There was an air of excitement when upwards of 1,000 people from across North Carolina came together last week for the annual NCWorks Partnership Conference to learn and discuss topics around “Back to the Future: The Next 30 Years.” Maher & Maher was there to present at the North Carolina Workforce Board Association pre-conference, as well as several sessions – Washington Update, WIOA Fundamentals and Service Strategies Backward Mapping – at the conference itself. I was also invited to participate in the “Futurist Five” general session.
During the Futurist Five session, we talked quite a bit about the power of partnerships and key ingredients for their success, including the involvement of community partners, leveraging sector partnerships, having staff with heart and passion, partnering for the longpath, and doing it with style and swagger.
This idea of the longpath, as articulated by Ari… Read more →
We all know that strategic investments in the workforce system can change lives, help businesses survive and communities thrive. Recently, I was at the NCWorks Partnership conference in Greensboro, NC and heard a presentation from Jeanne Bond with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. She put meat on the bones for me regarding the new Community Reinvestment Act funding opportunities for workforce development, and I thought I would pass along the information.
When I was working in Kentucky, both the Federal Reserve of St. Louis and Cleveland supported the Commonwealth and its communities’ workforce development efforts like sponsoring our Work Ready Communities Best Practices conference. In addition, local financial institutions were often members of state and local workforce boards. The good news, though, is that there are even more ways to leverage financial institutions in this work.
The Federal Reserve Banks of Dallas… Read more →
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 →
Wayne Gretzky, famed hockey player, is known for his saying “I skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.” Recently, the State of Oregon hosted the Joint Workforce Symposium in Portland, Oregon and the theme of the meeting was “Finding Pathways to Economic Vitality Through a Dynamic Future.” Maher & Maher was in the middle of the action by sponsoring one of the events for state workforce boards and liaisons that explored the implication of artificial intelligence and drones on our sector and job development work with businesses and individual customers. This interactive session not only fostered stimulating conversation about how to position the system to remain relevant in this technologically evolving work environment, it also provided participants with a hands-on experience with drones.
During the session leading up to our event, Vivek Wadhwa (Distinguished Fellow, Carnegie… Read more →
During a Delaware Workforce Development Board (DWDB) meeting in 2017, Region 2 ETA Administrator Leo Miller issued a challenge to the DWDB to truly seize the opportunity in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in order to reimagine the workforce development system in the First State. The Chair of the DWDB, Gary Stockbridge, accepted that challenge right then and there and refocused the meeting and the trajectory of the workforce system in Delaware. As a result of this transformational meeting, Delaware partnered with Maher & Maher in 2017 to retool its strategic planning process.
The first endeavor we undertook was to broaden the engagement of partners in the development of the strategic plan, as well as to align the DWDB’s planning activities with key initiatives underway among workforce system partners. The Board’s Steering Committee utilized a highly interactive Board Retreat that not only included… Read more →
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 →
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 →
Over the last two years the workforce development system has been working on organizational changes related to WIOA. Now that the final rules are out, many states, regions and local areas are focusing on the key strategic priorities in the law. Some of WIOA’s specific requirements include:Supporting industry partnerships by Local Workforce Development Boards; Creating stronger roles for, and integration with, economic development; Aligning sector partnerships and educational career pathways; and Measuring outcomes related to employer impact, in addition to jobseeker and worker impact.
Whether you are launching an industry partnership, a career pathway effort, work-based learning initiative, or overhauling your business service strategy, your business customer must be the driving force behind the effort. In order to achieve WIOA’s strategic objectives, each level of the workforce system must effectively and efficiently do its part.
The… Read more →
Harriet Tubman once said, “Every great dream begins with the dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act provides state leaders and the workforce system at each level the opportunity to dream big dreams and work with their partners to make their dreams a reality. As a result, the role that state leadership plays and the supports it offers during this transitional timeframe is critical.
The infrastructure to support that dream is the WIOA Unified or Combined State Plans. However, in our work with several states, it has become clear that those plans are more compliance focused and not necessarily reflective of states’ true strategic vision and how to operationalize that vision. Now is the time to… Read more →