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Category Technical Assistance (TA) Strategies

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 →

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 →

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 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 →

Workforce that Works! Maher & Maher Attends the 2015 PA Workforce Board Development Symposium

As part of the “Workforce That Works!” Pennsylvania Workforce Board Development Symposium on December 8th, Maher & Maher provided focused discussions on methods to ensure that the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (W.I.O.A.) is centered around the needs of jobseeker and employer customers. 

Christy Montgomery from the Maher & Maher team provided a plenary session on the role Customer Centered Design can play across workforce services to ensure that we are meeting client needs and creating positive outcomes.  This session was in conjunction with a presentation by Leo Miller, Regional Administrator of ETA’s Region 2 Philadelphia office, who encouraged the local boards in Pennsylvania to strive to be innovative as they embark on the changes of W.I.O.A.  Following Leo’s charge for innovative change, Christy covered key components of customer centered… 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 →