2018 Budget Talks: The Winds of Change are in the Air | Maher & Maher
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2018 Budget Talks: The Winds of Change are in the Air

Re-imagining America’s Workforce Development System

With the House Appropriations Committee approving the FY 2018 Labor-HHS Ed Funding bill, we have yet another opportunity to consider how the public workforce system must evolve to meet the needs of its business and individual customers.

Some suggest that the focus lies solely with meeting the needs of the business customer.  Others suggest we must invest in career pathways and position them as the core of the workforce delivery system.  Then there are those who think technology should rule the day and that the physical American Job Center is becoming obsolete. No matter which school of thought you subscribe to, it is clear that our system must embrace change to remain relevant to our businesses, individual customers and our national, state and regional economies. We have been “tweaking” for nearly 20 years as federal budgets shrink to “save” our system. Perhaps it’s time to shift the focus from tweaking to transformation. Perhaps we need to re-imagine it all together.

System leaders at every level of the public workforce system must take stock of all available resources (human capital, funding, partners, infrastructure and data) in collaboration with our partners.  We need to examine our career development, workforce readiness, job seeker services, employer services and business services strategies to determine whether they are truly what’s needed now – and re-imagine them from the inside out -  and, most importantly, from our customers’ perspective. Duplication in services available by and between our public partners must be eliminated through an effort to truly integrate service delivery.

Let’s face it -  all of our partners are likely to have less funding in the next budget cycle. It is clearly in everyone’s interests now – finally – to truly reengineer the way we do business. We can save money, improve service delivery and be more relevant for all our customers and stakeholders by doing so. We know how to do this. We know where our services are duplicated and we know where resources are all too scarce. Actions designed to preserve the status quo are not likely to be successful, and frankly, are probably not in the best interests of our customers or ourselves.

At Maher, our Team is engaging with forward-thinking System leaders around the Nation using tools like principles from Lean management (i.e., Value-Stream Mapping) and Human Centered Design (HCD) to ensure the customer is at the center of a more efficient and effective service delivery model. These tools help everyone, from leadership to the front-lines engage in problem-solving and contributing to innovative solutions – so they help to break down normal resistance to change.

We understand the natural tendency to resist change. As a specialized Change Management Consultancy, this isn’t our first rodeo. But experience shows that from great change can come true innovation – and from that innovation can come true relevance (which, ultimately may just get us the funding we so desperately need address the Nation’s skills gap challenge).

You can do this. We can help. Let’s get started today.

Maher & Maher is a specialized change management and talent development consulting firm based in New Jersey and Washington, D.C. The firm is U.S. Department of Labor’s national technical assistance provider supporting the Employment and Training Administration’s implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and a number of other priority initiatives of the administration that advance and promote the public workforce system. Maher is also currently involved in a number of sector strategy, regional planning, organizational strategic planning and training initiatives in multiple state and regional areas. For more information about our services, visit our website or call us at 1-888-90-Maher.

Comments (1)

Susan Duffin (Florida) Mon, August 14, 2017 - 10:43:59 AM

What a great article, Beth!  If state systems take the steps necessary for true transformation, they will be well-positioned for continued relevance and sustainability, regardless of what happens with the federal budget.

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