Assertive Engagement Initiative is a series of training sessions designed to provide continued education for social service providers. These training sessions traditionally were hosted over a three day period. Assertive Engagement (AE) draws from various theories, approaches, and lenses such as Strength-Based Approaches, Trauma-Informed Care, Motivational Interviewing, Empathy, Ambivalence, Unconditional-Positive Regard, in addition to many other components.

The initiative aims to support and complement frameworks centered on racial equity, anti-oppression, and trauma-informed care. Assertive Engagement can apply holistically to clients, service providers, supervisors, agencies, and systems by helping us navigate power dynamics and use empathy in our interactions. Not only are these training components taught, but they are also demonstrated through role-plays and hands-on practice. 

The structure of AE is based on Popular Education, which is a people guided and people-oriented training approach. By centering the training participants, it ensures that their educational needs are met and validated. Additionally, Popular Education recognizes that participants are both the learner and teacher. AE caters to various learning styles by having a range of group work, hands-on activities, and individually lead lessons. 

We provide training, technical assistance, and policy analysis to our partners and to county staff. We strive to honor the historic work by many agencies to build programs that are participant-centered, strength-based, or culturally specific. 

For more information, download the  Assertive Engagement Initiative Handout 2018 (191.87 KB)


Please email the AE Facilitation Team at

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