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WIOA Readiness: Kicking Off Illinois’ Regional Planning Initiative

Maher & Maher was recently in Illinois for Regional Meetings in Effingham, Bloomington, and Chicago to kick off the development of the regional planning initiative in each of the state’s 10 regions. More than 300 leaders from workforce, economic development, education, and other areas from across the state met in Regional Teams over the course of 3 days.

With the help of a team of Maher & Maher facilitators, each region prioritized its regional target industry clusters, debriefed the results of a self-assessment, completed a SWOT analysis, and developed priorities for the creation of a sector strategy for one target industry cluster. Going forward, facilitators will be providing support for each region’s ongoing collaborative planning work.

Maher & Maher is excited to have the opportunity to partner with the State of Illinois and leaders from each region as they work to enhance alignment among… 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 →

Getting a Head-start on WIOA: Missouri’s Statewide Launch Meeting for Sector Strategies

Our recent statewide launch event with leaders in the State of Missouri was a great kick-off to our deployment of sector strategies in the state, and an excellent jump-start for the upcoming implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

Tucked away on the banks of the Lake of the Ozarks, about 130 professionals from the state’s workforce system and their partners from education, economic development, and workforce worked over two days to plan for advancing sector-based work in the ten economic regions of the state.

“I am always amazed to see folks from different silos come together around a common goal and witness them break down traditional walls in favor of creating new opportunities for the common customers we all have,” said Richard D. Maher, President & CEO of Maher & Maher. “With thinner budgets every year, our work… 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 →

Social Learning in a Corporate Environment

At a recent team meeting it was exciting to hear how social learning was at play.  From peer-to-peer sharing in support of a client’s Lean implementation, to sales representatives partaking in strategic planning best practices in a virtual classroom session, to a project team collaborating on process improvements in the development of a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), the value of social learning was front and center.

Social learning is not a new concept in the business community – we work in teams, seek out peers for guidance and information, engage in collaborative problem-solving, and learn together in classes. Leveraging the knowledge capital of employees by sharing information and expertise in the workplace is a proven business practice with a long history.  Whether through informal mentoring or a simple water-cooler chat, social learning is a powerful process that connects employees with subject matter… Read more →