Invest Atlanta (IA), the City’s economic development agency, engaged Maher & Maher in a project designed to align AWDA, the City’s workforce development agency, with the City’s economic development strategy. Ultimately, the goal is to build a truly integrated and robust talent development system.
Maher & Maher team is working closely with IA, AWDA, its partners, and a constellation of related community stakeholders to ensure that AWDA’s strategies align with and support Invest Atlanta’s economic development strategies, both short- and long-term. The approach to this effort is highly collaborative and transparent, with the goal of ensuring full partner engagement, surfacing new ideas and innovations, and creating a strong foundation for implementation and sustainability.
The project includes three primary phases, including:
In building the new system, Maher is cognizant of studies that indicate a distinct lack of economic mobility among Atlanta residents. We feel that building the system around a regional sector strategies approach, combined with building and supporting career pathways, has the potential to impact this situation.
Thus far, we have successfully completed all three phases, and are about to seek adoption of our recommendations by the Mayor’s Office. After that, we will form a region-wide Strategic Implementation Group to work with the City and our consulting team to develop an implementation plan. Our recommendations involve a number of changes in how Atlanta would carry out its workforce development business, including:
In our work thus far, we've found that some of the Workforce System’s “early adopters” around the country experienced serious growing pains in creating the kinds of approaches represented by these recommendations. By learning from those experiences, Atlanta is hoping to move away from a strict “measures-based” culture to one that is designed to strategically meet regional industry and jobseeker needs.
Led by Mayor Reed, Atlanta is reimagining its service delivery framework and approach at the same time as it is reorganizing internally, revitalizing its WIB, and also filling some key leadership positions. Our work in recruiting regional leaders to support the change effort, and proceeding to create an integrated implementation plan, has the effort off to a good start.
Next, we will move next to deliver our final recommendations to the Mayor and Council, and transfer ownership of implementation off to the region-wide Strategic Implementation Group established to carry this effort forward. With the continuing engagement of political and business leaders in Atlanta, the City stands to achieve a better integrated System for managing the regional talent pipeline and better serving both jobseekers and employers. We look forward with great enthusiasm to what these committed leaders will achieve!