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Category Strategic Visioning, Messaging, & Branding

‘High Impact’ Workshop Draws SRO Crowd at NAWB!

An overflow audience explored the characteristics of “high impact” boards at the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) 2017 conference recently. The NAWB Conference is the nation’s largest gathering of workforce development professionals every year, and this year’s estimated 1500-1600 attendees kept the show’s reputation well secured.

“High Impact Workforce Boards have certain characteristics in our experience,” said Richard D. (“Rick”) Maher, President and CEO. “In this workshop, Beth Brinly (Maher’s V.P. of Workforce Innovation) and I defined how high impact boards operate and helped folks self-assess how they compare with this benchmark. We had an energized, standing-room only (SRO) audience and a really important conversation. It was great fun!”

Maher’s work with High Impact Boards stems from our work in states and regions across the country… Read more →

WIOA National Convening Brings Workforce Partners Together

Workforce leaders from around the U.S. and from all Federal Partners convened on the Washington, D.C. Hilton January 26th -28th for a two-and-a-half-day conference focused on efforts to implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and the Maher & Maher team played a critical support role in the session’s success. Branded "One Team, One Vision, One Conversation," ETA joined with the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) to lead a rigorous discussion of the challenges and opportunities partner Agencies, state and locals face in bringing WIOA to life. As the technical assistance contractor to the ETA, Maher & Maher staff helped in formulating the agenda, identifying speakers and workshop facilitators and in supporting on-site logistics for the nearly 800 attendees.

“It wasn’t easy to make this happen seamlessly on the heels of a 2’ snowstorm over the weekend,… 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 →

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 →

Maher & Maher Goes to the White House!

Washington, D.C.: The Maher Team recently visited the White House in support of our clients at ApprenticeshipUSA.

The recent White House Summit on ApprenticeshipUSA was a capstone event following this Summer’s launch of the Sectors of Excellence in Apprenticeship (SEA) initiative. Part of President Obama’s call to double the number of the Nation’s apprentices by 2020, SEA brought together leaders from six key industry sectors – Construction, Information Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, Energy, Healthcare and Logistics/Transportation – in regional meetings around the U.S. These SEA events saw industry leaders and leaders from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship come together, brainstorm actions and make commitments to advance the application of apprenticeship in meeting the Nation’s talent needs today and tomorrow.

“The SEA events were great,” said Amy Young, Maher… Read more →

What it looks like when done well: Sector Strategies at the Service Delivery Level

In many parts of the country, local Boards and their partners have integrated an industry sector focus as a key driver of their partnership development work, their strategic planning and policy efforts, and their structure for business service delivery. Integrating a sector focus as a key driver of service delivery for job seekers and workers, however, is less common. Applying sector strategies to career center service planning and delivery for these customers transforms the service experience and has been shown to improve outcomes for job seekers, workers, and business alike. Absent this focus, services for job seekers and workers may not be tied to career opportunities and career pathways in target industry sectors.

What would a sector-focused service delivery experience look and “feel” like to a job seeker or worker customer? When done right, career center organization, partnerships, customer flow, and service planning and delivery… Read more →

Welcome to WIOA: Easy Intro to Sector Strategies, Sector Partnerships, and Career Pathways

In today’s economy, making sure that the skills of the available workforce meet the needs of local industry is crucial. By developing career pathways for workers that are aligned with the needs of industry, people can become and remain employed, industry grows, and the overall regional and national economies benefit.

That’s where Sector Planning comes in, and it all starts with focused, active partnerships between businesses and those engaged in workforce development. These “Sector Partnerships” are defined as:

“Focused, active partnerships among businesses in a target industry sector and workforce development organizations, educators, training providers, labor unions, community organizations, and other key stakeholders”

Working together, these collaborations identify industry needs for workers with specific skills, education, and credentials, and then make sure that educational and training opportunities are available to help people… 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 →

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 →