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(May 27 2014)   Building Opportunities for Young Adults: A Discussion on Strategies to Supportthe Newest Generation of Workers 
 
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(May 27 2014)   Pay-for-Success Models: Financing Solutions for Counties (May 29 Webinar) 
 
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(May 27 2014)   New U.S. Cluster Mapping Website to Debut in June; SBA to Award Contracts to Head Initiatives 
 
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(May 27 2014)   "Manufacturing Workforce Development Playbook" Now Available - Case Studies and Insights from the Field on the Task of Preparing Workers for Careers 
 
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(May 21 2014)   NSF Announces Updated Interactive State Data Tool for Policymakers and Educators to Discern Trends in Education, Science and Research in Each of the 50 States 
 
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(May 21 2014)   NSF Grant to Support Workforce Training and Technical Solutions for Steel Industry 
 
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(May 21 2014)   ETA Provides Guidance to States Eligible to Apply for Incentive Grant Awards for PY 2012 Performance 
 
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(May 21 2014)   Paycheck Plus: New Antipoverty Strategy for Single Adults  
 
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(May 21 2014)   Manufacturing Institute and Accenture Release "2014 Manufacturing Skills & Training Study" 
 
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(May 21 2014)   Department of Commerce Seeks Comments on BusinessUSA System of Records 
 
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(May 21 2014)   IRS Publishes 2015 Grant Application for Organizations Interested in Applying for Low Income Tax Clinic Matching Grant 
 
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(May 21 2014)   EPA Announces 18 Grants under the Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Program 
 
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(May 20 2014)   Community Service Block Grants: HHS/ACF/OCS Announces Funding Opportunities 
 
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(May 15 2014)   Aspen Institute Announces Launch of "Ascend Network" 
 
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(May 15 2014)   ETA Seeks Comments on (1) Extension of the Unemployment Insurance State Quality Service Plan and Reporting Guidelines, and (2) New Information Collection in Support of UI Supplemental Budget Request Activities 
 
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(May 12 2014)   MDRC Publishes 'A Funder's Guide to Using Evidence of Program Effectiveness in Scale-Up Decisions'; Issues Summary of Colloquium on "Labor Market Challenges for Low-Income Adults" 
 
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(May 12 2014)   FERPA and Student Privacy: Department of Education Proposes New Data Collection 
 
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(May 12 2014)   IMLS and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Partnership to Develop Financial Education Tools and Best Practices 
 
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(May 8 2014)   American Association of Community Colleges Announces Grant to Support the “Job Ready, Willing and Able” Initiative; Foundation Funding to Support 17 Community Colleges for Skills Training and Industry Recognized Credentials  
 
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(May 8 2014)   Rural Economic Development: USDA Announces Funding Opportunity to Generate Employment Opportunities; Promote Business Retention and Growth 
 
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(May 8 2014)   IRS Opens Application Period for Volunteer Income Assistance Tax Program Grants 
 
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(May 8 2014)   U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Announces New Director for the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship 
 
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(May 8 2014)   Census Bureau Releases Beta Version of Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI) Explorer; Solicits Proposals for the Local Employment Dynamics (LED) Partnership Workshop 
 
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(May 8 2014)   Education Commission of the States Releases New Brief on Career and Technical Education; Document Examines Current Policy Trends 
 
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(May 8 2014)   Aspen Institute Names Partners in Ascend Network; Participating Groups Identified in 'Policy,' 'Postsecondary Education Employment Pathways" and "Social Capital" 
 
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(May 8 2014)   ETA Seeks Comments on Extension of the Unemployment Insurance State Quality Service Plan Planning (SQSP) and Reporting Guidelines 
 
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(May 8 2014)   ETA Seeks Comments on New Information Collection in Support of Unemployment Insurance Supplemental Budget Request Activities 
 
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(May 8 2014)   Department of Education Publishes FFO for the 'Project Prevent" Grant Program; Resources Targeted at Schools with Pervasive Violence 
 
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(May 1 2014)   EDA Launches Redesigned Website with Additional Content and Improved Navigation; Provides Update on i6 Green Challenge Grantees 
 
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(May 1 2014)   Application Period Now Open for Harvard Kennedy School's 'Innovations in American Government' Awards  
 
