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Latest Thinking

Maher Wins Sector Strategy Engagement in Arkansas!

We are pleased to announce that we have been selected by the state of Arkansas to support their deployment of sector strategies statewide – adding another state to a growing list of clients working to transform their workforce development system.

Sector strategies are regional, industry-focused approaches to building skilled workforces and are among the most effective ways to aligning public and private resources to address the talent needs of business – while providing family-sustaining career paths for job-seekers. Sectors-based workforce development strategies are promoted actively by federal policy and are a key element in the Nation’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which was passed by Congress in 2014.

“Sectors for us is not just another program,” said Beth Brinly, Vice-President, Workforce Innovation at Maher. “Rather, it's a culture-shift in the way we view the business of workforce development. By… Read more →

New ION Talks Focus on Leading Workforce System Change!

John P. Kotter was so right when he said “Tradition is a very powerful force.” We have a lot invested in our traditions and this is especially true for the workforce system. Changing the way things have always been done is hard. Yet, with the transformative nature of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), change at every level is well underway – for state agencies, workforce board, regional partnerships, one-stop centers, and others. 

To help expand capacity for the changes called for under WIOA, the Employment and Training Administration looked to Maher & Maher for a series of ION Talks (Innovation and Opportunity Network) and accompanying discussion guides. The 3-part video series is designed to develop and equip leaders of change with a greater understanding of how they deal with change, and how to initiate and manage change.

These short and… Read more →

WIOA Regional Plans: The End of the Beginning

In our work with regional teams in a number of states over the last decade, we have learned a great deal about what enables regional partners’ success, what can hinder it, and how regional partners can create meaningful, sustained engagement and ensure real results.  We’ll be sharing our thoughts and observations with you in blog posts over the upcoming months, and invite you to weigh in with input on your own experiences with successes and pitfalls in regional planning!

Over the last year, partners in regions across the country have been working to draft and finalize their WIOA regional plans.  In some cases, regional partners have a history of working together and planning jointly across workforce area (and other) boundaries; in others, working together in multi-partner and multi-jurisdictional teams has been a very new enterprise.  In either case, regions have had… Read more →

Peer Learning Groups Drive Sector Strategies Success

Maher & Maher, together with our partners at Jobs for the Future (JFF), the National Governor’s Association Center for Workforce Excellence and the National Network for Sector Partners, continues to be the prime contract support for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA).

Now in our third year of partnership with ETA, we continue to drive innovative approaches to technical assistance – providing effective and efficient opportunities for workforce practitioners to access capacity building tools to help accelerate the System’s adoption of sector-based approaches to workforce development.

One such innovation is the Sector Strategies Peer-Learning Groups (PLGs). Each PLG offers a topic-specific space for workforce leaders interested in developing industry sector partnerships.  PLGs involve individuals working together in groups to overcome specific challenges and adapt national promising practices. Led by a trained facilitator and… Read more →

ETA Awards Maher 5-Year, $20M BPA: Opening the Door to Continued & New Consulting & TA Opportunities

Maher & Maher is pleased to announce a new 5-year, $20M blanket purchase agreement (BPA) award from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA) to provide the agency with consulting and management services in support of its new online communication and learning platform – The BPA also opens tremendous opportunity for any office within ETA to engage Maher’s services in a broad array of technical assistance initiatives, including everything from developing and delivering online blended learning and e-learning training opportunities, to identifying and promoting innovative best practices, and creating online content-like blog posts, discussion threads, newsletters, and the like.

The BPA is advantageous for federal staff because it allows access to Maher services directly – without the need for competitive proposals. This will save ETA staff time and money by expediting the procurement process and tapping needed technical assistance… Read more →

Garden State Employment and Training Association Board Plans for the Future of Workforce Development

The Garden State Employment and Training Association (GSETA) invited me to facilitate their July Board Retreat, which included Executive Directors and Managers from Workforce Development Boards and One Stop offices from across New Jersey.  I was excited to accept this opportunity to discuss the future of workforce development in my home state. 

Through Board member’s evaluation of the organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, all within the context of the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act, we witnessed a very engaged group who, with few if any exceptions, began to demonstrate a willingness to re-imagine and explore the potential of the Association.  Key themes for the event included innovation, system building, employer engagement, partnership development, and the strengthening of a talent pipeline for New Jersey. 

GSETA members present stated that they were able to walk away from… Read more →

Sector Strategies Institute Sets New Vision for Florida’s Talent Supply Chain: CareerSource Florida

Florida’s workforce development system, and their partners, are on a course to accelerate the adoption of sectors-based approaches to talent management around the State, and our recent Sectors Strategy Institute was a solid start on their journey.

The two-day Institute, held in Orlando, brought together over 100 leaders from Florida’s twenty-four workforce development areas who attended with partners from education and economic development to learn more about sector strategies. The Institute began with a discussion of the vision Florida leaders embrace for a future workforce system and continued with several panel discussions. Leaders then worked through a series of learning activities and team-based planning exercises to help them better understand priorities and appropriate next steps.

“We have developed and deployed a model for doing these Institutes in states around the country,” said Carrie Yeats, Director of Maher’s State… Read more →

Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities

The Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (ACICIEID) is a big title and for good reason! The Committee’s 18 representatives who were appointed by the Secretary of Labor and its 7 federal officials have had an important job to do in examining and recommending ways to increase employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual, developmental and other significant disabilities. Maher & Maher has been with the Committee every step of the way, providing significant support in meeting planning and development, including arranging for necessary technological and physical accommodations for Committee members to ensure everyone is able to fully participate in the many meetings and efforts undertaken by the group.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) set in law the Committee’s charge: within one year of the committee's establishment, an interim report with recommendations is to be created and within… Read more →

Business Roundtables Inform RSA

There is no better way to get to know the human capital priorities and needs of businesses than to talk directly with business leaders themselves! And, that is just what the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) did. Commissioner Janet La Breck enlisted Maher & Maher and our partner, New Editions Inc., to identify high demand and rapidly changing industries and to reach out to key leaders for their involvement in a series of highly successful Business Roundtables. This effort was driven by the 2014 enactment of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) which established a new expectation for RSA and State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies (VR) in working more closely and effectively with the business community. Ultimately, the Commissioner’s goal for the Business Roundtables was to garner business input for the purpose of informing the technical assistance (TA) RSA delivers to VR, as the… Read more →

Maher & Maher Makes a Difference for Kids with LTEN and the Pajama Program

This year I was so pleased to return to the annual Life Sciences Trainers & Educators Network (LTEN) Annual Conference at the Gaylord National Harbor in Maryland. The conference is the nation’s largest and is dedicated to life sciences trainers & educators. I’ve been attending the conference almost annually since the early years when it was referred to as NSPST and it has been interesting to see how it has evolved over time. This year’s conference was a rewarding experience providing the networking, benchmarking, and learning experience I had hoped. And, I was pleased to see so many in attendance.

Each year the LTEN choses a philanthropy to support at the conference. This year was no different. The organization of choice was the Pajama Program out of the Maryland and DC area.  The mission… Read more →

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