It is unlikely that programs could establish and sustain themselves without the outside assistance and leveraging that partnering provides. Therefore, considerable discussion has been devoted to describing various partners, partner agreements, and types of partnerships important to Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) programs. Final issues that should be discussed relate to who establishes partnerships, how they are initiated, and when they should be formed.
As the concept of an EWDJT program materializes, organizers form the very first partnership. This core or planning group may or may not be those who will build and operate the program, but they play an important role in identifying potential resources and bringing ideas to the next level. As the concept moves forward, lead individuals are identified and given assignments to:
Agreements with key stakeholders should be established during the initial planning process, even if on an informal basis. Program planners and proposal writers must develop a vision of how the EWDJT will be established, where resources for various components will be found, and how the program will be sustained. Before submitting proposals or grant requests, commitments from key partners must be formalized if they are to become part of the proposal or grant request. It is a critical mistake to identify potential stakeholders or partners who have not formally committed to the program.
As the program matures, partnership arrangements may be added, revised, and some omitted. Combinations of fiscal, in-kind, and client relationships will strengthen the EWDJT program, ensuring success and sustainability. Successful programs have recognized the importance of partnering and are able to devote time and resources to continually nurture existing partnerships and develop new relationships.