Once the coordinator is more familiar with the workforce
development needs in the community, a suggested next step is to
organize a larger meeting with local community partners and
Plan for a two-hour meeting at a convenient, central
location. Based on information gathered though local interviews,
questions and preliminary meetings, put together an agenda that
gives people plenty of time for discussion. (Sample agenda
is in the Resources Section).
Suggested Meeting Agenda
Welcome & Introductions: take time to go around the room for
everyone to introduce themselves and their agency affiliation.
As an ice breaker, the facilitator may want to ask people to
share any current or planned workforce strategies:
What current workforce or training programs do you have
in place, or are planning? Does your agency offer internship
programs? From the Collaborative’s experience: some
individuals come to meetings with a specific concern or
personal agenda to share. Collaborative staff has found that
using a meeting structure that allows time for individuals to
share those thoughts—briefly—and then move on, is beneficial
to the entire process.
Update on local planning/implantation of regional WET plans.
Overview and history of MHSA Regional Partnerships. Included
in the Resources section is a PowerPoint presentation that you
may use as a foundation for your presentation. This could also
include slides that highlight specific needs/challenges
identified from several counties’ WET plans in your area.
Presentation (optional). This may include an
educational/training portion of the meeting to stimulate ideas
and thinking. Ideally any presentation links to the work and role
of Regional Partnerships. Examples:
A local community college Human Services Certificate
A presentation from consumer leaders about
progress/challenges in consumer employment.
A presentation from one of the local MHSA State-funded
graduate level internship programs: CalSWEC, MFT programs,
A presentation from a local community based organization
on their training program.
(See section 5 for a more detailed discussion of meeting
Including Consumer and Family Members
As discussed previously, one of the requirements in the MHSA WET
guidelines includes: “Promotion of the meaningful inclusion of
mental health consumers and family members and incorporating
their viewpoint and experiences in the training and education
programs.” Consumer leaders need to be included in Regional
Partnership planning and implementation. Work with local
CBOs, county and State and local consumer and family member
organizations to help recruit individuals.
As discussed previously, one resource is the Working Well
Together (WWT), one of the state-funded WET strategies. The
regional WWT coordinator can help access resources and provide a
consumer and family member perspective. WWT’s Technical
Assistance Center (TAC) is designed to provide a clearinghouse of
knowledge about consumer and family member employment. WWT TAC
also supports the development and dissemination of strategies to
further preparation, recruitment, hiring, training, support and
retention of consumers and family members within California’s
public mental health workforce. The WWT website includes sample
job descriptions, training materials, frequently asked questions
and several links to additional resources.
Offer an orientating prior to the meeting to discuss group
process, roles and expectations. This will be helpful to all
participants, including consumers and family members. Make sure
everyone is familiar with the materials and subject
matter. When planning Regional Partnership meetings, make
sure the facilitator includes all perspectives and understands
the role of consumers and family members in this process.
In the Greater Bay Area, the Collaborative holds orientation
sessions 30 minutes before all regular meetings for any new
attendees to learn about the work and mission of the group. This
has proved to be a very useful technique.
Working with Educational Partners
Educational partners are a critical part of Regional Partnerships
4 year Colleges and Universities
Graduate and Professional Schools
From the experiences of the Collaborative, it is not always easy
to get educational partners to the table for meetings. Most
instructors are teaching during business hours and/or evenings.
Many administrators do not have time for additional meetings. But
that does not mean they should not be invited! Make time to go to
their office/campus to meet and learn about their work.
This is an area where work outside of meetings is also
important to building Regional Partnerships. In the Bay Area, the
Collaborative convened a short-term Community College Task Force
to explore Human Services programs. As a result of these
meetings, several relationships were formed that were
nurtured/developed over time. Some of these partnerships have led
to the development of new CASRA certificate programs and other
projects. County mental health systems have also benefited
from relationships formed with graduate programs.
Additional areas for regional collaboration with educational
Distance learning. This includes the universe of
eLearning. Colleges and universities have significant
experience in distance learning, and can be a beneficial partner
(and may be decades ahead of the public mental health system in
this arena!). For example, the Superior Regional Partnership is
partnering with CSU Chico for a Social Work distance learning
Articulation Agreements: This is a term used when working
with community colleges. It relates to how specific coursework
transfers or articulates to either the State University or UC
System. There is a great deal of difference in courses and
articulation agreements depending on the college and academic
program. This becomes important if your Regional Partnership
is trying to develop a new/revised human services certificate
program in a community college. Students may want to transfer to
a four-year program and need to know if their course(s) will
Clinical Internship/Clinical Supervision strategies are
another interest of education and a prime pipeline strategy for
developing new staff. While many county and CBOs have existing
internship programs, consider how the program meets the needs of
students and the consumers. Are there academic programs that
want to grow their programs?