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(May 1 2014)   Economic Inclusion: New Research Examines Financial Capability-Building Strategies for Low-Wage Workers 
 
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(May 1 2014)   Promising the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income: Department of Education Announces Cooperative Agreement Opportunity to Provide Technical Assistance to Six Model Demonstration Projects 
 
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(May 1 2014)   Department of Commerce Re-Launches Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships; Announces Availability of 'Community Development Resource Toolkit" 
 

 

Description

 

Building Opportunities for Young Adults: A Discussion on Strategies to Supportthe Newest Generation of Workers


On Monday, May 12, 2014, the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program and the Forum for Community Solutions held a discussion to explore the challenges of young adults in the labor market. The conversation highlighted ideas for expanding meaningful volunteer, on-the-job learning, and entrepreneurship opportunities to help our newest generation of workers gain the experiences and skills they need to contribute to their communities and connect to opportunity in today's economy.

Panelists included John Bridgeland, President and CEO, Civic Enterprises; LaShauntaye Moore, Earth Conservation Corps; Henry Rock, Executive Director and Founder, City Startup Labs; and Elizabeth Shuler, Secretary-Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer, AFL-CIO. The conversation was moderated by Nona Willis Aronowitz, National Reporter, NBC News Digital.

View Highlights from the Discussion

 

Pay-for-Success Models: Financing Solutions for Counties (May 29 Webinar)


The National Association of Counties (NACO) will host a Thursday, May 29, 2014 (2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT) webinar on Pay-for-Success models. NACO notes:

At a time when counties are being asked to do more with less, jurisdictions are exploring pay-for-success models to finance justice, health and human services initiatives. These models (also called social impact bonds) direct funding to programs that demonstrate success through measureable outcomes. This webinar – the first in a two-part series – will explain these financing models and outline areas in which counties can use them to pay for programs and services.

Webinar Registration

 

New U.S. Cluster Mapping Website to Debut in June; SBA to Award Contracts to Head Initiatives


The U.S. Cluster Mapping Project is a national initiative that provides open data on regional clusters to support U.S. business, innovation and policy. It is led by Professor Michael Porter through the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School, and supported by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration.

The latest newsletter from the Project notes:

  • Stay tuned for the public release of the newly designed U.S. Cluster Mapping website, which will go live in June at www.clustermapping.us. New features will include a national and regional map explorer, custom region builder, site-wide and external search, data exporting and sharing, as well as cluster and region dashboards for every state, economic area, county and city.
  • The SBA intends to award three to four contracts (each with a base year and four option years) to contractors to head cluster initiatives throughout the United States. Cluster initiatives build off organic clusters by purposely integrating companies, non-profits, and universities for business funding and research opportunities that create jobs, attract capital, and have long-term economic impact. The base year is expected to be for a firm-fixed, not-to-exceed (level-of-effort) price of approximately $500,000 to $600,000. More ...

 

"Manufacturing Workforce Development Playbook" Now Available - Case Studies and Insights from the Field on the Task of Preparing Workers for Careers


The recently published Manufacturing Workforce Development Playbook offers strategies and programs that have been successfully employed by industry, education and government to collaboratively solve the challenges of preparing workers for 21st century careers in manufacturing.

Edited by manufacturing workforce authority Keith Campbell, with contributions from over 20 experts, this resource brings together relevant data, case studies and expert insights about educating and training operators, technicians and technologists for America’s manufacturing renaissance. Several of the chapters have been written by policymakers and practitioners in the public workforce system.

The PDF file can be downloaded at http://www.packworld.com/playbooks/manufacturing-workforce-development-playbook. When you complete the form, and hit submit, you’ll have a choice of "opening" or "saving" the file. Hit save and the PDF downloads directly to where ever your download folder resides. The PDF file is not e-mailed.

