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 →
The successful implementation of sector strategies and other key transformational elements in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) occurs at the regional level. But, without a universally accepted definition of a functional economic region, some states have chosen to designate their local workforce areas as “regions;” a move that can overlook the tremendous value of true economic regions in their state. As states seek to designate economic regions, we encourage them to consider two key factors that are generally included in most definitions that can help their guide decisions: 1) The region represents a cohesive network of trade in goods, services and labor, and 2) Data is the common element in identifying such regions.
Maher’s extensive experience working with states and regions strongly indicates that regional approaches built around identifying and operating in economic regions lend themselves to more successful sector strategies. There are… 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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 – WorkforceGPS.org. 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 →
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 →
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 →