No YouthBuild program can succeed without partners. Partnership engagement is essential to maintain throughout the life and across all areas of your program. It is important to engage those who help to fund your program, those who provide key components of programming, and those you engage for a presentation, internship, work experience, and placement. Key examples of potential partnerships include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Post-secondary education partner who is responsible for a credential
- Employer partners for internships, work experience, and job placement
- Construction Plus pathway partner for industry-specific training and mentoring
- Construction work site partner for work experience and industry-specific training
- Supportive services partners, such as healthcare, substance abuse treatment, transportation, childcare, and housing assistance
- American Job Centers
In planning for the start-up of your Department of Labor grant, review those you listed as key partners in your Statement of Work (SOW), and ask yourself these key questions:
- Are they still viable partners? If so, what do they bring to the partnership?
- Is there a sub-contract in place or needed? If money is changing hands, is there a need for a sub-contract vs. sub-recipient agreement?Do you know the difference?
- Is the partner providing a match requirement?How is this match being tracked?
- Are there Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) in place? Do you have a template for MOUs?
- Who are mandatory partners (i.e. American Job Center) and who are voluntary partners?
- Are there gaps in your program structure or staffing that might be better filled through a partnership? If so, how quickly do these partnerships need to be developed?Will this impact the start-up of your program cycle?
- Has managing a particular partnership in the past taken more time and energy than what they bring to the table; does the partnership agreement need to be modified or terminated? How will you do this?
- What other questions or areas of concern need to be addressed in regards to partnerships?
Once you have made your assessment, you must put your plan into action. Here are additional important considerations:
- Who is responsible for managing specific partners, including sub-contract management?
- If sub-contracts or MOUs are needed, who is responsible for writing these up and getting them signed?
- If there are changes needed in current partners, who is responsible for re-engaging/terminating a particular partnership?
- If there are gaps to be filled, where are those partners and who will do outreach to them?
Managing partnerships is no easy task. They take time to develop, nurture, and sustain. Sometimes they end; it is important to make sure bridges are not burned in the process. Partnerships are an integral part of YouthBuild program success and are key to building a high-quality YouthBuild program.