knew I had to make a change and it came in the form of a email from my Vet rep. The USDA is looking for Training Technicians. I made a declaration and decide to loo at the big picture… what was my life telling me that I wasn’t quite listening to? “Dwayne you are a teacher, a speaker and you need to be producing something and using your creativity… you are settling” If this sounds familiar it may be time to take another look at who and what you are. Are you saying one thing but doing another? is there something that gets you so excited that when you are engage in it you don’t want to quit? Does it wake you up at night and give you more energy? It’s probably your TAG… your Talent, Ability & Gift or Gifts!

Here’s a quick exercise you can do. Post on your social media site, send an email or even call or write a letter to 10 of you top contacts, friends and associates and ask this question…”If money wasn’t a concern (and it’s really not) and you were going to give me advice or coaching on exactly what I should be doing with my time based upon what you truly know about me… what would you suggest or tell me to Go DO? Once you get the answers… find a way to go do just that… volunteer, do it part time or go after it. Come back to my next post and I will share exactly what I did an perhaps you can follow my lead and go follow after your life’s inner compass. Don’t settle… live your best life… today. DR

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Job Carving and Customized Employment

Dwayne Ross Human Service Training and Staff Development for Agencies that serve the community and improve the lives of those I support.

Today was another day where I was able to engage a group of job developers and others to express some top strategies related to getting jobs for those who have disabilities using #Customized Employment. One of the attendees asked about getting a job for “Mark.” We discovered that mark was confined to wheel chair. he was energetic, fun loving, friendly, liked women and limited verbal ability and only had the use of one finger and spoke using a communication device. There were three specific areas that I wanted to impact the most with this group. 1) I wanted them to get rid of the Box not just think out of it. I explained that too many people hold on to the box… keep the box around just in case or truly confine themselves to finding jobs while they too are in a box. I expressed a strategy that would allow them to get rid of the box and find work that is based upon 3 major areas… Strengths, Interest and Abilities which would be supported by the employer’s needs and benefits.

In order for #Customized Employment to work, the job must be tailored not only for the Individual you are looking to place but for the employer as well. You must be dedicated to discovering what “Unique skill,”does the person have that can help the employer overcome a “Unique Challenge.” 2) How do you “discover” the unique skill and how do you sell them to the employer? So many employers are fearful about hiring a person with a disability for a number of reasons… By matching the skill to the employer’s challenges and showing how this could be a successful Win-win situation, most employers will want to take the risk. Through a brain blizzard discovery process you will be able to not only tap into a series of employment options but you make unearth a number of things that many just wouldn’t consider given the person’s limitations. I encouraged everyone to remove the limits and see the possibilities. Finally, we dedicated the last part of our 3 hours together in walking through a discovery process, identifying 3 to 5 specific skills and abilities that we were able to learn as they related to Mark which would allow us to develop a plan of action. Through working the exercise with 6 teams we were able to discover over 25 employment opportunities that were uniquely matched to Marks, skills, interest and abilities while meeting the employers needs through careful needs analysis. This workshop was engaging, informative and upbeat as expressed in some of the comments in the Instructor evaluations. Job carving is the art of discovering a niche that is supported by customized employment. As Mike Callahan stated in this You Tube video post… Supported Employment was the beginning but it has led us to drilling through the assessments, vocational evaluation s and more to a more dedicated approach of #Customized employment.

To bring this workshop to you organization please send us an e-mail, give us a call or connect with me on Facebook.

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Employing At Risk… Jobs not Jails

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

I sat across from this young man listening to his story. It was pretty intense as he shared the facts of his hard life at age 14. He shared how he had murdered a man in cold blood as an act of revenge to a family member and how he had to be the trigger man because other family members were too old and would get life in prison without parole… but not him, maybe he would get 25 years or even less than that, after all he was a minor… he would get out… he was right. The facts were there staring him in the face and staring right at me. I was listening to “Juan” not his real name, but a real person none the less. He was at a major Workforce development conference with Father Boyle from East L.A. a place, I was all too familiar with as a young man myself, working for Douglas Aircraft Company where we had a training program dedicated to helping, “At-risk men and women” gain employment as Aircraft Production Mechanics.

