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Maher & Maher Goes to SETA 2015 in Savannah

Savannah, GA.: The Maher Team had a busy week at SETA’s 2015 Conference in Savannah, Georgia in late September. A group of our consulting staff from our Federal Workforce Solutions Practice delivered a series of professional development workshops intended to help folks improve System performance and better prepare for the looming implementation of the Nation’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

Led by Rick Maher, the Firm’s President and CEO, members of the Maher Team descended on Savannah with a purpose – to help engage attendees in a positive and engaging discussion of the new Act and how to best prepare for System change.

“I was proud of our Team. They were everywhere – running workshops, staging video shoots for training products and attending sessions themselves,” said Maher. “When we stop learning ourselves, we cannot be as… Read more →

Maher & Maher Goes to the White House!

Washington, D.C.: The Maher Team recently visited the White House in support of our clients at ApprenticeshipUSA.

The recent White House Summit on ApprenticeshipUSA was a capstone event following this Summer’s launch of the Sectors of Excellence in Apprenticeship (SEA) initiative. Part of President Obama’s call to double the number of the Nation’s apprentices by 2020, SEA brought together leaders from six key industry sectors – Construction, Information Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, Energy, Healthcare and Logistics/Transportation – in regional meetings around the U.S. These SEA events saw industry leaders and leaders from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship come together, brainstorm actions and make commitments to advance the application of apprenticeship in meeting the Nation’s talent needs today and tomorrow.

“The SEA events were great,” said Amy Young, Maher… Read more →

What it looks like when done well: Sector Strategies at the Service Delivery Level

In many parts of the country, local Boards and their partners have integrated an industry sector focus as a key driver of their partnership development work, their strategic planning and policy efforts, and their structure for business service delivery. Integrating a sector focus as a key driver of service delivery for job seekers and workers, however, is less common. Applying sector strategies to career center service planning and delivery for these customers transforms the service experience and has been shown to improve outcomes for job seekers, workers, and business alike. Absent this focus, services for job seekers and workers may not be tied to career opportunities and career pathways in target industry sectors.

What would a sector-focused service delivery experience look and “feel” like to a job seeker or worker customer? When done right, career center organization, partnerships, customer flow, and service planning and delivery… Read more →

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

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 →

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 →

Customers on the Move: Maher Client named a “Top 20” Leader in Atlanta!

We love it when our clients get recognized for leadership and innovation – particularly when they are committed to the type of transformational change we’re advocating in the Nation’s workforce development system.

Our report to the City of Atlanta was a critical look at the City’s workforce agency coupled with a hard-hitting set of recommendations designed to transform its performance. The Atlanta Workforce Development Agency( AWDA) needed to re-invent itself as part of a collaborative – working with area economic development, education and five regional workforce boards – to begin to create a talent supply chain to drive the City’s economic prosperity and build family-sustaining career opportunities for its citizens.

 

Enter Michael Sterling. Appointed by Mayor Kasim Reed to lead the Agency’s revival, Mike was a staunch supporter of the vision for… Read more →

Labor Day Inspiration … Atlanta style.

I had the privilege to attend a really great event with our client – Invest Atlanta – a week ago last Friday. It reminded me anew, why I do what I do. From time to time, I think we all need such a reminder – amidst the distractions and challenges we all face in life and at work day to day.

The event brought Labor Secretary Tom Perez to Atlanta as part of his “Labor Day” cross-country tour, but also served as the platform for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to publicly announce his endorsement of a set of recommendations our team (working with a broad group of Atlanta’s community and business leaders) developed to re-invent the city’s workforce development system. That System has been criticized in an internal audit as ineffective, ridiculed in the press and is the subject of an… Read more →

Finding the Future: South Suburban Community College Community-Centered Strategic Planning

We recently completed another strategic planning engagement for a college in Illinois, and I was moved by the engagement, interest and passion this group brought to the task of finding a better future for their institution and the community it serves.

South Suburban Community College brought about 100 leaders together from this region just south of Chicago for an intensive, 2-day event designed to drive innovation and planning to guide the institution’s next five years. Using our Community-Centered Strategic Planning Process, stakeholders from the community representing K-12, the university system, economic and workforce development and employers joined those internal to the college (including students) in the effort.

This process is intense, it is time-consuming and it isn’t for everybody. It just works.

We use the essence of the “Re-Claiming the American Dream” report from the American Association of… Read more →