History of COBAC
The first Community Options Business Advisory Council (COBAC) was convened in Bordentown, New Jersey in 1992. COBAC’s initial purpose was to support the Community Options employment staff in finding jobs for people with disabilities. Community and business leaders from a variety of industries were asked to lend their expertise in assessing the local job market and in making introductions to business owners and human resources managers.
As COBAC’s commitment increased, members began to offer more direct support. They conducted mock interviews with potential job applicants and provided opportunities for real, on-site job sampling. The members of the first COBAC were responsible for building Community Options’ reputation as a first class provider of individual employment services.
COBAC members became a part of the Community Options family, proud of their part in the agency’s growth and success. Community Options’ officers and board of directors recognized that such a valuable resource as COBAC should not be limited to employment initiatives. The original COBAC continues to function, but with an expanded mandate for service. Members assist management in locating residential and office properties, negotiating financing, selecting vendors, preparing entrepreneurial business plans, and planning special events and other fundraising activities. Each COBAC follows the lead of the original group in Bordentown, providing local support and expertise to Community Options staff.
The formation of a local COBAC is a top priority for directors as they open new Community Options offices across the country. COBACs now exist in all states community options operates.
Community Options is a single IRS certified 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides supports for people with disabilities in many locations in the United States. The Board and management depend on COBACs to provide the advice, knowledge and contacts that can only come from the local business community.
COBAC members have the advantage of serving at their convenience, to be involved in all agency activities or in time-limited projects of special interest. COBAC members have none of the legal or fiduciary responsibilities of board members.
Community Options needs the support of COBAC members to fulfill its mission of providing residential and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Each COBAC impacts the lives of people far beyond its geographic area as interesting ideas and accomplishments are shared throughout the Community Options network.