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Category Regionalism: Communities in Transition

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 →

WIOA Readiness: Kicking Off Illinois’ Regional Planning Initiative

Maher & Maher was recently in Illinois for Regional Meetings in Effingham, Bloomington, and Chicago to kick off the development of the regional planning initiative in each of the state’s 10 regions. More than 300 leaders from workforce, economic development, education, and other areas from across the state met in Regional Teams over the course of 3 days.

With the help of a team of Maher & Maher facilitators, each region prioritized its regional target industry clusters, debriefed the results of a self-assessment, completed a SWOT analysis, and developed priorities for the creation of a sector strategy for one target industry cluster. Going forward, facilitators will be providing support for each region’s ongoing collaborative planning work.

Maher & Maher is excited to have the opportunity to partner with the State of Illinois and leaders from each region as they work to enhance alignment among… Read more →

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 →

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 →

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 →

Community Colleges as Engines of Regional Prosperity?

Recently I had the privilege of working with a group of leaders from Kankakee Community College (KCC) and the surrounding region, in a planning retreat designed to drive the College’s next four-year strategic plan.  It was rewarding to see a group so engaged and focused – so aligned on the need to make an impact – not just for students, but also for the regional economy.

Kankakee is about an hour southwest of Chicago. In the next few years, the community is projected to see a significant shift in the region’s demographics that has major implications for the education and workforce systems.  Further complicating matters, the community has also witnessed the decline of its historical manufacturing industry – leading to high unemployment (third highest rate in Illinois) and a workforce with low post-secondary attainment rates. Kankakee's place in a new,… Read more →

A New Look for a “New Normal”

Welcome to our new website and new brand! We think this fresh new look helps us focus attention on the distinct challenges of today’s “new normal,” and the critical talent development needs of our world, our nation, our organizations, and even our communities.

Since 1987, we have been focused on one thing – talent. And today, like never before, the development of world-class talent is the key differentiator in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. In many ways, we believe that talent is the new “global currency.”

So, we make it our passion to help our clients with their most important talent investment decisions, whether we are:

Helping leaders in Kentucky define their regional economies, their most promising growth sectors, and the skills gaps they’ll need to address to compete and win globally; or, Helping the Department of… Read more →