The table of contents:

  • Before You Begin (page 12)
  • Why this Playbook? (page 14)
  • Manufacturing is Complicated (page 22)
  • Manufacturing Career Pathways (page 30)
  • Preparing America for 21st Century Global Competitiveness (page 36)
  • The Role of the Workforce System and How it has Changed (page 42)
  • Manufacturing: By the Numbers (page 48)
  • Skill Standards, Not Curriculum Standards (page 56)
  • Success in the New Economy (page 62)
  • Training and College Credit (page 70)
  • The Role for Industry Credentials (page 78)
  • PMMI’s Mechatronics Certification Program (page 84)
  • Veterans—One Solution to the American Manufacturing Skills Gap (page 92)
  • Working Together for Manufacturing Workforce Development (page 98)
  • A Look at the Learners (page 104)
  • What the Future Workforce Doesn’t Know (page 116)
  • JumpStart Shows Kids that Manufacturing is Cool (page 124)
  • Careers in 2 Years: Go From Learning to Earning Fast (page 128)
  • The Path from High School to Gold Collar Career (page 134)
  • Stackable Credentials at Work for Manufacturing (page 140)
  • 21st Century Manufacturing Success Depends on Automation Technology and a Skilled Workforce (page 148)
  • A New BS Degree Program: Mechatronics Engineering Technology is a University Success (page 154)
  • Manufacturing Engineering: Innovation through Model-Based Design and Integration (page 160)
  • Continuing Education’s Role in Career Development (Page 166)
  • What I’ve Learned (page 172)
  • A Path Forward (page 178)
  • Appendix (page 184)

 

NSF Announces Updated Interactive State Data Tool for Policymakers and Educators to Discern Trends in Education, Science and Research in Each of the 50 States


The National Science Foundation has announced a newly updated, online, interactive state data tool allows policymakers, educators and other users to discern trends in education, science and research in each of the 50 states. This free resource supplements the state data in the 2014 Science and Engineering Indicators report, the premier source of information and analysis of the nation's position in science and engineering education and research. The biennial report is published by the National Science Board, the policy making body of the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The tool features 59 state indicators of state performance in education, the scientific workforce, research and development (R&D) investments and activities, and high-tech business. It offers tables, charts and graphs, and permits users to view and customize data in multiple ways, such as making comparisons with other states, looking at 20 year trends, and translating financial information from current into constant dollars.

NSF observes that the "tool is an especially valuable resource for educators and state policymakers in understanding their state's educational landscape and for corporations and economic development officials interested in a state's workforce or technology-based business potential."

The state data tool includes indicators on:

  • Elementary and secondary education - achievement and expenditures.
  • Higher education - degrees, spending, and costs.
  • Workforce - higher education credentials and science and engineering workers.
  • Financial R&D inputs - levels of R&D activities and public support.
  • R&D outputs - new doctorates and research activities.
  • Science and technology in the economy - business activities and capital investments.

State policymakers and other users can consider such factors as how their state compares with neighboring or similar states, as well as with the national average. They can see whether their state is following national trends, such as conducting more R&D over the last decade, or moving in the opposite direction. The state data tool supplements the latest edition of Science and Engineering Indicators, a 600-page volume that is the most comprehensive federal information and analysis of the nation's position in science and engineering education and research. The Indicators report was released in February 2014.

May 15 News Release

 

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NSF Grant to Support Workforce Training and Technical Solutions for Steel Industry


Purdue University Calumet's Center for Innovation through Visualization (CIVS) and Simulation has received a $480,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to launch a consortium intended to benefit the United States steel industry.

More specifically, the consortium will work toward developing long term technical solutions for improving efficiency, lowering production costs, advancing steel manufacturing quality and improving workforce training in the U.S.

Initially, the Purdue Calumet CIVS consortium will develop an industry-led technology roadmap that identifies and prioritizes research projects that apply advanced simulation and visualization technologies in ways that strengthen steel industry manufacturing performance.

Through consortia development, the Purdue Calumet CIVS and other grant recipients will define workforce needs, identify and rank research and development goals, and strive to transfer and improve manufacturing capabilities. In the process, manufacturers and other stakeholders will contribute to technology roadmap development by identifying and prioritizing research projects that reduce barriers to advanced manufacturing growth.

 

ETA Provides Guidance to States Eligible to Apply for Incentive Grant Awards for PY 2012 Performance


The Employment and Training Administration has issued Change 12 to Training and Employment Guidance Letter 20-01. This letter provides the procedures states should follow to apply for WIA Section 503 Incentive Grants, and reminds states of the authorized use of these grant funds.

The TEGL and the April 15, 2014 FEDERAL REGISTER lists the eight eligible States (Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas) and the respective award amounts.

