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Technical Report on the Business Partnership Summit - Winter 2007

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Technical Report

Partnership is a word that conjures up warm feelings of togetherness and collaboration. Yet, we know that forging a cooperative venture or partnership between two entities can be complex and difficult. Limited information exists on public-private sector partnerships and their long-term impact on the job tenure and employment outcomes of people with disabilities, despite the fact there have been episodic efforts over the years to examine collaborations between business and rehabilitation service providers (Buys & Rennie, 2001; Egan, 2001).

Effective public-private partnerships are often born out of necessity. For example,the private sector will face a labor shortage of an estimated 10 million employees in 2010 and will need to actively recruit a workforce from a variety of untapped pools of talent (Herman & Gioia, 2000). Currently, individuals with  disabilities represent one of the largest pools of untapped talent ready to enter the workforce. Private
sector business community members report that while hiring people with disabilities makes good business sense, they often do not know how to tap into this labor force (Barrons, March 17, 2003). At the same time the public sector rehabilitation providers are working to get their message out that they are ready, willing and able to support employers with opportunities that will save them time and money in the recruitment, hiring, and retention of valuable workers with disabilities (Anderson, 2001).