Tips on How to Form a Professional Development Partnership

Tips on forming a professional development partnership are in this article. Head Start and Early Head Start staff will find this resource a useful tool for developing a professional development partnership.

The following is an excerpt from...

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Identify Stakeholders

  • Find out which other early childhood organizations have training needs in the community.
  • List all the institutions and organizations that are sources of training.
  • Identify the funders of training.

Develop Relationships

  • Join boards and committees in the community to build relationships that later can be developed into partnerships or collaborations.
  • Expand your organization’s board or committees to include a wider range of members from the early childhood community.
  • Hold a collaborative training conference, which may be the seed for more formal and continuing training initiatives. It is relatively easy to plan and promote; there are often a variety of collaborators willing to contribute resources; and it affords an excellent opportunity to build partnerships that can continue to flourish.

Find Common Ground/Build Trust

  • Invite all stakeholders to come together to share information about their programs and get to know each other.
  • Be sure the convener is trusted and viewed as legitimate among the stakeholders, not seen as a competitor trying to seize control.
  • After the "getting to know you" stage, begin to explore training needs and work together to find mutually beneficial solutions.

Achieve Results

  • Work together on something practical that can achieve concrete, visible outcomes. Groups that focus on achieving "small wins" during all phases of their collaboration set in motion forces that favor more small wins. When a solution is put in place, the next solvable problem often becomes more visible, new allies bring innovative solutions with them, old opponents change their habits, and additional resources are mobilized.

The above was first printed in the Center for Career Development in Early Care and Education’s report, Learning and Growing Together: Head Start Child Care Professional Development Partnerships.

"Tips on How to Form a Professional Development Partnership." Professional Development: The Cornerstone for Trust and Empowerment. Head Start Bulletin #72. HHS/ACF/ACYF/HSB. 2002. English.

Last Reviewed: May 2012

Last Updated: September 26, 2014