 

Paycheck Plus: New Antipoverty Strategy for Single Adults


An notice of a new brief (Paycheck Plus) from MDRC:

Over the past several decades, workers with college degrees have seen their wages rise substantially, in tandem with the nation’s economic growth. However, wages for less-skilled workers, specifically those without a college education, have followed a dramatically different course. Many less-educated workers have faced increasing hardship as their wages stagnated over the past 30 years and some — particularly men — have seen their earnings fall sharply. This decline in the payoff to work has reduced employment and contributed to persistently high poverty rates and growing economic inequality. The federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) supplements the earnings of low-wage workers and has become one of the nation’s most effective antipoverty programs. However, because most of its benefits go to low-income workers with children, it only reaches a minority of low-wage workers. Although low-income workers without dependent children are eligible for the EITC, benefits for this group are nominal in comparison with those received by families with children.

A new MDRC brief describes Paycheck Plus, a pathbreaking demonstration project testing a new EITC-like earnings supplement for low-income single adults that aims to improve their economic circumstances while promoting employment. The project recently completed its first milestone, recruiting and enrolling over 6,000 individuals, with half assigned at random to a program group eligible for the supplement and the other half assigned to a control group not eligible for the supplement. MDRC will follow both the program and control groups for several years, to assess the supplement’s effects on economic well-being, work, and other outcomes. Funded by New York City’s Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) and the Robin Hood Foundation and managed by MDRC, the project is a direct response to the downward trend in employment, wages, and earnings among New York’s and the nation’s least-skilled workers. Paycheck Plus could serve as a national model and add to the current bipartisan discussion about supporting low-wage work, increasing the minimum wage, and expanding the EITC.

 

Manufacturing Institute and Accenture Release "2014 Manufacturing Skills & Training Study"


The Manurfacturing Institute and Accenture have partnered on a major new report called the 2014 Manufacturing Skills and Training Study looking at the state of the manufacturing sector in the U.S., the extent of the shortage of skilled workers, the cost of that skills shortage to company earnings, and the response of companies through investments in training. Here are the highlights of the report:

U.S. Manufacturers are Ready to Grow

  • 50% of companies surveyed plan to increase U.S.-based production jobs by at least 5% in the next five years.
  • Nearly 25% of companies plan to grow more than 10% in the next five years. U.S. Manufacturers Continue to Experience a Skills Shortage
  • 80% of manufacturers report a moderate or serious shortage of qualified applicants for skilled and highly skilled production positions. Skills Shortages are Causing Significant Impacts to Company Earnings
  • More than 70% of manufacturers report at least a 5% increase in overtime costs and nearly one-third report a greater than 10% increase in overtime costs.
  • Nearly two-thirds of manufacturers report at least a 5% increase in production downtime and production cycle time.
  • The total cost to manufacturers of skills shortages are up to 11% of net earnings. Manufacturers are Spending Significant Resources on Training the Workforce
  • Manufacturers invest approximately $3,000 in training for each new hire.
  • Manufacturers spend approximately $1,500 per employee in training each year.

 

Department of Commerce Seeks Comments on BusinessUSA System of Records


The Department of Commerce has published a notice of a new Privacy Act System of Records – BusinessUSA Intellectual Hosting Service Application and Satisfaction Survey Records.

BusinessUSA (BUSA) is a gateway to business resources for U.S. small businesses and exporters. Its mission is to serve America's businesses by providing easy access to government resources and opportunities, and by efficiently providing consistent, timely, relevant, accurate, complete, and trustworthy information to help them succeed. BUSA strives to provide a seamless and effective customer experience where businesses can discover, locate, access, and use applicable resources.

The purpose of this system is to assemble in one system the necessary information to assist customers in connecting with business assistance services, programs, data and other resources in a larger effort to help the economy by supporting U.S. small businesses and exporters grow and create jobs. Some of these customers would be individuals proposing to start a business. This system serves as a controlled repository for customer data and available business resource summary information. BUSA uses this information to monitor its performance, provide customer information to Federal agency and bureau partners, and Federal partners' sponsored organizations to further serve the customer, and to obtain customer feedback concerning their service experience and the level of satisfaction provided by BUSA and the serving agency.

This new system of records will be accessible only to BUSA internal staff, BUSA Federal partner agencies and bureaus, and cloud-based solution provider. Information will be disclosed on a need to know basis. The system of records may be accessible on a limited basis to resource providers and local business assistance organizations.

