The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) provided technical assistance to grantees from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA), who received funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The NGA Center was tasked, among other requirements, with developing and managing a process to identify promising practices and lessons learned based on grantee activities, products, and reports. This information was then used to develop case studies, reports on lessons learned, and other information-sharing documents to inform the grantees, the broader workforce system, and ETA.
As a part of this overall grantee technical assistance effort, Maher & Maher provided expert assistance to the NGA Center by cataloging, reviewing, and disseminating the “best practice” products delivered by the ARRA Grantees. In collaboration with the NGA Center, Maher & Maher reviewed and evaluated hundreds of ARRA Grantee Products, including labor market studies, high-growth occupation training curricula, communications and outreach plans, sector strategies, and partnership agreements, among many other products. Maher & Maher then provided the grantees with comments and recommendations to finalize their products in order to meet “best practices” standards, and prepared them for national dissemination.
Throughout the course of this project, Maher & Maher developed an innovative web-based tracking tool to facilitate the review process and to better link the work with ongoing DOL best practice initiatives. Specifically, the Maher team coded each product following the same taxonomy that ETA uses characterize independently validated best practices that are recorded on the Workforce System Strategies web site. This tool served the dual purposes of expediting the assessment of each grantee product, and also linking it to other research and technical assistance resources identified by ETA. The end result was greater promotion of and access to promising practices that ultimately assisted the grantees in the replication of successful strategies.