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Category Sector Strategies & Economic Data Analysis

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 →

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 →

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 →

Maher & Maher Team Supports South Carolina’s Sector Strategies Regional Planning Institute

Last week, seven members of the Maher team spent two full days at Midlands Technical College in West Columbia, South Carolina to support South Carolina’s Sector Strategies Regional Planning Institute.  The Institute was one important part of the state’s larger Talent Pipeline Project, an effort convened by our client, the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW), and jointly supported by DEW’s partners, the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the South Carolina Technical College System, and the South Carolina State Department of Education. 

We have been partnering with South Carolina state leaders to support and facilitate the development and implementation of regional workforce planning and sector strategies since the spring of 2015.  Leading up to the March Institute, we provided in-depth data analysis assistance to help the state identify statewide target industry sectors; assisted in the formation of… Read more →

Maher Team Supports Statewide WIOA Regional Planning Conference in Illinois

This past week I was in Springfield, Illinois (the boyhood home of Abraham Lincoln) to help our client, the Illinois Department of Commerce and its core partners at the Illinois Community College Board, the Illinois Department of Employment Security, and the Illinois Department of Human Services host a statewide conference focused on the formation of WIOA regional plans and the deployment of Sector Strategies.

Teams from each of the state’s 10 economic regions were paired with a dedicated Maher facilitator and came together to author (or advance) regional plans that will guide the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) across the state and across partner programs and agencies.

It is so exciting to participate in events such as this one. Our process for helping states work regionally is integrated with our “World-Class Sector Strategies” approach. We used it originally… Read more →

Maher & Maher Supports White House Event to Celebrate Innovative Change

On February 16th, the Maher & Maher team headed back to the White House to celebrate local partnerships that have embraced the Customer-Centered Design (CCD) Challenge. Eleven teams from across the country were selected to attend the White House Learning Exchange & Celebration, chosen for their extraordinary commitment to improving the customer experience. With the support of a Maher & Maher CCD coach, each team completed rigorous training in customer-centered design and implemented projects with job seekers and employers at the center of innovation within their systems.

The initiative kicked off in July, 2015 when over 600 practitioners attended a webinar to learn about customer-centered design and learn about the CCD challenge. This webinar was hosted by ETA’s Innovation and Opportunity Network (ION) and supported by Maher & Maher.  Following the webinar, participants formed over 80 teams of 4- 10 people who had the capacity – and the… Read more →

NASWA Winter Policy Forum Explores WIOA: Change Is Hard. We Can Help.

Last week in Washington, D.C., we joined about 150 senior leaders from workforce development at the National Association of State Workforce Agencies’ (NASWA) 2016 Winter Policy Forum.

As you might imagine, this year’s event was chock full of updates and insights about the System’s looming implementation of the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and several panels provided robust dialogue about how folks are tackling the challenge (and opportunity) of the new law.

Personal favorites for me included panels on day one that assembled leaders from professional associations representing all our key partners – from Vocational Rehabilitation, Vets and Human Services, and another that featured Congressional staffers focused on the original drafts of WIOA and on progress toward its successful implementation.

But, the Conference’s most dynamic session was its last – a lively round-table discussion that… 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 →

Getting a Head-start on WIOA: Missouri’s Statewide Launch Meeting for Sector Strategies

Our recent statewide launch event with leaders in the State of Missouri was a great kick-off to our deployment of sector strategies in the state, and an excellent jump-start for the upcoming implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

Tucked away on the banks of the Lake of the Ozarks, about 130 professionals from the state’s workforce system and their partners from education, economic development, and workforce worked over two days to plan for advancing sector-based work in the ten economic regions of the state.

“I am always amazed to see folks from different silos come together around a common goal and witness them break down traditional walls in favor of creating new opportunities for the common customers we all have,” said Richard D. Maher, President & CEO of Maher & Maher. “With thinner budgets every year, our work… Read more →

Speaking with One Voice: Using Consensus-Based Decision Making to Identify Target Industries

In an earlier article this month, we defined Sector Strategies and noted that they are “industry specific.” Though we did not go into the importance of this at the time, deciding on the industries that a region should focus on is a critical and foundational requirement to developing Sector Strategies. This is no easy task, as all stakeholders in this process have to be in agreement and willing to invest time and resources to further these industries. Here’s what it looks like when everyone is in agreement:

Employers in these industries are participating in conversations – ideally, within a structured Industry Partnership -- about their workforce and training needs. The local Workforce Investment Board is funding training and allocating resources targeted at occupations in these industries. The workforce system, educators, and employers are creating career pathways to build and sustain a talent pipeline for… Read more →