Regional Partnership is up and Running – Continuous
A. Recognizing Different Needs of Counties and
Based on the experiences of the Collaborative, counties,
educational partners and other participants in Regional
Partnerships often have different needs and priorities. For
example: small counties have far fewer resources than large
counties; consumers may have different needs than family members;
contracted providers have different resources than counties;
educational institutions may have different needs than training
coordinators, etc. These different needs may become quite
apparent in meetings; conflict is part of any collaborative
process. Keep this in mind especially around the planning and
facilitation of Regional Partnership meetings. Strong
facilitation skills are critical. Keys to good facilitation:
Before a meeting:
Agenda has relevant topics that are given reasonable
amounts of time to review/discuss.
Materials are prepared well in advance and participants
are given adequate time to review.
Distribution lists are updated.
Time and location for meetings/trainings are convenient
to a majority of participants. Consider rotating
meetings if necessary.
Consider multiple sites with teleconferencing capability
for large geographic regions.
During a meeting:
Everyone signs in and has a name tag/tent that others can
Everyone has a packet of materials for the meetings.
Introductions occur at every meeting.
Everyone has an opportunity to voice an opinion.
No one monopolizes the discussion.
There is an outcome or focus to the meeting: identifying
a training topic, reviewing materials, etc. This topic
is clearly stated on the agenda and during the
meeting. Be mindful that Regional Partnership meetings
are not designed for self-promotion (or consultant
Adequate minutes are taken and distributed/posted.
B. Prioritizing Projects for the Regional Partnership
What Happens in Between Meetings?
Meetings are just one part of Regional Partnerships. The
Coordinator will need to continue to engage people through
emails/information sharing. This may also include the
formation of short-term workgroups for a particular issue or
project. The Coordinator should be in ongoing contact with
the Chair, county WET/Training staff, educational representatives
and others. Start developing a workplan to organize work for
the year, developing priorities and projects based on regional
needs. The Steering committee/leadership group should help
develop and ratify the workplan.
The Coordinator should become familiar with each county’s WET
plan and the community needs identified in the planning process.
Review the planning processes and documents.
What are the identified hard-to-fill positions?
What are some common themes throughout the plans?
Are there strategies that would be more effective if planned
How do CBOs fit into the picture?
From CIBHS’s experience over the past year helping counties
develop Regional Partnerships, some stakeholders may have voiced
ideas during the WET planning process that did not make it into
the plan for a variety of reasons. Review WET planning notes
(usually available on the county’s website). There may be an
idea or concept that may be more appropriate for a regional
As a workplan is developed, consider:
Is this a one-time or ongoing project or strategy?
How does this fit in with Regional Partnership goals?
What are the measureable outcomes to achieve?
How will the Regional Partnership measure outcomes? Who are
other stakeholders that need to be involved?
What is the budget?
What groups or consultants will need to be involved? Are
there resources available through DMH/Department of
Rehabilitation Co-op Program?
Regional Partnerships may also want to consider formal criteria
for including a project or strategy in a workplan. Example:
“Project meets the needs of at least 50% of counties in the
Regional Partnership” or similar.
From the Collaborative’s experience: The advantage of having a
workplan developed with a Steering Committee and made public to
all partners means that a strategic, thoughtful direction
exists. Decisions about projects and priorities are
intentional, as opposed to having a partner/participant try
to push a personal agenda that may not fit with the group’s
overall goals. It also supports and prioritizes the Coordinator’s
(and consultants) workload.
This said, sometimes projects come up that need to be considered
quickly and may not have time for a formal review, either due to
local circumstances or events. Example:
foundation funding becomes available for a special project that
fits within scope of the Regional Partnership’s
Making Programs Sustainable
As discussed previously, Regional Partnership funding is
currently available for three fiscal years Funding for future
years (beyond fiscal year 2010-11) will be determined by the
overall effectiveness of each Regional Partnership as determined
by the MHSA government partners: DMH, CMHDA, the Planning Council
and the MHSA Oversight & Accountability Commission. This will
include the accomplishment of specific objectives as identified
in each Regional Partnership’s application to DMH. Regional
Partnerships are also strongly encouraged to procure outside
funding for ongoing sustainability (grants, contracts, etc.).
Regional Partnerships should consider how to sustain projects and
programs over time. Sustaining programs can be viewed in
several ways. For example: the Regional Partnership
provides seed funding at a local community college for the CASRA
curriculum. The new courses are successful and the program
continues, but no longer needs Regional Partnership Funding and
has become self-sustaining.
Another way to sustain programs is to seek outside funding,
either through grants or contracts through private foundations,
State or Federal sources. Pursuing outside funding is
another way to collaborate with other systems. Different
parties in the Regional Partnerships may have relationships with
foundations and other funders. Depending on the funder, the
applicant may need to be a public entity, or a nonprofit.
In the Bay Area, the Collaborative built relationships with local
foundation staff over time. A staff person from a local
foundation serves on the Collaborative’s Steering Committee.
The following groups traditionally have an interest in workforce
Workforce Development Boards
Local community foundations
Community Action Agencies
Department of Rehabilitation
Regional Health Occupational Resource Centers (RHORCs),
a project of the Community College Chancellor’s Office.
Research funders with a history of grantmaking in workforce
development in your community. Here are some links to