In Minnesota, the two managers leading the implementation of the agreement have also invested in maintaining an extensive network of other partners and advocates, including a community activist who was instrumental in securing funding through the legislature. Respondents believe that good agreements are concrete and action-oriented. In particular, they have clear and unambiguous objectives and specific action plans. Effective agreements avoid terms and conditions such as “coordinate”, “facilitate” or “grant access”. Instead, they allocate staff, set budgets, provide demonstration grants, or establish transition centres. A Rhode Island cooperation agreement between the State Department of Social Services and the State Board of Education established a comprehensive inter-agency initiative to improve the transition from school to adulthood. The agreement is unique in that it uses pre-graduation VR funds to support career planning and job exploration. The resources allocated by the agreement were used primarily to establish five Career Discovery Centres that provide young adults with professional assessment, career exploration and community work experiences. Agency staff reported a variety of results, including concrete measurable outcomes (student work experiences, contacts with employers), anecdotal reports of students staying in school to pursue career opportunities, and better relationships between school staff and vocational rehabilitation staff. In general, successful agreements have clear champions at the implementation level in government agencies.
In Minnesota and Rhode Island, for example, some individuals were identified by respondents as promoting and maintaining collaborative activities. An inter-agency agreement is a document, usually between government agencies and ministries, that defines cooperation between them. The agreement defines the parties involved, the work done and the transfer of technology and funds. “I won`t sign an agreement without a transfer of dollars.” The authors thank the participants in the inter-agency agreements of Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and West Virginia for the free exchange of their experiences and achievements with us. We would also like to thank our colleagues at ICI, including Bob Schalock and Sheila Fesko, for their support and contribution. This product benefited from the review of study participants and members of the CSAVR Partnerships and Client Services Committee, including Raymond Carroll, Chair of the Committee. Is the purpose of the inter-agency agreement to create an event, to ensure the continuation of an activity or relationship, or to do something new? Is it clear to everyone what the agreement aims to achieve? – Internal allies are present: allies within partner agencies have been identified who support the agreement. .