This was not an orientation, Father Boyle was sharing his “Jobs not Jails” story and the young man presenting was talking about how he had a second chance at life. By being so young he was tried as an adult, sent to prison with hardened criminals and even saw family members inside the wall. The reality for him was he chose to listen to an older gentleman who was given a life sentence. The older man educated “Juan” about how to keep his self from becoming a part of the cell. He was At-risk for many things! He had to serve until 18 yrs old at a juvenile detention center, but on his 18th birthday, he was shipped to one of California’s most notorious criminal workshops… Folsom State Prison. He managed to survive, but now he was out and had to learn how to survive the streets all over again. He was 29 years old now and very far away from the 14 year old who walked into the gates.

His eyes were honest, his breathing was even as he told the story of how Father Boyle took him in and helped him gain a skill he could put to work! I raised my hand and asked, “May I visit the site of your center Father Boyle?” his answer was a resounding yes.  I made the visit later that year and saw an amazing wall mural.

Homeboy Industries Wall Mural

The answer for Juan was in the skills he obtained, and the work he was able to accomplish. Father Boyle believed in Jobs not Jails for anyone who wanted to get out of the gangs and make a new life for him or herself. No pressure, co coaching, no begging!

If you want to change… He made it happen and so can you!

The two of them spoke of other gang members who didn’t make it.. about people like “Chubby” not his real name and how some gang members had died in Father Boyle’s arms running from others after being shot in the streets. If anyone was at risk it was these young men who were looking for a better life, a way out and hand up! Father Boyle started the program back in 1988 that grew into an Industry! Homeboy Industries…

That was then….

I met him in San Jose’ California. He talked about how they started a bakery… did you ever ask the person who made your bread if they had a felony? They started a silk screening company… have you ever asked the company who mailed you the cool “T ” you are wearing , how much time they have done? A few years ago, they even started a “Garden in the back” to make herbs that would later go into their own seasonings and salads for the Cafe’… have you ever called the salad dressing company to ask, “How many gang members, welfare recipients, disabled employees do they have?” Sounds crazy right… so who’s really at risk?

Father Boyle created Work! Yes… I hear you, “but he call it jobs…” but the reality is the people are doing their work. Things they are good at, things they have an affinity towards, things they enjoy and the money comes secondarily. They have meaningful opportunities and that is all a person in the so called “at-risk” people group are asking for. They are saying, “Give me an opportunity to change my life and the lives of my family members and won’t let you down.”

This is Now!

In order to make an impact in the lives of others we must first see them the same as anyone else, people. You can not look at the risk, but at the person as an individual regardless of his or her background. The next thing is you must look into their hearts and help them find their Work. Finally, we must then Carve what they want, Customize what they are able to do or Create what they need.

“Be the Change you want to see in the world.”     Ghandi

By the way they have Homegirl Industries too.

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Employment for At Risk Populations 2nd Helping

Dwayne Ross provides staff development training for human service agencies and community organizations that seek to improve humanity.

Dwayne Ross continues to talk about “Employment for At-Risk Populations”

JOB!  Just enough to not get fired… Just Over Broke… Just to pay the bills… Just this and that.  Wow! spelled backwards Wow!

