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Category Technical Assistance (TA) Strategies

Maher at the White House for 2nd Learning Exchange & Celebration

On September 19th, Maher & Maher joined leaders from the White House, the Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and fifteen Customer Centered Design (CCD) Challenge teams from across the country at a special White House event to celebrate innovative local partnerships that embrace design thinking and put customer needs at the center of service delivery, processes and customer flow. The teams from California, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin highlighted key insights they learned through their immersive research, and the programmatic transformations they’ve made for business customers and target populations including, out-of-school youth, formerly incarcerated jobseekers, English-Language Learners (ELL), and individuals with disabilities. White House and ETA leaders engaged in a robust dialogue with the teams and praised the teams for their commitment to the innovative approach to improve service delivery.

On the heels of 80+ participating teams in Round 1, Maher provided… Read more →

State Leadership and Support: Living the Dream

Harriet Tubman once said, “Every great dream begins with the dreamer.  Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” 

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act provides state leaders and the workforce system at each level the opportunity to dream big dreams and work with their partners to make their dreams a reality. As a result, the role that state leadership plays and the supports it offers during this transitional timeframe is critical.

The infrastructure to support that dream is the WIOA Unified or Combined State Plans.  However, in our work with several states, it has become clear that those plans are more compliance focused and not necessarily reflective of states’ true strategic vision and how to operationalize that vision.  Now is the time to… Read more →

New ION Talks Focus on Leading Workforce System Change!

John P. Kotter was so right when he said “Tradition is a very powerful force.” We have a lot invested in our traditions and this is especially true for the workforce system. Changing the way things have always been done is hard. Yet, with the transformative nature of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), change at every level is well underway – for state agencies, workforce board, regional partnerships, one-stop centers, and others. 

To help expand capacity for the changes called for under WIOA, the Employment and Training Administration looked to Maher & Maher for a series of ION Talks (Innovation and Opportunity Network) and accompanying discussion guides. The 3-part video series is designed to develop and equip leaders of change with a greater understanding of how they deal with change, and how to initiate and manage change.

These short and… Read more →

WIOA Regional Plans: The End of the Beginning

In our work with regional teams in a number of states over the last decade, we have learned a great deal about what enables regional partners’ success, what can hinder it, and how regional partners can create meaningful, sustained engagement and ensure real results.  We’ll be sharing our thoughts and observations with you in blog posts over the upcoming months, and invite you to weigh in with input on your own experiences with successes and pitfalls in regional planning!

Over the last year, partners in regions across the country have been working to draft and finalize their WIOA regional plans.  In some cases, regional partners have a history of working together and planning jointly across workforce area (and other) boundaries; in others, working together in multi-partner and multi-jurisdictional teams has been a very new enterprise.  In either case, regions have had… Read more →

ETA Awards Maher 5-Year, $20M BPA: Opening the Door to Continued & New Consulting & TA Opportunities

Maher & Maher is pleased to announce a new 5-year, $20M blanket purchase agreement (BPA) award from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA) to provide the agency with consulting and management services in support of its new online communication and learning platform – WorkforceGPS.org. The BPA also opens tremendous opportunity for any office within ETA to engage Maher’s services in a broad array of technical assistance initiatives, including everything from developing and delivering online blended learning and e-learning training opportunities, to identifying and promoting innovative best practices, and creating online content-like blog posts, discussion threads, newsletters, and the like.

The BPA is advantageous for federal staff because it allows access to Maher services directly – without the need for competitive proposals. This will save ETA staff time and money by expediting the procurement process and tapping needed technical assistance… Read more →

Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities

The Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (ACICIEID) is a big title and for good reason! The Committee’s 18 representatives who were appointed by the Secretary of Labor and its 7 federal officials have had an important job to do in examining and recommending ways to increase employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual, developmental and other significant disabilities. Maher & Maher has been with the Committee every step of the way, providing significant support in meeting planning and development, including arranging for necessary technological and physical accommodations for Committee members to ensure everyone is able to fully participate in the many meetings and efforts undertaken by the group.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) set in law the Committee’s charge: within one year of the committee's establishment, an interim report with recommendations is to be created and within… Read more →

Business Roundtables Inform RSA

There is no better way to get to know the human capital priorities and needs of businesses than to talk directly with business leaders themselves! And, that is just what the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) did. Commissioner Janet La Breck enlisted Maher & Maher and our partner, New Editions Inc., to identify high demand and rapidly changing industries and to reach out to key leaders for their involvement in a series of highly successful Business Roundtables. This effort was driven by the 2014 enactment of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) which established a new expectation for RSA and State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies (VR) in working more closely and effectively with the business community. Ultimately, the Commissioner’s goal for the Business Roundtables was to garner business input for the purpose of informing the technical assistance (TA) RSA delivers to VR, as the… 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 →

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 →

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 →