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Forming Alliances & Partnerships: A case study in collaboration. Presented by Don Smith, MSW, CMFDiane Moore, M.Ed.,CMF Governor, Institute of Professor, George Brown College Career Certification Board Member, Toronto Chapter,

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Forming Alliances & Partnerships: A case study in collaboration

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Forming Alliances & Partnerships:A case study in collaboration

Presented by

Don Smith, MSW, CMFDiane Moore, M.Ed.,CMF

Governor, Institute of Professor, George Brown College

Career Certification Board Member, Toronto Chapter,

InternationalAssociation of Career Professionals International



  • To present the process used in establishing a formal alliance between George Brown College, the Association of Career Professionals International and the Institute of Career Certification International.

  • To describe advantages, benefits and lessons learned in forming this alliance.

  • To identify future challenges in maintaining partnership between GBC, ACPI and ICCI.

Who are we?DON SMITH, MSW, CMF

  • 20 years with Murray Axmith & Associates

  • Previously with not-for-profits in Canada, USA & Europe

  • Masters degree in social work (MSW)

  • Canada’s first earned CMF (Career Management Fellow)

  • Governor, Institute of Career Certification International

  • Certified mental health practitioner with Ontario Association of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists & Psychotherapists

  • Independent career coach in Toronto

  • Board Member with Toronto Chapter, ACPI

Who are we?DIANE MOORE, M.Ed., CMF

  • Professor at George Brown College in Social Service Worker and Career & Work Counsellor Programs.

  • 20+ years as a career counsellor, educator, consultant, author/editor.

  • Achieved Career Management Fellow certification (CMF) through the Institute of Career Certification International in Nov 2008.

  • Acts as liaison between GBC and ACPI/ICCI, including membership in Board of ACPI’s Toronto Chapter.

Three Partners in Alliance

  • George Brown College’s Career & Work Counsellor Program (C&WCP)

  • The Association of Career Professionals International (ACPI)

  • The Institute of Career Certification International (The Institute)

George Brown College’s Career & Work Counsellor Program

  • Established in 1993.

  • Only two-year diploma program currently available in the field in Ontario.

  • Only program of its kind in Canada offering a special stream for Internationally Educated Professionals.

  • Available full-time and part-time.

  • Full-time diploma program can be completed in 12 months (fast-track) to 16 months.

  • Part-time diploma can be completed in 3 to 4 years.

George Brown College’s Career & Work Counsellor Program

  • Full-time program has three streams:

    • 16-month program for mature students and high school graduates; begins September.

    • 12-month program for college and university graduates, begins January.

    • 16-month program for internationally educated professionals with post-secondary education received outside Canada, begins September.

    • Students in all 3 streams finish at the same time (in December) and receive the same diploma.

George Brown College’s Career & Work Counsellor Program

  • Full-time program includes two field practicums totalling 18 weeks.

  • Approximately 90 students graduate from full-time program each year.

  • Graduates work in a variety of employment settings, from corporate career services to community agencies.

  • Grads may find work as career and employment counsellors, career development practitioners, corporate career planners, job search facilitators, vocational assessors or career information specialists.

George Brown College’s Career & Work Counsellor Program

  • 90% of graduates have found work in the field.

  • Graduates meet national standards for Career and Employment Counsellors.

  • In 2006, a special stream for Internationally Educated Professionals was added to the full-time program.

  • Accepts 25 newcomers to Canada who have professional credentials from their country of origin.

  • Students receive 4 months of specialized English language instruction designed for ESL students along with regular curriculum.

The Association of Career Professionals International

  • Established in 1989

  • A global, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the success of its members who provide lifelong career and talent-related services in more than 20 countries.

  • Headquartered in Washington, DC.

  • More than 2,000 members in 30 chapters worldwide.

  • Provides extensive networking and professional education events.

The Institute of Career Certification International

  • World-wide credentialing body created in 1994 by ACP International and the Association of Career Firms International; headquartered in Washington, D.C.

  • Career Management Professionals certified by ICCI come from a rich variety of business, government, education, freelance and non-profit backgrounds

  • The only international, not-for-profit and independent certifying body for career services professionals.

  • Certification is portfolio-based, demonstrating proven professional experience and expertise.

  • Offers four levels of certification depending on practitioner’s years of experience and role in the field.

Snapshot: Pre-alliance

  • CWC Program, ACPI and ICCI were operating as 3 separate silos.

  • Grads of CWC program and faculty were involved in ACP events and board activities on informal basis.

