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Maher Successfully Executes Over 150 Individual Projects to Support Workforce System Excellence

For the past three years, Maher & Maher (Maher) has partnered with United States Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration’s (ETA) Office of Regional Management and six ETA Regional Offices to implement over 150 technical assistance projects in 34 states around the country. Financed through Federal Technical Assistance and Training funds, the projects built the capacity of states and regions to provide innovative, effective and customer-centered workforce service design and delivery.  Projects included:

Intensive consulting around sector strategies and high-impact State and Local Workforce Boards; Development of various training curricula around topics such as effective monitoring, case management and soft skills for job seekers; Delivery of workshops on various topics, including service integration, strategic board training, sectors 101, career pathways, creating a customer centered one-stop, youth program design, and partnerships; and A Customer Centered Design Challenge that brought together local teams to tackle system challenges through… Read more →

Meet Sue Brown, Maher’s Newest Instructional Design Talent

Susan (Sue) Brown joins Maher as a Senior Instructional Designer in our Private Sector Practice. She works directly with our Chief Learning Officer and Learning Strategist to assess client needs and craft innovative and effective learning solutions for our clients. She also works with our Project Managers to ensure design workflows are effective and timely to produce high-quality learning deliverables.

Sue comes to Maher after serving as a Lead Instructional Designer and Project Manager at Optimized Learning Solutions. Prior to that she was Manager of Multimedia Training at U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP).

Bringing 20 years of experience in a mix of learning roles from sales trainer, systems training design and facilitation, eLearning producer, lead designer, and Project Manager, Sue is a versatile new asset for the Firm. She is not only knowledgeable in adult learning theory, she excels in technology-enabled learning, with a passion for visual… Read more →

How Do You Learn?

As Chief Learning Officer at Maher, I get asked, “How do I develop myself professionally? What do I do to learn and advance my knowledge base and skills?”

While I’ve always wanted to pursue my PhD and I’d like to say I’m actively engaged in some formal advanced education, I don’t have that personal bandwidth to do so at this point in my life. However, I DO believe, and always have believed, we must continue to grow as professionals. We need to own that and be accountable for it. The world continues to change; we must keep up. One thing I know from working in the Talent Development field for more than 20 years is that a key trait of top performers at any organization is that they are continuous learners.

So, what does a busy… Read more →

Why and Who of Storytelling

One of my favorite TV shows out right now is This is Us. This show is such a mega hit because there are several different storylines running concurrently throughout the season, and there is literally something in each show that anyone, from all walks of life, can relate to. It touches the viewers on an emotional and realistic level. Plus, it draws us in week after week, wondering how the story is going to develop.

As an Instructional Designer, I’m of the mindset that my role is equivalent to that of the Director of a show like This is Us (except, my pay check might have a few less digits!). Instructional Designers are the best people to make learning come to life through storytelling because we can connect the needs of our clients and the expertise of the subject matter experts (SMEs) with the talents… Read more →

Cohort Technical Assistance: Innovation in Peer-to-Peer Learning

Technical assistance is an invaluable tool to help workforce and education organizations learn how to improve systems. But it can sometimes be a passive process. Attend a webinar, a few meetings, read a couple of best practice case studies, and then call it a day. Frequently, the topic is determined by the sponsoring organization providing technical assistance, and for clarity’s sake, it often focuses on just one issue. We’re often looking for the “right” solution for a single problem. But the real work done in the field is more intricate, more interrelated, and may not fit into a one-size-fits-all approach.

Maher is refining a new model that makes the process more engaging and interactive. Cohort technical assistance brings together peers for collaborative learning and problem solving. Cohorts are designed to drill-down on a topic, combining “team time’” (within… Read more →

Change is in the Air (again!) …What’s Your EQ?

Today’s challenging, competitive environment means most of us working in talent development are working at a fever pitch. Long hours, tight deadlines and students that “don’t have time to train.” Constantly changing markets and mandates, and the need to pivot on a dime, all adds up to a high stress environment.

At Maher we have been working to help client organizations with change for 30 years, and our research in organizational resiliency tells us that an individual’s ability to cope is rooted in individual (and organizational) traits, rooted in personality, but also able to be developed. But individual development starts with self-awareness and self-management.

Taking the time to “manage you” and de-compress isn’t always easy, but we found this short article that might help you see how emotionally intelligent folks might cope – and… Read more →

Forming, Storming and Norming Around Regions, Sector Strategies and Career Pathways

It is wonderful when regionalism comes together like it did with the six workforce development regions in Minnesota! In order to help stand up these newly formed regions, Minnesota asked Maher to partner with the regions to assess sector strategies implementation status in the context of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The Maher team reviewed each regional plan and then identified and provided technical assistance over a three-month period.

Across the regions, several common technical assistance themes emerged:

Advancing a regional approach to sector strategies that is strategic and systemic in nature; Building a common understanding and structure to support sector strategies and employer-led industry partnerships among local boards and partners; Creating an integrated approach to business services; Supporting and sustaining long-term sector partnership and employer relationships; and Developing performance metrics/benchmarks.

In response to these needs, Maher coaches worked with regions on a… Read more →

“Connecting the Dots”

Doing more with less is all too familiar in the field of workforce development. Over time, funding levels have eroded or been eliminated altogether, requiring workforce professionals to be creative in devising ways to serve customers more efficiently and effectively. In fact, we at Maher & Maher advise our clients every day on strategies to leverage funding and align resources to save both time and money.

Behind the scenes, we take our own advice seriously, too. It’s what we call “connecting the dots.” Our technical assistance at the federal level combined with our work with states, regions, locals, and with private business clients allows us to generate a wealth of knowledge about the challenges our clients face in developing and delivering a talent pipeline. We experience firsthand what’s working and what’s not, and document the most effective practices being… Read more →

Teach, Learn, Change

A Diverse Technical Assistance Strategy for Equal Employment Opportunities in Apprenticeship

The team at Maher & Maher are experts at digging into complex policies and developing dynamic, digestible technical assistance (TA) and training for diverse audiences.

The US Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship (OA) has been focusing for the last couple of years on increasing diversity in apprenticeship programs, both in terms of the industries that use apprenticeship as a workforce development tool and the demographics of apprentices themselves. Maher is partnering with OA on that mission, creating TA for both national staff as well as for State-level grantees.

In December 2016, the regulations regarding Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) measures for apprenticeship programs were updated for the first time in nearly four decades. The previous EEO regulations for apprenticeship were published in 1978. Since that time, many aspects of the workplace have changed dramatically.… Read more →

Maher & Maher announces partnership with the Virginia Community College System

Maher & Maher is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Virginia Community College System and its workforce partners on the development of a Sector Strategy and Career Pathways Academy.

This effort builds upon a decade of work in the Commonwealth to align education and training programs in ways that makes it easier for individuals to access and complete pathways to family-supporting careers. By pairing together sector strategies and career pathways, this initiative hopes to improve the relevance and effectiveness of education and training programs, leading to more positive outcomes for individuals and businesses.

A primary emphasis will be on operationalizing these strategies in service delivery so that sector strategies and career pathways become the “way of conducting business” throughout Virginia’s workforce system. This is a transformational change endeavor for the entire system—from workforce board members, educational leaders,… Read more →