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Posts By Todd Cohen

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 →

Who Convenes Industry Sector Partnerships?

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) lays the groundwork for smart regional planning: aligning education and training strategies and services with the talent needs of businesses within a given labor market. As many workforce leaders can attest, this kind of regional planning, and the forming of industry sector partnerships is difficult to pull off. It requires developing a shared vision and consensus among not only workforce areas, economic development organizations and post-secondary institutions, but now, a number of other public programs including vocational rehabilitation, adult education and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. These regional groups must ultimately align services and programs and work with business customers as one voice.

There is no question that all effective regional partnerships have, at their heart, a strong convening organization, or intermediary. Intermediaries, or “conveners” as they are often called, are the backbone organization for… 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 →