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Category State & Regional Workforce Solutions

Sector Strategies Institute Sets New Vision for Florida’s Talent Supply Chain: CareerSource Florida

Florida’s workforce development system, and their partners, are on a course to accelerate the adoption of sectors-based approaches to talent management around the State, and our recent Sectors Strategy Institute was a solid start on their journey.

The two-day Institute, held in Orlando, brought together over 100 leaders from Florida’s twenty-four workforce development areas who attended with partners from education and economic development to learn more about sector strategies. The Institute began with a discussion of the vision Florida leaders embrace for a future workforce system and continued with several panel discussions. Leaders then worked through a series of learning activities and team-based planning exercises to help them better understand priorities and appropriate next steps.

“We have developed and deployed a model for doing these Institutes in states around the country,” said Carrie Yeats, Director of Maher’s State… Read more →

Apprenticeship Works: US DOL Announces $50 Million Investment in State Apprenticeship Strategies

More and more businesses, workforce development organizations, and educational institutions across the country are turning to apprenticeship as a proven model for work-based learning. This customized and flexible workforce solution trains workers to the exact skill needs of business – and provides wages during training so that workers can “earn while they learn.”

The U.S. Department of Labor (US DOL) is making a historic investment in apprenticeship. After announcing Accelerator Grants to 52 states and territories in early June, US DOL just recently announced a new $50 million ApprenticeshipUSA State Expansion grant competition.

Maher & Maher has partnered with US DOL to launch a number of successful apprenticeship initiatives over the last decade in order to accelerate understanding and adoption of apprenticeship, such as:

A Quick-Start Toolkit providing a step-by-step guide for businesses to build apprenticeship programs   A comprehensive… Read more →

Are you BOLD enough to “Fail-Fast?” Customer Centered Design Holds a Key to WIOA Success

Three work sessions at the recent National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP) Conference in Orlando invited participants to innovate their way to improved service delivery integration, and to “fail fast” in the pursuit of better outcomes for both job seeker and employer customers. We were really energized by the enthusiasm of people from across the country as we explored ETA’s Customer Centered Design (CCD) initiative.

Customer Centered Design (CCD) is a way of exploring service delivery excellence using “design thinking” as the engine for innovation, and the Employment and Training Administration has been championing its acceptance across the Nation’s Workforce Development System aggressively. ETA’s Customer Centered Design Challenge, which we have supported as TA providers and coaches for the initiative, has seen 200 teams since last summer from across the U.S. form to re-imagine… Read more →

Oklahoma Strategic Board Training: Statewide Conference Boosts WIOA Implementation Success

I recently had the honor of working with close to 100 local workforce development board members from across the state of Oklahoma, and was so impressed with their positive energy and intentions!. State officials worked in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) Dallas Regional Office to promote and sponsor the event. This highly collaborative event convened at Oklahoma State University brought together board members, including board chairs, business members and board staff and a robust representation of Local Elected Officials (LEOs),to explore the many important elements of the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and to train board members in their critical roles – among them to think and act more strategically in the years ahead.

We covered the essential elements of the new legislation, gave folks an overview of how the law would change the way they do business, and… Read more →

The Future of Rapid Response: Maher Presents a new Future Orientation at ETA Region 2 Summit

Last week’s “Responding Rapidly” Summit in Harrisburg, PA gave us the opportunity to think through the future of Rapid Response with a high-energy group of professionals throughout ETA’s Region 2 states – and it was a conversation that may need to happen across the Nation’s Workforce Development System.

Working with our V.P. of Workforce Innovation, Beth Brinly, and about 110 Rapid Responders from Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia, I was able – for the first time really – to think through the future of this critical program as it might function in a post-WIOA world.

Fortunately, in many areas, Rapid Response is not as overwhelmed as it once was with large scale dislocations. During the Great Recession and for years in its wake, Rapid Responders were very busy responding to events – meeting with businesses… 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 & Maher and USDOL/ETA’s Dallas Regional Office Provide Arkansas Training

On March 8-9, 2016 Maher & Maher, in conjunction with USDOL/ETA's Dallas Regional Office, provided in-person training for Arkansas State and local workforce system staff on effective fiscal and programmatic monitoring.  In addition to the core curriculum, the training also included tailored components for State staff and Local Area Directors.  Trainers included Lynn Bajorek, John Riggs and Jennifer Pirtle from Maher & Maher.

Learning objectives for the training included:

Increased understanding of the requirements and benefits of monitoring, the various monitoring roles and responsibilities at the Federal, State and Local levels and the key monitoring activities required to drive compliance and effectiveness. Improved State and Local staff capacity to plan and perform monitoring activities. Expanded awareness and understanding of common monitoring issues/findings including causes and potential resolutions.

The format for the training was highly interactive and included small and full group… Read more →

Rick Maher Presents a Workshop at SETA

Today at SETA's Southeastern Employment and Training Conference, Rick Maher, Paulette Francois and Beth Brinly collaborated to bring a packed audience an interactive and hands-on workshop to drive improved integration of service delivery in One Stops. The session combined lecture with team-based activities that allowed participants to brainstorm and prototype possible solutions to service delivery challenges.

"We wanted people to experience how Customer Centered Design (CCD) could be used to engage core partner staff in customer-focused improvements in how we deliver services in American Job Centers," said Maher. "We gave them the basics of the CCD process, modeled what it looks like when done well, and then had folks dive in themselves. It turned out really well as groups expressed being energized by the experience. The goal was to give them a form of a roadmap to use when they leave here, and I think we… 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 →