So is there a difference in what people consider a job versus the work they came into the world with? I believe it is and i don’t plan to convince you if you believe differently but In my next few lines, this truth is my foundation. Go get a job, dad said to Mike… If you don’t graduate from College you will never be able to get a good Job, said Mary to her grandson… Look young man, it’s time you learn about the facts of life… You Need a Job!  It’s universal in most cultures, grow up get a good education go get a good job. And we bought that hook line and sinker until we ran into the millionaire who drop out of college or should I dare say the Billionaire who’s name is represented by the success of nearly every computer in the Nation, Bill Gates. Was  it a job that he tapped into or was it something deeper? Now I am not saying education is not important because well it is but have you looked at general job descriptions lately…

“Must have an accredited degree from a known College or University recognized by the Board of Regents…”

“Now hiring, entry level position as a business administration clerk, must have BA in Business Administration; Salary starts at $21,100.00”

Twenty One Thousand Dollars per Year! Now of course this may be a small exaggeration but you get my point. The competition for some types of jobs are truly built on the skills of the person but what if you have an excellent programmer for you Software company but wherever he or she interfaces with the customer, there’s a conflict in personality or in some cases the person has very limited people skills… do you hire on ability or skill?

Take a look at this definition of Job.   A group of homogeneous tasks related by similarity of functions. Stuff people do.

When performed by an employee in an exchange for pay, a job consists of dutiesresponsibilities, and tasks (performance elements) that are (1) defined and specific, and (2) can be accomplished, quantified, measured, and rated. (copied from

In my introduction video clip, here’s what I said in Dallas to a group of professionals at a “No More Crumbs from the Table Session…”

Mr. Raul Fernandez, CEO of Proxima back in the 90’s made a very unique statement about people who are educated… he said, “It makes no Difference.” Now he did not say it was important, but he was letting everyone know that in his business, he could hire educated individuals who lacked common sense, had no ability to make things happen or even know how to start a conversation or he could look for the person who had the abilities he needed, transferable skills, or natural affinity and train or educate later.  A job is essentially something you Do… Work is something internal that you bring to everything you do. In his talk, being a No limit person author and speaker Wayne Dyer said it like this, “You bring it to everything that you touch… you don’t learn to be a good father, you already are a good father in every sense of the word.”  You are a piece of Work! lol.

let’s talk about Work in the next post. If you are enjoying this blog please leave a comment. I review all comments so please no spam comments.  Thanks…                                         DR.

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EMPACT Changing lives… continued

Dwayne Ross Training ; Pre-release Employment and Job Training  Re-entry program

Workforce Development and Staff Development Training

The E in EMPACT stands for Encounter
Have you ever attended an event and when you were introduced to someone you shared formalities, name occupation etc. walked away and could not recall any of the information shared? You have a meeting… but when you meet someone and they share information, you may possibly touch with a hug, hand-shake, a lot of eye communication and feelings of “I like this person” comes over you and once you walk away you can remember everything about them, even the color of their eyes, the shoes they were wearing and more… You just had an Encounter. In training it’s similar.

People should not only say man that was a good training they should have walked away knowing their lives will never be the same. They should feel they were transported into the material and if they use it things will be different.

During the EMPACT Train the trainer… the attendees were asked to participate in an activity where they had an encounter with others who were attending the workshop. Throughout the training I wanted to make sure they not only left with good information but they left knowing
I was placing a demand for change in their lives. That I knew that if they embraced the philosophy that drives the IMPRESS system they can truly see lives change in a matter of days. During the session one person who I encountered was Charlene. She shared her love for Fishing. During the exercise we identified a number of next steps that Charlene could take after attending part 1 of the Train the trainer.

Today I was looking at the lake here in Rocky Gap Maryland and I couldn’t help but remember Charlene. Gap

She could help people here learn how to place a lure on the fish line… she could take people out on the lake and learn how to cast their lines… she could come here and write a book about different types of bait used for fishing on the lake… the options were endless, but I’m not Charlene.

I can only hope that when she went home she had an Encounter with me! I hope she was thinking about Fishing like I was… even though fishing was her thing… not mine! Have you had an Encounter today? If not maybe it’s time for you to get up and dust off your dreams and attend the EMPACT workshop. Learn how to have more than a meeting, learn how to have an Encounter!

