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Category Professional Development & Capacity Building

America’s Skills Gap Grows! Costs businesses nearly $1M/year according to survey.

We are bombarded by information about America’s “skills gap.” Every day, news stories report the now infamous 6 million unfilled jobs in the country. At the same time, those of us engaged with the nation’s workforce development system struggle to help under-skilled job seekers work toward economic security and meaningful career paths.

Employers struggle too; they’re reassessing their entry level skill and educational requirements and their pay rates. They’re hoping to find a solution to vacancies that put stress on managers and cause existing staff to do “double-duty” to get the work done.

But production is not the only cost of the ongoing American Skills Gap, according to a recent survey by CareerBuilder. Their April, 2017 survey of over 2,300 employers and 3,400 workers tells a story of higher employee turnover, reduced staff morale, lower quality work… Read more →

American Job Center Customer Flow Scenarios

Maher & Maher works hand-in-hand with our federal partners to implement strategic technical assistance strategies and innovative training solutions. One recent example – the American Job Center (AJC) Customer Flow Scenarios was produced under its Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Technical Assistance support contract with the Employment and Training Administration (ETA). Many states and local areas have expressed a need for tools that help AJCs coordinate staff and partners to work collaboratively across programs. This booklet features five illustrated stories (in graphic novel format) that represent scenarios of customer experiences and the guidance an AJC staff member might provide.

 

Sam has an undisclosed disability and needs guidance on reasonable accommodations and other rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act while returning to the labor force. Charles is an employer seeking guidance to hire and accommodate workers with disabilities and is seeking resources… Read more →

WBL Quick Reference Desk Guide Available

We are excited to offer access to ETA’s Desk Reference Guide to Work-Based Learning (WBL) for workforce professionals. The short desktop aid offers quick access to information on the various types of WBL available for use by workforce system pros. The Maher Team produced the tool under its WIOA Technical Assistance support contract with the Employment and Training Administration (ETA).

From Registered Apprenticeship to OJT and more, the Guide provides a short tutorial on the various forms of WBL and how they could be properly administered for the benefit of system customers.  

“Today’s challenging labor market, characterized by over 6 million un-filled, middle-skilled job openings, requires innovative solutions,” said Richard (“Rick”) D. Maher, the Firm’s Presdient & CEO. “Work-based learning – in all its forms – is a powerful tool for both our System… Read more →

My Reemployment Plan: A Customer-Focused Guide to Reemployment Strategies for Today’s Labor Market

Our national economy is recovering at a steady pace from the so-called Great Recession that ended in 2009. The recession was the most severe, and one of the longest-persisting economic downturns, since the Great Depression. Employment fell by 6.3 percent during that period, and although the economy has added an average of 191,000 jobs per month since then, many workers are still not as secure or well off as they were before the recession hit.

A study conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute notes: “Technology and globalization have created a more dynamic and fast-paced business environment, but the way economies connect most individuals with work has been slow to respond. A significant proportion of workers feel overqualified or disengaged in their current roles…  [That leaves] millions of people coping with unemployment, underemployment, stagnant wages, and discouragement.”

Back in 2015, and in response to these… Read more →

A Fresh Look at our Processes

Maher is a firm that has always valued process; it’s one of our key strengths. At the same time, our clients expect us to be flexible and responsive to changes in work flow and their business priorities. Our Private Sector team came together in April to work on bringing the best of our agile workflows into consistent practice while maintaining client-specific flexibility in our process.

We met at our corporate offices in New Jersey to reflect on the growth and expansion of our Practice and the firm as a whole. We’re proud of how we’ve launched innovative learning solutions for our clients and for our peers’ public-sector clients, cross-pollenating new methods of learning born out of private sector initiatives.

It was also a chance for us to review and evaluate the way we serve clients. We wanted to… Read more →

Maher Attends LTEN Conference in Nashville

On Monday, June 5th, I started day one of the 46th Annual LTEN Conference in Nashville, Tennessee at the Gaylord Opryland.  LTEN is the Life Sciences Trainers and Educators Network, previously known as the Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers (SPBT) and prior to that, for us older alumni, the National Society of Pharmaceutical Sales Trainers (NSPST). 

I’ve attended this conference almost every year for nearly 20 years.  After all, my foray into Learning and Development after graduate school was in this market, working on product training for market leading brands like Pfizer’s Lipitor® (atorvastatin calcium).  

The LTEN conference offers a unique inside view of the Life Sciences industry and how the Learning and Development functions within these organizations are challenged to drive efficiencies, compliance, and performance improvements to ultimately result in better business outcomes, whether that… 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 →

Announcing the ApprenticeshipUSA Toolkit

Maher & Maher is pleased to announce the ApprenticeshipUSA Toolkit, which we have designed for the Department of Labor to benefit workforce agencies and their partners throughout the country. This toolkit provides resources to help the public workforce system use apprenticeship as a talent development strategy. It is an action-oriented solution that uses customized technical assistance to meet the challenges of public workforce systems.

The Toolkit has been designed to help workforce development professionals at every level of the workforce system. For example, the toolkit includes:

Web-based training as an introduction to apprenticeship training within the workforce system Roadmaps for exploring apprenticeship, building partnerships, and launching apprenticeship strategies Videos for those designing strategy to highlight best practices Tutorials and resources to jump start an apprenticeship strategy Desk aids for those serving  customers A guide for Business Service Representatives to expand work-based training options for businesses… Read more →

Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Are work simplification and continuous improvement on your organization’s radar?  They should be. 

According to the 2015 Human Capital Trends Report produced by Deloitte University Press, “Organizations are simplifying work in response to employees becoming overwhelmed by increasing organizational complexity, growing information overload, and a stressful 24/7 work environment.”  Deloitte goes on to note that, “More than 7 out of 10 surveyed organizations rated the need to simplify work as an “important problem,” with more than 25 percent citing it as “very important.”[1]

Organizations are striving to perform, innovate, and compete, all while providing work-life balance for employees. Add to that advances in technology, a globalized economy, and compliance needs, and we realize a vast complexity in our world of work. Left unaddressed, the challenges of a  highly demanding environment result in a workforce that is disengaged,… 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 →