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The Countdown to August 21, 2017

Over a year ago, I started reading articles on a rare solar eclipse that was going to occur across the United States. It was billed as a must-see event by astronomers, and by the luck of it, it would pass close to where we live.

It would be the “first to sweep across the entire country since 1918.” 

What is a solar eclipse?

This video answers common questions people have about it.

So, we started investigating options...

You can go to Oregon, spend the night in Nashville, even stay in Hopkinsville, Kentucky and enjoy the Little Green Men Festival along with your eclipse experience. Then we realized the kids would be back in school (major buzz kill). So, our location area had to narrow. We wanted to stay within a few hours’ drive and still experience the path… Read more →

Distilling Federal Regulations into Successful Technical Assistance

Change is the one constant in the national workforce system. Whether a government agency is issuing new regulations or stripping down existing ones, our challenge is to help practitioners and service providers comply with new requirements and continue their commitment to customer-centered design and transformational change.

With any policy, buy-in at all levels is vital to full implementation, which is why the Maher team takes a holistic approach. We work closely with our clients to gain a deep understanding of regulatory changes while maintaining the broader vision for the system. For more than twenty years, Maher played the role of change agent, helping to ease the burden and reduce confusion around several federal regulations such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the updated Equal Employment Opportunity regulations for Registered Apprenticeship, and updated recordkeeping practices for the Office of Records Management at the USDOL. We have… Read more →

Your Skills, Your Future: TN Chamber Partners to Address Manufacturing Skills Gap

Many times, workforce system leaders look to economic projections to find growing occupations and industries so they can best target limited resources at sectors that are expanding and offer family-sustaining careers. Of course, that is as it should be.

Sometimes we can miss, however, real opportunities for great jobs in sectors that may not be among the fastest growing, but which present opportunity due to their “greying workforces.”

We found this great site – Your Skills, Your Future – that the Cleveland, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce has launched in partnership with private sector partners, to educate students, parents and job seekers in careers in manufacturing. We like the work, so we thought we’d share.

Here’s some of what they get right. They talk directly to the worker, in plain language and using terms that resonate with job… Read more →

Community Collaboration an Economic Imperative

Recently, I was in Kansas doing State and Local Strategic Board training with my colleague, Terri Lonowski. During the training session, we watched a senior manager overseeing global executive development and diversity for a major firm have an epiphany about how his company needed to embrace talent acquisition and development within a supply chain management relationship framework. His “AHA” moment transformed the dynamics in the room and the very nature of the conversation moving forward. This business representative then wanted to apply the sound practices associated with supply chain management to the workforce development system. He is certainly not the first business person to make that connection, as evidenced by the US Chamber Foundation’s recent work in this area in collaboration with state and local workforce development systems.

The challenge before us is whether the economic development, workforce development and education partners, along… Read more →

2018 Budget Talks: The Winds of Change are in the Air

Re-imagining America’s Workforce Development System

With the House Appropriations Committee approving the FY 2018 Labor-HHS Ed Funding bill, we have yet another opportunity to consider how the public workforce system must evolve to meet the needs of its business and individual customers.

Some suggest that the focus lies solely with meeting the needs of the business customer.  Others suggest we must invest in career pathways and position them as the core of the workforce delivery system.  Then there are those who think technology should rule the day and that the physical American Job Center is becoming obsolete. No matter which school of thought you subscribe to, it is clear that our system must embrace change to remain relevant to our businesses, individual customers and our national, state and regional economies. We have been “tweaking” for nearly 20 years as federal budgets shrink to … Read more →

America’s Skills Gap Grows! Costs businesses nearly $1M/year according to survey.

We are bombarded by information about America’s “skills gap.” Every day, news stories report the now infamous 6 million unfilled jobs in the country. At the same time, those of us engaged with the nation’s workforce development system struggle to help under-skilled job seekers work toward economic security and meaningful career paths.

Employers struggle too; they’re reassessing their entry level skill and educational requirements and their pay rates. They’re hoping to find a solution to vacancies that put stress on managers and cause existing staff to do “double-duty” to get the work done.

But production is not the only cost of the ongoing American Skills Gap, according to a recent survey by CareerBuilder. Their April, 2017 survey of over 2,300 employers and 3,400 workers tells a story of higher employee turnover, reduced staff morale, lower quality work… Read more →

American Job Center Customer Flow Scenarios

Maher & Maher works hand-in-hand with our federal partners to implement strategic technical assistance strategies and innovative training solutions. One recent example – the American Job Center (AJC) Customer Flow Scenarios was produced under its Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Technical Assistance support contract with the Employment and Training Administration (ETA). Many states and local areas have expressed a need for tools that help AJCs coordinate staff and partners to work collaboratively across programs. This booklet features five illustrated stories (in graphic novel format) that represent scenarios of customer experiences and the guidance an AJC staff member might provide.

 

Sam has an undisclosed disability and needs guidance on reasonable accommodations and other rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act while returning to the labor force. Charles is an employer seeking guidance to hire and accommodate workers with disabilities and is seeking resources… Read more →

WBL Quick Reference Desk Guide Available

We are excited to offer access to ETA’s Desk Reference Guide to Work-Based Learning (WBL) for workforce professionals. The short desktop aid offers quick access to information on the various types of WBL available for use by workforce system pros. The Maher Team produced the tool under its WIOA Technical Assistance support contract with the Employment and Training Administration (ETA).

From Registered Apprenticeship to OJT and more, the Guide provides a short tutorial on the various forms of WBL and how they could be properly administered for the benefit of system customers.  

“Today’s challenging labor market, characterized by over 6 million un-filled, middle-skilled job openings, requires innovative solutions,” said Richard (“Rick”) D. Maher, the Firm’s Presdient & CEO. “Work-based learning – in all its forms – is a powerful tool for both our System… Read more →

My Reemployment Plan: A Customer-Focused Guide to Reemployment Strategies for Today’s Labor Market

Our national economy is recovering at a steady pace from the so-called Great Recession that ended in 2009. The recession was the most severe, and one of the longest-persisting economic downturns, since the Great Depression. Employment fell by 6.3 percent during that period, and although the economy has added an average of 191,000 jobs per month since then, many workers are still not as secure or well off as they were before the recession hit.

A study conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute notes: “Technology and globalization have created a more dynamic and fast-paced business environment, but the way economies connect most individuals with work has been slow to respond. A significant proportion of workers feel overqualified or disengaged in their current roles…  [That leaves] millions of people coping with unemployment, underemployment, stagnant wages, and discouragement.”

Back in 2015, and in response to these… Read more →

A Fresh Look at our Processes

Maher is a firm that has always valued process; it’s one of our key strengths. At the same time, our clients expect us to be flexible and responsive to changes in work flow and their business priorities. Our Private Sector team came together in April to work on bringing the best of our agile workflows into consistent practice while maintaining client-specific flexibility in our process.

We met at our corporate offices in New Jersey to reflect on the growth and expansion of our Practice and the firm as a whole. We’re proud of how we’ve launched innovative learning solutions for our clients and for our peers’ public-sector clients, cross-pollenating new methods of learning born out of private sector initiatives.

It was also a chance for us to review and evaluate the way we serve clients. We wanted to… Read more →