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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 →

IMPAQ/Maher Education Fund Announces Awardees

Today, IMPAQ and Maher & Maher announced the awardees of the IMPAQ/Maher Education Fund.

Through Maher & Maher's background in workforce development technical assistance, and IMPAQ’s expertise in workforce development research, we recognize the valuable contributions that workforce boards make toward advancing occupational readiness and preparing job seekers for good jobs in growth sectors.

The IMPAQ/Maher Education Fund provides grants to workforce boards and intermediaries in Maryland and New Jersey, to help expand and extend their services. These grants will supplement other forms of workforce funding and allow local leaders maximum flexibility in designing, implementing, and measuring local workforce development programs.

After a competitive application process, three $20,000 grants were awarded:

Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation (Millersville, MD) will be using funds to implement a Patient Care Technician (PCT) Pipeline Program, which will recruit, support, and place PCTs… Read more →

Beth Brinly Appointed to SREB Commission

Maher & Maher is pleased to announce that our Vice President of Workforce Innovation, Beth Brinly, has been appointed to the Southern Regional Education Board’s (SREB) Commission on Strategic Business Partnerships and Work-Ready Students.  The Commission will conduct its work over the next two years (2018-2020). Beth said “I am delighted to serve on SREB’s Commission and share the exciting work going on at Maher and with our clients across the country in business-led partnerships in the education and workforce space.”

SREB’s Commission will bring together thought leaders representing business, education and workforce development agencies to promote strategic partnerships and promising practices that will lead to programs designed to prepare students who are ready to work.  Commission members will work together to goal identify and promote promising practices to better engage businesses around strategic partnerships, robust career… Read more →

4 Key Strategies for Sustainable Apprenticeship Expansion

It’s National Apprenticeship Week – a celebration of business, labor, education, community, and government support for apprenticeship as a work-based learning strategy.  As part of that celebration, we’re reflecting on the important work states are doing to expand the number of businesses and industries that use apprenticeship as a talent development strategy, while increasing the numbers of youth and adults participating in apprenticeship programs.

Maher & Maher is working alongside states in this important work.  As we support states in their efforts, we’re seeing states focus on four key strategies that set them up for long-term, sustainable growth. 

Strengthening alignment between apprenticeship and education and workforce systems.  States are moving away from siloed apprenticeship systems, and aligning apprenticeship with higher education, career and technical education, and the workforce investment system.  Maryland, Kentucky, Nevada, and… Read more →

Workforce Alignment to Address Impacts of the Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic is ravaging communities across the nation and we are now seeing clear impacts to regional, as well as statewide, labor force participation rates. While data is still being gathered we know that in 2015, 919,400 prime-age individuals were not in the labor force due to opioids; and between 1999 and 2015, the decline in labor force participation cumulatively cost the economy 12.1 billion work hours and $702.1 billion in real output.

A number of public programs are aimed at addressing the health care and sociological impacts of this specific drug, as well as drug use generally. Yet, we have only just begun to address both the short-term and long-term workforce and economic impacts. Maher/IMPAQ has been following this issue closely for the past couple of years and we believe strongly that state and local level alignment—that includes the workforce system as a key partner—is essential… Read more →

Apprenticeship: Engaging Businesses Where They Are

by Gerald P. Ghazi, J.D.

Beekeeping.  Cloud Operations Specialist.  Certified Nursing Assistant.  Hotel Manager.  Aerospace Engineer.  What do these all have in common?  They are all apprenticeships.  More businesses in more industry sectors are starting to think about apprenticeship as a talent development solution.  Apprenticeship is a flexible, cost-effective model that can be adapted to almost any position across sectors.

Despite all this, why is it sometimes hard to get businesses interested in apprenticeship and a challenge to “close the deal”?  I frequently hear from business engagement professionals – whether from an apprenticeship office, community college, the workforce development system, or an industry intermediary – how challenging it is to get businesses on board to start an apprenticeship or self-identify that what they are already doing as part of their workforce development strategy… Read more →

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