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Category Workforce & Talent Development

From Strategy to Service Delivery: Operationalizing Industry Sector and Career Pathway Priorities

For the last 10 years, the Maher & Maher team has had the pleasure of working with a wide variety of state and regional clients to support planning and other activities focused on aligning partners around shared strategies to better understand and meet the workforce needs of key industry sectors in their areas.  The passage of WIOA in 2014 has brought increased intensity to this work, given the priority WIOA places upon the development of industry sector-driven partnerships and strategies and the importance of aligning supply-side efforts to demand-side needs through the integration of well-articulated career pathways.  It’s a significant achievement that workforce systems across the country have or are completing their initial strategic plans under WIOA.  For us, the key question now becomes: How can workforce systems operationalize their industry sector and career pathways strategies in service delivery for job seeker, worker, and business customers… Read more →

Maher & Maher - Strong at SETA

Content-rich and timely topics drew standing room only crowds to Maher & Maher’s four engaging workshops at SETA (Southeastern Employment & Training Association) 2016 Fall Conference in Biloxi, with record attendance of over 650.

Beth Brinly, Maher’s Vice President for Workforce Innovation, wowed attendees with her three workshops.  Her first session was Procurement of Youth Services Under WIOA, which offered an opportunity to review key WIOA Youth Final Rules.  Participants engaged in a spirited discussion exploring the pros and cons of Pay for Performance contracting.  The conversation then shifted to the elements needed in Request for Proposals and an examination of rating elements of proposals.  Some of the feedback included: “Great information and presenter!  Enjoyed group interactions and RFP tips.” and “Beth was very knowledgeable and passionate about this subject!”

The second interactive workshop,… Read more →

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 →

Who Convenes Industry Sector Partnerships?

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) lays the groundwork for smart regional planning: aligning education and training strategies and services with the talent needs of businesses within a given labor market. As many workforce leaders can attest, this kind of regional planning, and the forming of industry sector partnerships is difficult to pull off. It requires developing a shared vision and consensus among not only workforce areas, economic development organizations and post-secondary institutions, but now, a number of other public programs including vocational rehabilitation, adult education and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. These regional groups must ultimately align services and programs and work with business customers as one voice.

There is no question that all effective regional partnerships have, at their heart, a strong convening organization, or intermediary. Intermediaries, or “conveners” as they are often called, are the backbone organization for… Read more →

The Case for Regionalism

The successful implementation of sector strategies and other key transformational elements in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) occurs at the regional level. But, without a universally accepted definition of a functional economic region, some states have chosen to designate their local workforce areas as “regions;” a move that can overlook the tremendous value of true economic regions in their state. As states seek to designate economic regions, we encourage them to consider two key factors that are generally included in most definitions that can help their guide decisions: 1) The region represents a cohesive network of trade in goods, services and labor, and 2) Data is the common element in identifying such regions.

Maher’s extensive experience working with states and regions strongly indicates that regional approaches built around identifying and operating in economic regions lend themselves to more successful sector strategies. There are… 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 →

Maher Wins Sector Strategy Engagement in Arkansas!

We are pleased to announce that we have been selected by the state of Arkansas to support their deployment of sector strategies statewide – adding another state to a growing list of clients working to transform their workforce development system.

Sector strategies are regional, industry-focused approaches to building skilled workforces and are among the most effective ways to aligning public and private resources to address the talent needs of business – while providing family-sustaining career paths for job-seekers. Sectors-based workforce development strategies are promoted actively by federal policy and are a key element in the Nation’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which was passed by Congress in 2014.

“Sectors for us is not just another program,” said Beth Brinly, Vice-President, Workforce Innovation at Maher. “Rather, it's a culture-shift in the way we view the business of workforce development. By… 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 →

Peer Learning Groups Drive Sector Strategies Success

Maher & Maher, together with our partners at Jobs for the Future (JFF), the National Governor’s Association Center for Workforce Excellence and the National Network for Sector Partners, continues to be the prime contract support for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA).

Now in our third year of partnership with ETA, we continue to drive innovative approaches to technical assistance – providing effective and efficient opportunities for workforce practitioners to access capacity building tools to help accelerate the System’s adoption of sector-based approaches to workforce development.

One such innovation is the Sector Strategies Peer-Learning Groups (PLGs). Each PLG offers a topic-specific space for workforce leaders interested in developing industry sector partnerships.  PLGs involve individuals working together in groups to overcome specific challenges and adapt national promising practices. Led by a trained facilitator and… 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 →