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Maher & Maher, an IMPAQ Company - Investment Advisors for Talent Development.
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Building on National Apprenticeship Week: Next Steps

Since the first National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) in 2015, the buzz around apprenticeship has grown exponentially, with more than 1000 events including tours, conferences, podcasts, webinars, and more, all promoting the benefits of apprenticeship as a talent and workforce development tool. The sheer amount of information, perspectives and advice shared during NAW can be overwhelming, and organizations that are either just getting started in building their programs, or looking to expand and improve, may need help drilling down to the most important lessons from the week.

Although there are different approaches to building a successful apprenticeship program, the hallmarks of success are consistent across all of them. Successful programs offer the right technical components: in-depth, customized training that includes work-based learning, compensation, formal education, mentorship, and a market-valued credential upon completion. They also offer a way to engage and secure acceptance from stakeholders through active collaboration with both internal… Read more →

State Work-Based Learning Ecosystems are Closing the Skills Gap

Determined to speed up efforts to close the skills gap, states are turning to work-based learning ecosystems as a more inclusive and coordinated structure to bring all stakeholders to the table. In a work-based learning ecosystem, partnerships of business, education, workforce development, and community organizations collaborate to prioritize opportunities, develop solutions, and implement sustainable training programs. Ecosystems align programs and resources to provide the full continuum of work-based learning, from career planning to internships to apprenticeship and more, to meet the talent needs of businesses.

Maher has identified the following common elements shared by states that are successfully implementing an ecosystem approach to work-based learning:

Leadership and stakeholders from all partners of the ecosystem collaborate to identify common goals, priorities, and responsibilities for outcomes. Data and research combined with the expertise of each partner is used to identify opportunities and prioritize solutions. Assets of the ecosystem… Read more →

Smart Workforce System Integration Expands Access to Apprenticeship

Today, we’re sharing how states are working to integrate apprenticeship in the workforce system and pointing you to resources to help your own efforts. It is no secret that expanding access to work-based learning, and especially apprenticeship, takes extensive alignment and capacity-building work across programs and partners at the state and local levels. The workforce system has many different entry points – which is a great benefit to job seeker and business customers – but also means that staff representing various programs and levels need to have the know-how to connect individuals with existing or new apprenticeship opportunities and businesses to work-based learning ecosystems.

The role of the workforce system is much more than just informing job seekers and businesses of apprenticeship opportunities. It must integrate its processes with those of its partners in order to deliver programs, policies, and resources that connect, fund, and… Read more →

Adult Education and Pre-Apprenticeship – a Promising Partnership!

Quality pre-apprenticeship programs provide pathways to apprenticeship for under-represented, disadvantaged, or low-skilled individuals.  Successful programs incorporate industry-approved training and curriculum, integrate hands-on training, lead to industry-recognized credentials, and provide robust supportive services.  Pre-apprenticeship programs do not stand alone; quality programs partner directly with apprenticeship sponsors and include explicit pathways into apprenticeship programs (and other employment opportunities) for successful participants.

These characteristics of pre-apprenticeship programs make them a great option for the adults and youth who receive services through Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs.  Across the country, ABE providers are partnering with or operating pre-apprenticeship programs and providing a recruitment pipeline into pre-apprenticeships.  For example:

In Delaware, Sussex Technical School partnered with the USDOL Office of Apprenticeship and the local Adult High School to create a 1-year electrical pre-apprenticeship program for the ESL population.  ​They created an integrated instructional class that runs… Read more →

Managing Performance to Drive Innovation and Continuous Improvement

Through our work across the country, we have noticed an exciting trend – an increased focus by states and regions on using data collection, analysis, and continuous improvement techniques to actively manage their WIOA performance. This increased focus is key because although WIOA encourages workforce systems to experiment with new and innovative service delivery strategies, we all know that testing innovation may also risk your program’s ability to meet and exceed WIOA initially. Trying something new is an experiment – it’s risky and doesn’t always translate immediately to success as defined by WIOA.  

The good news is there are strategies to mitigate this risk, maximize your outcomes and free you up to try innovative ideas and strategies. For example, our data analysis (and direct work with state and local clients) suggest that confusion around both the indicators’ intent and… Read more →

Building Online Courses with Peer Learning

It’s been years since I completed my master’s degree in Instructional Technology from a reputable Philadelphia university. At that time, online courses were few and far between. In fact, if a course was offered online, it was delivered in the framework of blended learning because in-class sessions were still required for discussion and exams.

I’ve always been a perpetual learner.  However, I tend to focus my skill-sharpening around the development of just-in-time learning, video demonstrations, and webinars. As an e/mLearning Developer, I have to stay current with technology because tools and learning platforms are constantly updated.

As our clients continue to transition instructor-led training to online learning, or even look to revamp dated online learning, they present a growing desire to discuss topics, ideas, challenges, and perspectives with their Learning and Development peers.

While I… Read more →

Blended Virtual Learning that Works

A Little Background

Maher has worked with a mix of clients to move lengthy in-person classroom training (what we refer to as instructor-led training, or ILT) to a blended virtual instructor-led delivery format, or VILT. This allows clients to expand course offerings to a wider audience and eliminates the cost of meeting rooms and other logistics, such as travel, for both facilitators and participants. While controlling costs is an important consideration, this approach also presents significant learning benefits for participants:

A cohort model allows learners to study together over a set time period and connect in ways that extend beyond the initial learning experience. Blended formats are convenient and allow for an expanded cohort of participants. This broadens the depth of peer expertise shared during the course. Peer learning allows colleagues across the nation or around the globe to collaborate or problem-solve in new ways. … Read more →

How Do You Learn?

An Interview with Michael Colella, Information Technology Manager at Maher & Maher

As Chief Learning Officer at Maher, I like to connect with team members on how they view professional development and how they develop themselves.

Michael Colella joined Maher in March of this year as our Information Technology (IT) Manager. I wanted to get his perspective on development as a systems and technology expert.  He was ready and willing to let me pick his brain—thank you Mike!

Question: “Why do you think professional development is so important today?”

In our age of technology and connectivity the business landscape has become extremely competitive. Successful businesses aim to acquire the most talented individuals to drive innovation. Companies often expand their talent pool search by offering employees the ability to work remotely.  With an expanded talent pool for employers… Read more →

A Digital Transformation is Upon Us. What Does That Mean to the Workplace?

The digital transformation is a key business initiative at the forefront of most leading organizations. It is not a trend that is losing ground; rather, it is picking up exponential speed.  Those that plan to wait until the ground settles to find their place in the transformation will be left behind.  It is undeniable that our workplace will change significantly in the next five years, and this new way of work, more than any other in recent history, will have a profound impact on how we ready our future workforce. Job-seekers, as well as those who are currently employed, will need to upskill to adapt in the workplace.

I just spent two days at the Future Workplace Summit in Boston, Massachusetts.  The event focused on how the workplace is changing and presented best practices for leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual and Augmented Realities (VR… Read more →

Artificial Intelligence Changing the Way We Learn

When I first heard the term, Artificial Intelligence (AI), it reminded me of the 1968 iconic film, 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick. Yes, I realize many of my coworkers were likely not even born yet and might see that film as dated and old-school; but for me at eight, it was a glance into our future. As an adult, I can imagine how my father regretted his decision to take me to that movie after being bombarded with questions like, “Why is that computer talking?” Yet, here we stand, asking for guidance from voice-powered personal assistants like Alexa, Siri, Google, or Cortana. 

Many companies are exploring AI technology today.  Being in the learning and development field, I ask myself, “What effect will AI have on learning and performance improvement strategies and on the professionals that are accountable for Talent Development?”

Read more →

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