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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 →

Apprenticeship Works: US DOL Announces $50 Million Investment in State Apprenticeship Strategies

More and more businesses, workforce development organizations, and educational institutions across the country are turning to apprenticeship as a proven model for work-based learning. This customized and flexible workforce solution trains workers to the exact skill needs of business – and provides wages during training so that workers can “earn while they learn.”

The U.S. Department of Labor (US DOL) is making a historic investment in apprenticeship. After announcing Accelerator Grants to 52 states and territories in early June, US DOL just recently announced a new $50 million ApprenticeshipUSA State Expansion grant competition.

Maher & Maher has partnered with US DOL to launch a number of successful apprenticeship initiatives over the last decade in order to accelerate understanding and adoption of apprenticeship, such as:

A Quick-Start Toolkit providing a step-by-step guide for businesses to build apprenticeship programs   A comprehensive… Read more →

Voices for Opportunity and Economic Mobility: A Jobs for the Future Summit - Rick Maher to Moderate

A national summit focused on economic mobility is happening this week in New Orleans, and Maher President and CEO, Rick Maher is there!

The summit takes on the crisis in economic opportunity facing American society, and brings together employers, partners, civic leaders, and other “problem solvers” to share ways to better prepare a rising generation for tomorrow’s jobs. The unique gathering of national thought leaders tackles topics as diverse as working with immigrant populations and addressing transportation barriers.

“Our leadership team felt it was important for us to support JFF in this national summit,” said Mr. Maher. “The topic is such an important one at a pivotal moment in time for our country. As we tackle the challenge of growing economic inequality, our ability to pause and take time for a deep dive in understanding the issues… Read more →

Are you BOLD enough to “Fail-Fast?” Customer Centered Design Holds a Key to WIOA Success

Three work sessions at the recent National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP) Conference in Orlando invited participants to innovate their way to improved service delivery integration, and to “fail fast” in the pursuit of better outcomes for both job seeker and employer customers. We were really energized by the enthusiasm of people from across the country as we explored ETA’s Customer Centered Design (CCD) initiative.

Customer Centered Design (CCD) is a way of exploring service delivery excellence using “design thinking” as the engine for innovation, and the Employment and Training Administration has been championing its acceptance across the Nation’s Workforce Development System aggressively. ETA’s Customer Centered Design Challenge, which we have supported as TA providers and coaches for the initiative, has seen 200 teams since last summer from across the U.S. form to re-imagine… Read more →

Oklahoma Strategic Board Training: Statewide Conference Boosts WIOA Implementation Success

I recently had the honor of working with close to 100 local workforce development board members from across the state of Oklahoma, and was so impressed with their positive energy and intentions!. State officials worked in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) Dallas Regional Office to promote and sponsor the event. This highly collaborative event convened at Oklahoma State University brought together board members, including board chairs, business members and board staff and a robust representation of Local Elected Officials (LEOs),to explore the many important elements of the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and to train board members in their critical roles – among them to think and act more strategically in the years ahead.

We covered the essential elements of the new legislation, gave folks an overview of how the law would change the way they do business, and… Read more →

Sector Strategies Virtual Institute

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) presents a tremendous opportunity to create and deepen partnerships that will advance the prosperity of regions.  The foundation for this work is strong industry sector partnerships that bring together employers, education and training entities, workforce agencies, community organizations and other stakeholders to align training with the skills needed for an industry to expand and compete in the global economy.

To support this work, the Employment and Training Administration's 2nd Annual Sector Strategies Virtual Institute kicked off May 16th, offering a multitude of learning and peer-to-peer knowledge building opportunities to those just beginning to build industry sector partnerships, as well as those further along in sectors work.

The event opened with a highly engaging Plenary featuring Deputy Assistant Secretary Eric Seleznow who welcomed workforce development leaders from across the country as they discussed the advancements they&rsquo… Read more →

The Future of Rapid Response: Maher Presents a new Future Orientation at ETA Region 2 Summit

Last week’s “Responding Rapidly” Summit in Harrisburg, PA gave us the opportunity to think through the future of Rapid Response with a high-energy group of professionals throughout ETA’s Region 2 states – and it was a conversation that may need to happen across the Nation’s Workforce Development System.

Working with our V.P. of Workforce Innovation, Beth Brinly, and about 110 Rapid Responders from Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia, I was able – for the first time really – to think through the future of this critical program as it might function in a post-WIOA world.

Fortunately, in many areas, Rapid Response is not as overwhelmed as it once was with large scale dislocations. During the Great Recession and for years in its wake, Rapid Responders were very busy responding to events – meeting with businesses… Read more →

Change Management Effort Underway at the Illinois Office of Employment and Training

Last week, my colleague Lynn Bajorek and I were in Springfield, Illinois, to facilitate a strategic planning session with the leadership team of the Office of Employment and Training (OET) at the Illinois Department of Commerce.

Over the last several months we’ve been working with OET on an internal change management effort which looks both internally to better understand its assets, challenges and opportunities and externally to understand how OET can leverage and partner better within its entire workforce development system. The end result will be a "Blueprint" that fully aligns OET’s assets and resources with a clearly articulated vision, mission, and set of goals.

The OET strategic planning meeting was held in the historic Vachel Lindsay Home in Springfield. 

Last week,… Read more →

Change Leadership MOOC Premieres Today!

Today we are launching “Leading Change While Implementing Innovation” – ETA’s First Massive Open Online Classroom (MOOC) offering! I’m so pleased to be able to work with a selected group of ETA grantees as the instructor and look forward to some great learning over the five-week course.

The MOOC format – a 100% online learning format where content is available to learners 24x7, whenever schedules allow – uses a new learning format called a “flipped classroom.” This format has participants learn as much from interacting with each other as they do from the instructor. Each week will begin with a short lecture and will then continue through self-assessments, online discussions with peers and an occasional article, video or self-check quiz.

In this MOOC format (actually it's a SPOC – “Small Private Online Classroom” for this… Read more →

National Return Peace Corps Volunteer Career Fair

2016 marks the largest employer turnout for the East Coast National Return Peace Corps Volunteer Career Fair with 500 participants!  Maher attended this event on April 7th in interest and support in hiring RPCVs.  Matt Musante and Sara Melton attended this event and spoke with many RPCVs on Maher practices and opportunities where Peace Corps experience can be utilized to its fullest.

Maher recognizes the benefits in recruiting talented RPCVs offering high skills, diversity, and adaptability.  Maher currently has two RPCV team members, Jonathan Payne and Sara Melton.  Jonathan served in Panama as an Agri-Business Coordinator where he provided high-level technical assistance on agri-business principals at the national and local level.  Sara served in Cape Verde as an Environmental and Small Enterprise Developer working with the Ministry of Agriculture and municipal government.

We thank Peace Corps for the opportunity to meet with… Read more →

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