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Welcome to WIOA: Easy Intro to Sector Strategies, Sector Partnerships, and Career Pathways

In today’s economy, making sure that the skills of the available workforce meet the needs of local industry is crucial. By developing career pathways for workers that are aligned with the needs of industry, people can become and remain employed, industry grows, and the overall regional and national economies benefit.

That’s where Sector Planning comes in, and it all starts with focused, active partnerships between businesses and those engaged in workforce development. These “Sector Partnerships” are defined as:

“Focused, active partnerships among businesses in a target industry sector and workforce development organizations, educators, training providers, labor unions, community organizations, and other key stakeholders”

Working together, these collaborations identify industry needs for workers with specific skills, education, and credentials, and then make sure that educational and training opportunities are available to help people… Read more →

Arkansas Gets WIOA Quick-Start: Statewide Conference Offers On-Ramp to WIOA Success

In this article from our blog, Maher & Maher President & CEO Richard D. Maher shares some of the highlights from our facilitation of Arkansas’ first WIOA statewide planning meeting. Learn more about how this state plans to “dive in” to the serious business of implementing the new law, along with some best practices that may work for your state as well.



New State Projects for Maher & Maher!

The passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was a tremendous step forward in reforming our country’s workforce development system. Many states are leveraging the new law to transform their own systems and, as a result, have sought our assistance in their change efforts.  We are pleased to announce four upcoming projects in South Carolina, Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri.

The projects will leverage sector strategies as the framework for building a talent development system and for delivering services to businesses and individuals in One-Stop Career Centers. They all involve significant planning at the sub-state regional level, as is warranted for such an impactful policy and program initiative. However, three of these projects have the advantage of combining mandated WIOA regional planning with developing sector strategies, a primary policy initiative under the new law.

Each project is customized for the unique… Read more →

New Leadership for Our State and Regional Practice at Maher & Maher

Our team at Maher & Maher has helped many organizations successfully manage and thrive in the midst of change. We know that every organization has moments of transition, including us! Today we announce a change to the leadership in Maher & Maher’s State and Regional Workforce Solutions practice. Over the past fifteen years, many of our clients have worked with Arnie Richter, outgoing Director of that practice, on State and Regional projects and on Federal Practice projects. Arnie has been there almost from the beginning of our Federal Practice, helping to build a strong foundation before moving on to focus on state and regional work. After a number of years of sharing his passion and energy with our clients on a full-time basis, Arnie has decided that the time has come to reduce his hours while still contributing to the work he loves. He will be continuing… Read more →

Free Webinar: Making Sector Strategies Real and Using your NEG to Help you Get There

Are you struggling with Planning Your NEG Sector Partnership Strategy?

Join us for a free webinar on Thursday, September 10, called WIOA Planning Through Sectors. This webinar is designed to give you the information you need to make your regional planning and sector partnership strategies a success, using your NEG Sector Partnership grant to help.

   Date: Thursday, September 10

Time: 11am-12pm ET

This session will be recorded, so even if you can't attend live be sure to register so you receive the link to the recording.

Maher & Maher is the primary provider of Federal technical assistance in Sector Strategies and WIOA Implementation through ETA, and has been deeply involved in sector and related planning work at the state and regional levels for 10 years. 

Register now for this … Read more →

Arkansas Gets WIOA-Quick Start: Statewide Conference Offers On-Ramp to WIOA Success

Last week I had the honor of working with nearly 500 professionals from across a broad array of partners in Little Rock, Arkansas in the state’s first, wide-scale planning meeting for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). We were packed into every square inch of our hotel space – a challenge for our team of facilitators. Importantly, our job was made easier by the willingness of those present to "dive in" to the serious business of implementing the new law.

The audience included all the usual attendees – Board members, WIA and Wagner-Peyser staff, community colleges and CBOs – but also a strong showing from "new" WIOA partners in Rehabilitation Services, TANF, Registered Apprenticeship and more.

It was my job to convey the essential elements of the new legislation, give folks an overview of how the Law would change the way we do… Read more →

WIOA Quick Start Action Planners Launched: A New Tool to Help in Effective Implementation

As part of our support of ETA’s Technical Assistance initiative in support of the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), we are designing a series of web-based tools that can help state and local leaders prepare for the new law. The WIOA Quick Start Action Planners (QSAPs) are web-based self-assessments designed to help state and local leaders identify areas of strength and challenges as they prepare their workforce systems for the implementation of WIOA. ETA will be releasing QSAPs on priority topics, including Leadership and Governance, Partnerships, One-Stop Service Delivery, and Youth Service Strategies. Once users obtain their results, they will be directed to helpful resources as well a WIOA Action Plan to help them take action where necessary. The first of the series has been released as is available here (link). “The concept of a “quick-start” planning tool – a… Read more →

Integrated Services Under WIOA: SETA Leaders Explore Integration, Sectors & Value-based Services

Recently, in a well-attended conference at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in Greensboro, North Carolina, I joined leaders from the Southeastern states (and a few seven-footers who invaded the place for the AACC Conference basketball championship) at the SETA Conference. As one might imagine, workshop sessions explored every facet of the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and folks gathered from far and wide to learn about the changes and opportunities its implementation represents.

I was asked to prepare an important workshop: “One Stop Program Integration and Service Alignment to Support WIOA,” which drew a standing-room-only crowd.

Integration is a “holy grail” that many of us veterans of the workforce system have been pursuing since the passage of the Workforce Investment Act in the nineties. It has been an elusive goal for many – held hostage to a complex… Read more →

Social Learning in a Corporate Environment

At a recent team meeting it was exciting to hear how social learning was at play.  From peer-to-peer sharing in support of a client’s Lean implementation, to sales representatives partaking in strategic planning best practices in a virtual classroom session, to a project team collaborating on process improvements in the development of a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), the value of social learning was front and center.

Social learning is not a new concept in the business community – we work in teams, seek out peers for guidance and information, engage in collaborative problem-solving, and learn together in classes. Leveraging the knowledge capital of employees by sharing information and expertise in the workplace is a proven business practice with a long history.  Whether through informal mentoring or a simple water-cooler chat, social learning is a powerful process that connects employees with subject matter… Read more →

State and Federal Leaders Move WIOA Forward: Re-capping the NASWA Winter Policy Forum

Last week it was an honor to emcee NASWA’s Winter Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. Despite the threatening winter weather (that caused my train to “freeze” and made me drive to D.C.), about 150 leaders from states across the nation came together to tackle the special challenges involved in preparing to implement the Workforce System’s new law.

Panels of experts, including an opening plenary featuring leaders from key federal partner agencies planning for implementation, came together in robust discussions with those gathered around key issues in the law. One panel explored disconnected youth and long-term unemployed. Another focused on building partnerships that are so critical to reaching the potential of this new legislation. Still another featured states that have already been working to bring partners together and formulate key changes in policy and process that will be the backbone of… Read more →