True partnerships are about shared agendas, combined resources and rewards. Your business might be strong on strategy but low on bandwidth. Partner organizations might have expertise and experience working with opportunity youth issues but need employers willing to provide jobs, mentoring opportunities, internships and industry-specific skills development. Combine your strengths, and your chances of success increase tremendously.
“In today’s world there is an expectation that businesses give back to society, and the best way to do that is in collaboration with other organizations. In an ideal partnership, we are able to address business needs and be a good corporate citizen at the same time.”
- Corporate Leader
Partnering with another organization can create a number of bottom-line benefits for your business. A partner organization can:
“Our role is to provide practical solutions, innovative thinking and sound management. Our partners bring a wide range of differing skills and experience that complements our own contribution.”
- Corporate Leader
Many national community organization such as Year Up, Genesys Works, Urban Alliance and others are committed to providing young adults with the support they need to reach their employment potential. These organizations have multiple outposts around the country.
Partnering with an established organization that has worked with many large corporations will offer a track record of success. But your partner doesn’t have to be a big, national organization. A smaller, local nonprofit may be a better match, depending on your company’s priorities.
Learn and Earn partnerships include employers partnering with education providers, such as high schools or postsecondary education institutions. A Learn and Earn partnership with a high school provides at-risk young adults with a paycheck and a high school degree while the employer prepares its future pipeline of workers. Southwire Company’s 12 for Life program is the perfect example.
In addition, Learn and Earn partnerships include collaborations between employers and postsecondary institutions, such as community colleges, to develop real-world training programs for current employees- many of whom have to work while they complete their education. These employees have the opportunity to gain tangible skills while earning a degree or credential.
Faith-based organizations are the core of the community in many cities and provide a variety of social services such as job training and counseling. They offer employers access to a diverse mix of young untapped talent. Many faith-based entities nurture core values of self-reliance and active citizenship—traits that benefit promising talent for employers as well as effective partnerships.
Many government organizations focus on opportunity youth outreach. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Job Corps, for example, helps young people ages 16 through 24 with technical and academic training, serving 60,000 students at 125 centers across the country in fields ranging from construction to hospitality to information technology. Job Corps offers companies screening of eligible employees.
“Work with a specialist! They’re the experts. They’ll support your company throughout the mentoring program. They’re someone you can lean on.”
- Corporate Partner
As you develop your relationship, keep in mind that the most sustainable partnerships serve both business and social needs.
“Trust level must be created before any programming begins and then it builds through the due-diligence of the parties.”
- Corporate Leader
Partnerships should be evaluated on a regular basis (at least annually) to make sure common goals are being met and discuss possible improvements.
Any evaluation of your partnership must occur in tandem with an evaluation of your initiative. If you’re ready to grow your program, for example, you will have to assess whether your partner has the capacity to grow with you. Your partner can also help you define what growth could mean for your company.
Start working with a partner today