Business Advisory Council

Mission:

Building bridges between persons with disabilities and the business community.

Vision:

Our Business Advisory Council will stand with and support individuals with
disabilities as they pursue their goals of employment by expanding relationships
with community business partners.

History:

The Community Involvement Program’s (CIP) Business Advisory Council (BAC) began in June 2005 organized and initially facilitated by Jolene Thibedeau Boyd. The main purpose of the Business Advisory Council was to create partnerships with local business people in order to gain guidance and advice for our Employment Representatives and to increase employment for the people we support. One of the first tasks that the Business Advisory Council worked on was creating a marketing ‘leave behind’ for our employment services–something that did not exist for CIP at the time of the Council’s inception. Exhibit Group-Giltspur donated the time of their employees to bring the BAC’s ideas to fruition, creating a colorful and eye-catching postcard, with a space to include CIP contact information, that could be easily shared with business people wherever they might be encountered.

Accomplishments:

*Organized and created the ‘Family Circle’. This group is comprised of families of people supported by CIP. The Family Circle includes two fun family events per year, a breakfast in November and a picnic in the spring/summer, where people can connect with other families supported by CIP and network with our employment staff. The fall event typically includes a presentation for families about our mission, our services, and more importantly, how they can get more involved in and contribute to the job search of their family members. The Family Circle has helped CIP Employment Representatives create jobs by connecting staff with the social and business networks of families supported by CIP.

*Helped CIP to gain access to speaking engagements in the community through BAC members’ personal connections. This has included speaking for the Grand Avenue Business Association, the Waconia Rotary, the Edina Rotary, and a group from the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce.

*Created an Employment Group where the CIP Employment Representatives learn from Ken Klinck, a former sales executive. They reviewed approaches and strategies that were then put into practice.

*CIP Employment Reps gained access to the personal networks of BAC members, creating opportunities to meet with business people one on one to learn more information about various industries and their business needs.

These are just a few specific examples of how the creation of the Business Advisory Council benefited Community Involvement Programs. They provided a great deal of guidance and assistance to us on our messaging, how we present ourselves, and what is important to the business community.

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