  • CWC Program had strong connections to the non-profit sector providing career services to the community.

  • Weaker connections to corporate, freelance and for-profit sector.

Snapshot: Pre-alliance

  • ACPI supported members working as career practitioners in the field.

  • No formal mechanism for recruiting graduates entering the field to join ACPI.

  • ICCI offered certification to practitioners in the field, but no formal process for marketing benefits of certification to grads entering the field or Alumni of GBC.

Timelines in Developing Alliance

  • 2005: Discussions between CWC Program, ACPI and ICCI to review program’s curriculum; identify courses to count towards certification with ICCI by grads and alumni.

  • 2007: Led to idea of formal alliance between bodies being proposed to all 3 organizations. Initiative led by Don Smith.

  • 2008: Endorsed by ACPI and ICCI headquarters.

Timelines in Developing Alliance

  • 2007: Created draft of Alliance Agreement; what it would mean for each party and what each would agree to do.

  • 2008: Obtained final agreement in principle from the 3 parties to prepare document for signature.

  • Summer 2008: Diane Moore appointed as institutional link between GBC and ACPI/ICCI.

Formalization of Alliance

  • Summer 2008: Alliance agreement signed by principals. David Gray, ACPI Toronto Chapter President, assumes leadership role in planning.

  • Fall 2008: Alliance formally announced at CWC Program’s 15th Anniversary Gala.

  • Fall 2008: Establishment of online linkages and logo exchange between CWC, ACPI and ICCI.

  • January 2009: Selection of 2 students from CWC Program to sit on Board of ACP’s Toronto Chapter.

Highlights of Alliance:Addresses 7 Key Areas

  • Member recruitment.

  • Career/relationship building opportunities for students and graduates.

  • Student membership rate.

  • Courses credited towards ICCI certification.

  • Joint promotion (logo exchanges/web site links/educational opportunities/events).

  • Networking opportunities.

  • Content exchange.

Benefits of AllianceFor CWC Program

  • Creates an immediate network for students.

  • Gives graduates of CWC program an advantage in pursuing post-diploma certification through ICCI.

  • Provides valuable connections to private sector and corporate practicum/work opportunities for current students and alumni.

  • Offers current students and alumni opportunity to connect with mentors and experienced career practitioners through ACPI.

  • Enhances even further the value of the Career & Work Counsellor Program.

Benefits of AllianceFor ACPI

  • Promotion of ACPI education and networking events to CWC students and alumni. For example, March 2009 event on Best Career Practices had over 80 participants.

  • Attraction of new ACPI members.

  • Expansion and enrichment of neworks of career professionals with broader communication and referral potentials, enabling mutual welfare and benefit.

  • Expand pool of available career professionals for career firms to hire as employees.

Benefits of AllianceFor ICCI

  • Attraction of applications for Associate, CMP or CMF certification.

  • Further publicity for awareness of career standards and value of ICCI certification.

  • Strengthen recognition amongst purchasers of career services of importance of legitimate credentials in selection decisions.

  • Promote ICCI tagline of certification as providing “Experience, Competence, Integrity”.

Lessons Learned

  • Alliances are essential in our current economy. Silos go nowhere.

  • Alliances require a “champion” from each organization during the development phase.

  • Value and benefits must be created and clearly articulated from the beginning.

  • Takes time to establish; not an overnight process. This Alliance required 3 years.

  • Importance of creating institutional links to ensure continuity of commitment and mutual benefit for the future.


  • Took longer than expected.

  • Time, effort and energy are required for leaders to build commitment for a developing Alliance.

  • Vision of potential benefits was not obvious at the beginning of process.

  • Parties did not have the administrative power to require acceptance of Alliance.

  • Getting all key players together at the table was difficult.

  • Process needed constant nurturance and monitoring to ensure it didn’t lose momentum or suffer truncated development.

Future Steps

  • Establishing routine process/timelines for cross-promotion.

  • Creating special events for CWC students.

  • Developing methods to engage CWC alumni in events and work up to certification.

  • Building a pool of practitioners with CMF credential to sponsor students/alumni in certification process.

  • Building pool of ACPI members to mentor students and alumni of CWC Program in preparation for certification.

For more information:

  • George Brown College’s Career & Work Counsellor Program

  • The Association of Career Professionals International

  • The Institute of Career Certification International

  • Donald Smith (416) 465-9779

  • Diane Moore (416) 415-5000 x 2496

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