Maher at the White House for 2nd Learning Exchange & Celebration | Maher & Maher
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Maher at the White House for 2nd Learning Exchange & Celebration

On September 19th, Maher & Maher joined leaders from the White House, the Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and fifteen Customer Centered Design (CCD) Challenge teams from across the country at a special White House event to celebrate innovative local partnerships that embrace design thinking and put customer needs at the center of service delivery, processes and customer flow. The teams from California, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin highlighted key insights they learned through their immersive research, and the programmatic transformations they’ve made for business customers and target populations including, out-of-school youth, formerly incarcerated jobseekers, English-Language Learners (ELL), and individuals with disabilities. White House and ETA leaders engaged in a robust dialogue with the teams and praised the teams for their commitment to the innovative approach to improve service delivery.

On the heels of 80+ participating teams in Round 1, Maher provided CCD coaching and support to 84 teams representing twenty-five states and two territories in Round 2. The teams completed rigorous training and experiential learning in customer-centered design and have had opportunities to share their learning at regional conferences and events, including the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) National Convening last January in Washington, DC. Maher was proud to partner with Code for America in Round 2 to increase support for the teams as they took on the hefty challenge of putting aside the way they have always done business, and opening themselves up to re-thinking their assumptions and status quo. 

Christy MontgomeryDuring the White House celebration, teams shared inspiring stories about what they have gained by intimately getting to know their customers’ needs. During a “Lightning Talk” presentation, a representative from Contra Costa California displayed a paper suit that their team learned is provided to prisoners upon release who had no clothing of their own. The Contra Costa team related to the low self-esteem statistics of justice involved individuals when they were brought face to face with the realities these individuals face upon release. This insight inspired their team to implement earlier interventions by providing a toolkit of resources they need prior to re-entering the workforce. Two out-of-school youth participants from San Diego led their local workforce system through the CCD Design Challenge to ensure the ideas and methods of the team closely identified with today’s youth. The youth pointed out one of their first interventions with the team was to eliminate the use of paper flyers in outreach to youth – an “out-of-date” communication tool youth don’t relate to.


Capitalizing on the creative energy generated at the White House, Christy Montgomery, a Maher CCD coach, facilitated rapid ideation and prototyping exercises where teams created prototypes of the methods and strategies they will use to provide peer-learning to the workforce system. The “Live Design” activities served as a call to action, with teams leaving with a collective plan, and a commitment to share what they learned. The teams have embraced CCD concepts and are already actively completing their plans to present at state and regional conferences, so the workforce system won’t have to wait long to hear from them!

To learn about the impact the Customer Centered Design Challenge had on the teams from California, Georgia, Tennessee and Pennsylvania, click here.

Maher is thrilled to continue its support for ETA and CCD as the insights from this challenge are promoted workforce system wide. To view other upcoming resources, visit the ION

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.


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