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Training that works… Part Two

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

Changing Lanes…
If you were driving on a country road during the late fall and the trees were in transition to rest you would see the leaves falling. They are preparing for the next season or next level of existence.They have no choice to do anything but what they were created to do… you and I are different! We can do everything but what we were created to do including waste an entire life time!

“Most people Focus on what is and Never see what Can Be” Eisenstein

We get stuck in a rut, stuck in a career, stuck in negative relationships and so on. Many people will live a life of complacency, living below the created genius that they possess. I know because for a while I had lost my God given Confidence because I focused on what happened to me instead of how I made it through. I lost my job, my business went bankrupt, I closed my office and my kids were living in a house with the person I could not get a long with at all. They moved to a new state and I was fighting to keep up until I could not do it any more… I crashed.

Sound familiar? I was hurting from my self inflicted wounds and I allowed myself to live in the mess. I was in the woe it’s me, look what God allowed to happen to me… ooohhh look what you did! I was so focused on living in my failure I did not take inventory of what I had accomplished. My programs was having great results in the lives of my students but man my life was an absolute mess! I wasn’t hungry anymore. I gave in and started living by Sight! I taught a workshop (No More Crumbs) in California when one of the attendees asked me about my life. I had a book but was I reading my book? was I living what I was talking about? Where was my Fruit?

I failed to Feel it,(pain from mis-steps) Forgive (my self for mismanaging my moments) and Get On with It! (Feel the FEAR and Go After it anyway!) I had to dig in and make some major changes. So here’s step one: What have you been successful at? The Skill and Activities that you used to get there are still available to you. It’s time out for putting the Own-ess on others it’s time to own your future right now! No blame, shame or guilt… the water or milk is spilled… Wipe it up!
Take 100% responsibility of your now. Think about what you want, create a plan and then be about getting it. People will rise up to assist you, things will begin to get in your eye sight, your pathways will come across others who can use their influence and power on your behalf.

This training will work if you work it. You can not sit around waiting for a blessing to come your way… As far as I know we have one chance at making this the best life ever. Look at what you did that worked, and maximize it. Remember: It’s time to Restore Your Destiny. Faith is the substance of things Hoped for,and it can not be seen but it must be on the canvas of your Imagination. Think, think and think some more. What you think about, comes about. You were created to create! just like the creator… in the Image and Likeness of God the creator… if you Believe.

“It’s not what you Think you are that is holding you back… It’s what you think you are Not that is holding you back!”                                                                              Dr. Michael Freeman

update: Oct 25 2011

I want you to make a choice… to decide Now is all you have, not tomorrow… not yesterday…. not next week! Now! the last 2-3 seconds is what counts. So many times we live as if we always have tomorrow. We don’t always get another tomorrow.  Steve Jobs died and left his legacy but guess what… he was just warming up! Michael Jackson left an amazing legacy but guess what he was just taking off! Life is not a fairy tale and we all don’t live happily ever after… Leave it on the field! Coach would say.

I woke up and realized how many training workshops I had accomplished and how many cities I had been in… I actually have taught a workshop or seminar or key note in every county of California except two… 56 of all 58 counties have invited me to speak.

Am I a millionaire today? No!  I lived in the moment. Some would say that’s too bad… what do you have to show for such an amazing feat? Only memories. I did it. I know people who have never seen the beach and only live 30 minutes away. I lived near the Mountains and I knew people who never saw the view from on top of the mountains. Life is either a daring adventure or a boring existence, mundane day to day struggle. What’s it for you? What do you want it to be? Picture it on the canvas of your mind. Change lanes… Then go make it happen!  Don’t wait. Your life is waiting on you.

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Updated Blog Site

Hello everyone,

 Thanks for stopping by. I have renovated this site and I invite you to come back again as I add content associated with all of the titles that I currently train on. Youth development is one of the hot topics as well as internet marketing for newbies.

Dwayne Ross and

I plan to give you good quality information that you can put to use immediately, so come back and visit, bookmark this site and please tell a friend. 

Take care, God bless.


Dwayne Ross 


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