This past week I was in Springfield, Illinois (the boyhood home of Abraham Lincoln) to help our client, the Illinois Department of Commerce and its core partners at the Illinois Community College Board, the Illinois Department of Employment Security, and the Illinois Department of Human Services host a statewide conference focused on the formation of WIOA regional plans and the deployment of Sector Strategies.
Teams from each of the state’s 10 economic regions were paired with a dedicated Maher facilitator and came together to author (or advance) regional plans that will guide the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) across the state and across partner programs and agencies.
It is so exciting to participate in events such as this one. Our process for helping states work regionally is integrated with our “World-Class Sector Strategies” approach. We used it originally to help Kentucky introduce regionalism and sectors and have honed it now through multiple state deployments. It has been informed from our work in regional economies (both domestic and international) that spans more than a decade now.
To see regional teams working together as one – defining target sectors, exploring how to best integrate their offerings and collaborate to make business engagement more efficient and effective – makes me more optimistic about the “opportunity” envisioned by WIOA!
The Core Partners in Illinois have exemplified solid leadership by “modeling” collaborative planning at the state level and that resulted in a conference where most were “all-in” and actively working to innovate around WIOA. Some teams are way ahead (because they have been working in strong partnership for a while), while others are just getting started. Our process meets regional leaders where they are and helps them action plan a path forward.
As I tell our clients everyday – WIOA is a change management initiative. Twenty (20) percent of folks will innovate without you, and ten (10) percent or so will try to wait you out until retirement (either yours or theirs); they may never act. As a leader in workforce development, your job is to “move the middle.” Success happens when we help the great majority make progress toward the future vision your state adopts.
In Illinois, and in regions and states around the U.S., Maher team members are working to help clients craft their vision, think through policy and deploy a change strategy that can help them both comply with WIOA and drive positive change through their systems.
We’re so thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with forward-leaning folks like our clients in Illinois and look forward to big things to come from Lincoln’s homeland!
Change is Hard. We can Help!
Maher & Maher is a specialized change management and talent development consulting firm based in New Jersey and Washington, D.C. The firm is the national Technical Assistance (TA) contractor for Sector Strategies for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) as well as the TA contractor supporting ETA’s implementation of WIOA. For more information about our services visit us at www.mahernet.com or call us at 1-888-90-Maher.