Partnerships have evolved among government, education, non-profit, and for-profit organizations over many years to improve effectiveness, and increase financial efficiencies. The term partnership has evolved to mean agreements, cooperative ventures, memorandums of understanding (or agreements), joint ventures, collaborations, coalitions, volunteer efforts, and other working arrangements.

Partnerships with the Institute share labor, money, information, and services where missions align between the partners. They require a level of intimacy, trust, and flexibility between the partners that includes:

  • Active, open participation and a recognition that there is a shared expertise between the partners.
  • All the parties are contributing a variety of resources and expertise, and straightforward collaboration.
  • Common, or at least compatible, goals to advance the organization’s capability, and the profession.

NCA commits to creating effective partnerships with genuine collaboration that clearly identifies our partners’ needs and deliverables, identifies challenges and hindrances that are overcome together, and collectively develops the best project possible.
How to start a partnership with the National Center on Accessibility? Finding the right tool to foster an effective partnership is a challenge. Typically, an agency can select one of the following methods to initiate a partnership with the National Center on Accessibility.

Often NCA, either by itself or along with other entities, is asked to provide a proposal in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP). In these cases, the NCA (perhaps with another private partner) will develop a proposal explaining the Center’s qualifications, approach, pricing structure, and understanding of the proposed scope of work. For an example, please see the Boulder Park and Recreation Master Plan project profile completed in 2014.
Some organizations ask for a qualifications statement rather than a proposal to perform a scope of work. This approach allows the selecting organization to evaluate the NCA’s qualifications and past experience in performing similar work (sometimes against other firms who have been asked to provide the same statement). The benefit to this approach is that it allows the sponsoring partner the flexibility to negotiate a scope directly with the NCA based on the funding that is available. The partner and NCA develop a collaborative scope featuring shared tasks, reused concepts or ideas being used, and efficiencies with which a partner may not be familiar. The City of Fairfield, OH has used this method before and an example can be found in the Fairfield Park and Recreation Department project profiles attached.
Working federal agencies can not only directly discuss ways to partner with the NCA (or ask the NCA to make a proposal for comparison to other non-profits and/or universities), but also can discuss a proposed work statement that results in a project, product, or other program that benefits the public. NCA does this frequently and represents Indiana University as a technical representative to two federal Cooperative Ecosystem Study Units (www.cesu.psu.edu) which allow for this type of partnership. An example of this type of arrangement is the National Park Service-Eppley Institute partnership for the Interpretive Development Program, an e-learning and training program for seasonal, part-time, volunteer, and developing interpreters at www.interptraining.org.
As a part of Indiana University, the National Center on Accessibility is registered on the Government Services Administration (GSA) list of approved vendors who are available to federal, state, and local agencies under a pre-negotiated contract, fees, and type of services. NCA uses this approach with federal, state, and local agencies who can use the GSA to request a short technical proposal from NCA regarding scope and a firm fixed fee for a project. The process is fairly fast and features locked in rates and business requirements for contractual personnel. An example of this approach of working with the NCA is found in the NPS Park Facility Management Division facility management profiles.
As a government agency, a partner can directly contact the NCA and negotiate a contract for services. The NCA is not required to make proposals, statements of qualifications or any pre-contract negotiation submittals to a potential partner. If the local, state or federal agency is allowed by law, or private or non-profit entities procedures allow it, the sponsoring partner can directly negotiate a contract, fee, and scope of work with the NCA. This keeps overhead costs to a minimum and allows the potential partner to maximize the effective use of funding toward a project, program or service. An example of this approach was used by Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts as in this project profile.
In some cases, where a partner needs training or online learning and wishes to enter into an arrangement with the NCA, a joint-venture is discussed, documented, and an agreement negotiated to share costs and subsequent revenues in a pre-determined matter. Many e-courses, training projects, and programs custom developed for a partner, benefit from access to Eppley’s ProValensLearning.com. ProValensLearning.com provides a Learning Management Service, secure pay cart for collection of fees and most importantly award winning, high quality, online learning custom designed for partner’s needs. The partner’s contributions, logo, links to website, and pertinent information is added to the ETS and joint marketing is implemented. This approach is best represented by the World Parks Academy certification programs.

The National Center on Accessibility has award winning services for the past 20 years for over 150 partners. We are committed to creating mutually beneficial partnerships for our sponsors and clients. Please contact us at nca@indiana.edu or call 812.856.4422 if you need more information.