Defining Your Ecosystem and Identifying the Right Partners
What is a Recovery-to-Work Ecosystem?
You might be completely new to recovery to work ecosystems or you might have devoted considerable time and thought to developing one in your region. In either case, it is likely that much of the recovery-focused work in your region takes place within the boundaries of specific projects and organizations. Helping people in recovery achieve lasting employment requires the coordination of organizations and services that have previously operated in silos.
The coordination of key community service providers and stakeholders to help people in recovery from substance use disorder can be thought of as an ecosystem of a partners from a variety of fields. This recovery-to-work ecosystem calls for partners to recognize the interrelatedness of their work: economic developers have a role in public health, the justice system needs to recognize their connection to workforce development, and so on.
Strong regional ecosystems require dedicated planning and leadership along with time and intention. Every region has a unique landscape of people, organizations, and projects. Each regional recovery to work ecosystem will look different. It’s important to start with an understanding of what success looks like for your region and how your existing partners and projects are connected.
After completing phase 1, you should have the following outcomes:
A better understanding of the unique landscape of people and organizations focused on recovery work in your region.
A short statement that summarizes your organization’s vision of a successful recovery-to-work ecosystem.
An initial outreach list of partners that can make that vision of success a reality.
Set Your Organization’s Vision for a Successful Regional Ecosystem
Even with the same end goal of a more robust recovery-to-work ecosystem, success will look different in every region. And, different organizations within the same region will often have different visions of success. The first step to developing shared goals for a region is to understand your organization’s unique vision of a successful recovery-to-work ecosystem.
Identify a Leadership Team with Organizations that are Critical to a Successful Ecosystem
Successful regional ecosystems have strong leadership teams that reflect organizational diversity. What successful ecosystems have in common is less about the exact organizations in leadership and more about the type of people engaged.
Activity: Identify the organizations in your region that are part of the recovery-to-work ecosystem and start to develop an engagement strategy.
When you have a short list of organizations to include in your recovery-to-work leadership team, start engaging this group to share your vision for success in your region and to invite their input on what success looks like and how to achieve it.
Template: Use this email template as a starting point for outreach.
Activity: Include a community interest assessment form with email outreach.