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Category Professional Development & Capacity Building

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 →

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 →

Reemployment Connections: New “Virtual Institute” Model Drives Innovation in Technical Assistance

We recently completed an online “virtual institute” for the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Unemployment Insurance (OUI) that brought teams from six states together with leaders from Washington to consider innovative approaches to reemployment services for the Nation’s unemployed.

The “Reemployment Connections Virtual Institute” saw states form cross-functional teams that followed a scripted process over an intensive, six-week timeline. State teams were brought together in an online institute – using virtual meetings, training sessions, in-person state-level meetings and scheduled topical chats with subject matter experts to drive the process. State team facilitators worked in concert with a national facilitator to keep teams on track, and a dedicated web community was used for sharing best practices by and between states.

The outcomes from the Institute were state plans to re-connect UI claimants to re-employment services using… Read more →

Learning Just Got Smarter, and that Changes Everything.

Well, I am now officially a Courserian. I began my trek toward learning on Coursera (a leading MOOC) yesterday.

My course is titled, “Leadership through Emotional Intelligence.” The 6-week journey will be lead by Richard Boyatzis, Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Organizational Behavior, Case Western Reserve University. His introductory lecture (video) demonstrates his passion for the material and gives me the impression that this could be fun and engaging. 

So, like a good student, I set out on my adventure … watching the requisite video lecture, reading my journal article as assigned and even the next lecture (off YouTube), and then entered the discussion thread to begin my assigned post.

There I found dozens of “earlier birds” that had beaten me to the threads – chattering away on their leadership experiences – good and bad, and… Read more →

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