Professional Development & Capacity Building | Maher & Maher
Maher & Maher, an IMPAQ Company - Investment Advisors for Talent Development.
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Category Professional Development & Capacity Building

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 →

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 →

Apprenticeship Expansion and the Role of Community Colleges

This week I was in gorgeous Missoula, MT at the NGA Summer Workforce Liaisons meeting, with Stephanie Veck, Maher’s new project director for industry engagement in apprenticeships and work-based learning.  We were not at all surprised that apprenticeship was once again a topic of conversation among state workforce leaders across the country.  It is a timely discussion as the Office of Apprenticeship has awarded another round of State Apprenticeship Expansion grants.  Topics regarding innovations and challenges included the evolution of the definition of apprenticeship and resulting culture change, as well as the expansion of apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship.  Legislative initiatives, reorganizational efforts, infrastructure, funding apprenticeship and messaging to targeted populations like parent and guidance counselors were also highlighted.  Maher has been a proud partner in many of these areas and is working with organizations at the local, state and national level to… Read more →

America’s Skills Gap Grows! Costs businesses nearly $1M/year according to survey.

We are bombarded by information about America’s “skills gap.” Every day, news stories report the now infamous 6 million unfilled jobs in the country. At the same time, those of us engaged with the nation’s workforce development system struggle to help under-skilled job seekers work toward economic security and meaningful career paths.

Employers struggle too; they’re reassessing their entry level skill and educational requirements and their pay rates. They’re hoping to find a solution to vacancies that put stress on managers and cause existing staff to do “double-duty” to get the work done.

But production is not the only cost of the ongoing American Skills Gap, according to a recent survey by CareerBuilder. Their April, 2017 survey of over 2,300 employers and 3,400 workers tells a story of higher employee turnover, reduced staff morale, lower quality work… Read more →

American Job Center Customer Flow Scenarios

Maher & Maher works hand-in-hand with our federal partners to implement strategic technical assistance strategies and innovative training solutions. One recent example – the American Job Center (AJC) Customer Flow Scenarios was produced under its Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Technical Assistance support contract with the Employment and Training Administration (ETA). Many states and local areas have expressed a need for tools that help AJCs coordinate staff and partners to work collaboratively across programs. This booklet features five illustrated stories (in graphic novel format) that represent scenarios of customer experiences and the guidance an AJC staff member might provide.

 

Sam has an undisclosed disability and needs guidance on reasonable accommodations and other rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act while returning to the labor force. Charles is an employer seeking guidance to hire and accommodate workers with disabilities and is seeking resources… Read more →

WBL Quick Reference Desk Guide Available

We are excited to offer access to ETA’s Desk Reference Guide to Work-Based Learning (WBL) for workforce professionals. The short desktop aid offers quick access to information on the various types of WBL available for use by workforce system pros. The Maher Team produced the tool under its WIOA Technical Assistance support contract with the Employment and Training Administration (ETA).

From Registered Apprenticeship to OJT and more, the Guide provides a short tutorial on the various forms of WBL and how they could be properly administered for the benefit of system customers.  

“Today’s challenging labor market, characterized by over 6 million un-filled, middle-skilled job openings, requires innovative solutions,” said Richard (“Rick”) D. Maher, the Firm’s Presdient & CEO. “Work-based learning – in all its forms – is a powerful tool for both our System… Read more →

My Reemployment Plan: A Customer-Focused Guide to Reemployment Strategies for Today’s Labor Market

Our national economy is recovering at a steady pace from the so-called Great Recession that ended in 2009. The recession was the most severe, and one of the longest-persisting economic downturns, since the Great Depression. Employment fell by 6.3 percent during that period, and although the economy has added an average of 191,000 jobs per month since then, many workers are still not as secure or well off as they were before the recession hit.

A study conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute notes: “Technology and globalization have created a more dynamic and fast-paced business environment, but the way economies connect most individuals with work has been slow to respond. A significant proportion of workers feel overqualified or disengaged in their current roles…  [That leaves] millions of people coping with unemployment, underemployment, stagnant wages, and discouragement.”

Back in 2015, and in response to these… Read more →

A Fresh Look at our Processes

Maher is a firm that has always valued process; it’s one of our key strengths. At the same time, our clients expect us to be flexible and responsive to changes in work flow and their business priorities. Our Private Sector team came together in April to work on bringing the best of our agile workflows into consistent practice while maintaining client-specific flexibility in our process.

We met at our corporate offices in New Jersey to reflect on the growth and expansion of our Practice and the firm as a whole. We’re proud of how we’ve launched innovative learning solutions for our clients and for our peers’ public-sector clients, cross-pollenating new methods of learning born out of private sector initiatives.

It was also a chance for us to review and evaluate the way we serve clients. We wanted to… Read more →

Maher Attends LTEN Conference in Nashville

On Monday, June 5th, I started day one of the 46th Annual LTEN Conference in Nashville, Tennessee at the Gaylord Opryland.  LTEN is the Life Sciences Trainers and Educators Network, previously known as the Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers (SPBT) and prior to that, for us older alumni, the National Society of Pharmaceutical Sales Trainers (NSPST). 

I’ve attended this conference almost every year for nearly 20 years.  After all, my foray into Learning and Development after graduate school was in this market, working on product training for market leading brands like Pfizer’s Lipitor® (atorvastatin calcium).  

The LTEN conference offers a unique inside view of the Life Sciences industry and how the Learning and Development functions within these organizations are challenged to drive efficiencies, compliance, and performance improvements to ultimately result in better business outcomes, whether that… Read more →

Change Management Effort Underway at the Illinois Office of Employment and Training

Last week, my colleague Lynn Bajorek and I were in Springfield, Illinois, to facilitate a strategic planning session with the leadership team of the Office of Employment and Training (OET) at the Illinois Department of Commerce.

Over the last several months we’ve been working with OET on an internal change management effort which looks both internally to better understand its assets, challenges and opportunities and externally to understand how OET can leverage and partner better within its entire workforce development system. The end result will be a "Blueprint" that fully aligns OET’s assets and resources with a clearly articulated vision, mission, and set of goals.

 

Last week, our day-long session focused on the results of our surveys, interviews, and research and the development of a SWOT analysis to understand the current "as is" state of… Read more →

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