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Forming, Storming and Norming Around Regions, Sector Strategies and Career Pathways

It is wonderful when regionalism comes together like it did with the six workforce development regions in Minnesota! In order to help stand up these newly formed regions, Minnesota asked Maher to partner with the regions to assess sector strategies implementation status in the context of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The Maher team reviewed each regional plan and then identified and provided technical assistance over a three-month period.

Across the regions, several common technical assistance themes emerged:

Advancing a regional approach to sector strategies that is strategic and systemic in nature; Building a common understanding and structure to support sector strategies and employer-led industry partnerships among local boards and partners; Creating an integrated approach to business services; Supporting and sustaining long-term sector partnership and employer relationships; and Developing performance metrics/benchmarks.

In response to these needs, Maher coaches worked with regions on a… Read more →

“Connecting the Dots”

Doing more with less is all too familiar in the field of workforce development. Over time, funding levels have eroded or been eliminated altogether, requiring workforce professionals to be creative in devising ways to serve customers more efficiently and effectively. In fact, we at Maher & Maher advise our clients every day on strategies to leverage funding and align resources to save both time and money.

Behind the scenes, we take our own advice seriously, too. It’s what we call “connecting the dots.” Our technical assistance at the federal level combined with our work with states, regions, locals, and with private business clients allows us to generate a wealth of knowledge about the challenges our clients face in developing and delivering a talent pipeline. We experience firsthand what’s working and what’s not, and document the most effective practices being… Read more →

Teach, Learn, Change

A Diverse Technical Assistance Strategy for Equal Employment Opportunities in Apprenticeship

The team at Maher & Maher are experts at digging into complex policies and developing dynamic, digestible technical assistance (TA) and training for diverse audiences.

The US Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship (OA) has been focusing for the last couple of years on increasing diversity in apprenticeship programs, both in terms of the industries that use apprenticeship as a workforce development tool and the demographics of apprentices themselves. Maher is partnering with OA on that mission, creating TA for both national staff as well as for State-level grantees.

In December 2016, the regulations regarding Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) measures for apprenticeship programs were updated for the first time in nearly four decades. The previous EEO regulations for apprenticeship were published in 1978. Since that time, many aspects of the workplace have changed dramatically.… Read more →

Maher & Maher announces partnership with the Virginia Community College System

Maher & Maher is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Virginia Community College System and its workforce partners on the development of a Sector Strategy and Career Pathways Academy.

This effort builds upon a decade of work in the Commonwealth to align education and training programs in ways that makes it easier for individuals to access and complete pathways to family-supporting careers. By pairing together sector strategies and career pathways, this initiative hopes to improve the relevance and effectiveness of education and training programs, leading to more positive outcomes for individuals and businesses.

A primary emphasis will be on operationalizing these strategies in service delivery so that sector strategies and career pathways become the “way of conducting business” throughout Virginia’s workforce system. This is a transformational change endeavor for the entire system—from workforce board members, educational leaders,… Read more →

Tesla Partners for Talent Development

Public/Private Partnership Models Solution for the Skills Gap

We were so interested in this news from NY State and Tesla, announcing a new partnership with a Long Island college to train a future workforce. This is just one more example of employers taking new initiative in working with educational and governmental partners to tackle the skills gap proactively.

As importantly, this partnership with Tesla uses elements of a proven training model – apprenticeship – to be part of the solution. Students work while they learn through internships, and work toward the “high probability” of a full-time job upon graduation. Although this is not an apprenticeship program in the traditional sense, the solution “borrows” key elements from that oldest of all training models to make it work for Tesla and students as well.

Of particular note for us, is the potential… Read more →

Maher Supports Futurist Thinking

Wayne Gretzky, famed hockey player, is known for his saying “I skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.”  While attending a workforce meeting in Portland, Oregon entitled “Finding Pathways to Economic Vitality Through a Dynamic Future,” we explored the implication of artificial intelligence and drones on our sector and job development work with businesses and individual customers.  This interactive session not only fostered stimulating conversation about how to position the system to remain relevant in this technologically evolving work environment, it also provided participants with a hands-on experience with drones.

Also during the meeting, Vivek Wadhwa (Distinguished Fellow, Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering, and Contributing Writer, Washington Post) spoke to the group about how technology is changing our future and how our choices about technology advances will dictate the future. He suggested that we face… Read more →

Stockholder Development in the First State

During a Delaware Workforce Development Board (DWDB) meeting in 2017, Region 2 ETA Administrator Leo Miller issued a challenge to the DWDB to truly seize the opportunity in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in order to reimagine the workforce development system in the First State. The Chair of the DWDB, Gary Stockbridge, accepted that challenge right then and there and refocused the meeting and the trajectory of the workforce system in Delaware. As a result of this transformational meeting, Delaware partnered with Maher & Maher in 2017 to retool its strategic planning process.  

The first endeavor we undertook was to broaden the engagement of partners in the development of the strategic plan, as well as to align the DWDB’s planning activities with key initiatives underway among workforce system partners. The Board’s Steering Committee utilized a highly interactive Board Retreat that not only included… Read more →

Distilling Federal Regulations into Successful Technical Assistance

Change is the one constant in the national workforce system. Whether a government agency is issuing new regulations or stripping down existing ones, our challenge is to help practitioners comply with new requirements and continue their commitment to customer-centered design and transformational change.

With any policy, buy-in at all levels is vital to full implementation, which is why the Maher team takes a holistic approach. We work closely with our clients to gain a deep understanding of regulatory changes while maintaining the broader vision for the workforce system. For more than 20 years, Maher has played the role of change agent, helping to streamline the implementation of and reduce confusion around several federal regulations such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and updated Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) regulations for apprenticeship for our clients at the US Department of Labor (USDOL). We have done the same kind… Read more →

Your Skills, Your Future: TN Chamber Partners to Address Manufacturing Skills Gap

Many times, workforce system leaders look to economic projections to find growing occupations and industries so they can best target limited resources at sectors that are expanding and offer family-sustaining careers. Of course, that is as it should be.

Sometimes we can miss, however, real opportunities for great jobs in sectors that may not be among the fastest growing, but which present opportunity due to their “greying workforces.”

We found this great site – Your Skills, Your Future – that the Cleveland, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce has launched in partnership with private sector partners, to educate students, parents and job seekers in careers in manufacturing. We like the work, so we thought we’d share.

Here’s some of what they get right. They talk directly to the worker, in plain language and using terms that resonate with job… Read more →

Community Collaboration an Economic Imperative

Recently, I was in Kansas doing State and Local Strategic Board training with my colleague, Terri Lonowski. During the training session, we watched a senior manager overseeing global executive development and diversity for a major firm have an epiphany about how his company needed to embrace talent acquisition and development within a supply chain management relationship framework. His “AHA” moment transformed the dynamics in the room and the very nature of the conversation moving forward. This business representative then wanted to apply the sound practices associated with supply chain management to the workforce development system. He is certainly not the first business person to make that connection, as evidenced by the US Chamber Foundation’s recent work in this area in collaboration with state and local workforce development systems.

The challenge before us is whether the economic development, workforce development and education partners, along… Read more →

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