The size and structure of the Center's partnerships are highly diverse, and yet many partners cite the same key factors needed to sustain collaboration: leadership, support, communication, flexibility, responsiveness, and accountability. Admittedly, building partnerships takes time and effort, but according to the Center and its partners, the partnerships are an important part of how they serve their clients. Partnerships have helped individual agencies to gain strength and expand over the years. Through trust and collaboration, partners serve more clients, obtain grants, reduce duplication of services, and leverage resources.
Collaboration has worked for these Idaho partners for many reasons, but most importantly because they understand that they share the same goal: to help adults get better jobs and achieve self-sufficiency. As Rex Fairfield, director of the Adult Education Center, says,
The success of our program has been greatly enhanced through all of the collaborative partnerships in our region. There is a sense of trust and cooperation, rather than competition....This has freed each of us to focus on our own agency's core services, rather than trying to duplicate services. The ultimate benefits have been that we each meet our goals and, more importantly, that the needs of our clients are met in a more efficient manner.
There is broad agreement among the partners that cooperation leads to better services for the clients. As one partner noted, "No one entity can do everything." Rather than reinventing the wheel and duplicating services, these organizations believe partnerships are the best way to stretch dollars and leverage resources: "We partner for survival and have never seen a reason not to partner."