The system of records is designed to record:

(1) Customer biographical information;
(2) business resource summary information and relevant points of contact;
(3) referrals to Federal partner programs, resources, data, and other relevant business-focused information; and
(4) customer responses to service satisfaction.

Information collected in this system of records is basic, non-proprietary business and biographical information. Information collected is used to match customer inquiry and/or request with best resource available. No private or proprietary data will be collected and/or stored by this system.

The May 13 FEDERAL REGISTER provides additional background and describes the routine use of the data. Comments are due by June 12.

 

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IRS Publishes 2015 Grant Application for Organizations Interested in Applying for Low Income Tax Clinic Matching Grant


The Internal Revenue Service has published a notice in the May 15, 2014 FEDERAL REGISTER announcing the availability of the 2015 Grant Application Package and Guidelines (Publication 3319) for organizations interested in applying for a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) matching grant for the 2015 grant year, which runs from January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015. The application period runs from May 5, 2014, through June 20, 2014.

The IRS will award a total of up to $6,000,000 (unless otherwise provided by specific Congressional appropriation) to qualifying organizations, subject to the limitations of Internal Revenue Code section 7526, for matching grants. A qualifying organization may receive a matching grant of up to $100,000 per year for up to a three-year project period. Qualifying organizations that provide representation for free or for a nominal fee to low income taxpayers involved in tax disputes with the IRS, or educate individuals for whom English is a second language of their taxpayer rights and responsibilities, or both, can apply for a grant.

More ...

 

EPA Announces 18 Grants under the Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Program


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the selection of 18 grantees for the award of approximately $3.6 million through the Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) program. The grants fund training programs in local nonprofit organizations, community colleges, cities, states, tribes, and counties that provide unemployed and under-employed, including veterans, minority, and predominately low income individuals with the comprehensive skills and certifications needed to enter full-time careers in the environmental field. The funding also supports job placement and recruitment activities. These green jobs give hope to individuals to overcome significant barriers to employment and help protect public health and the environment by providing a skilled job force to clean up contamination and build more sustainable futures for local communities.

Graduates of the program develop a comprehensive set of skills to secure full-time, sustainable employment in many areas of the environmental field and average an hourly starting wage of $14.00. This has resulted in an excellent cumulative job placement rate. Program graduates obtain employment within their own communities, areas often historically affected by blight, economic disinvestment, and sites contaminated with solid and hazardous wastes. Rather than filling local environmental jobs with professionals outside of these communities, these grants help provide an opportunity for local residents to secure careers that make a visible impact cleaning up their neighborhoods, creating a locally skilled workforce. Graduates obtain employment in fields such as: recycling, brownfields assessment and cleanup, wastewater treatment, stormwater management, emergency response, oil spill cleanup, solar installation, and Superfund site remediation.

News Release / Listing of awardees

Additional information on environmental workforce development and job training can be found at grants:http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/pilot_grants.htm

Additional information on EPA’s brownfields Program http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/

 

Community Service Block Grants: HHS/ACF/OCS Announces Funding Opportunities


Community Service Block Grant funding supports projects that lessen poverty in communities; address the needs of low-income individuals including the homeless, migrants and the elderly; and provide services and activities addressing employment, education, better use of available income, housing, nutrition, emergency services and/or health. Three "support-oriented" solicitations have been recently announced by the Office of Community Services (OCS) within the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families (ACF). Applications under each are due by July 15. Eligibility is spelled out under each solicitation.

Cooperative agreement for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG): Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) Program: Regional Performance and Innovation Consortium (RPIC).
This cooperative agreement will support an ongoing state and regional strategy for collaboration, capacity-building, and exemplary practice in the CSBG program and among State Community Action Agency Associations, hereafter referred to as State Associations.

OCS will fund 11 RPIC to serve as geographic focal points, lead in implementing organizational standards and develop a comprehensive system of T/TA activities among State Associations. The central mission of the RPIC strategy is ensuring that all CSBG-eligible entities are able to meet organizational standards and performance management efforts, and utilize evidence-informed approaches to address the identified needs of low-income people in communities. The cooperative agreement will be funded up to $4,400,000.
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/foa/index.cfm?switch=foa&fon=HHS-2014-ACF-OCS-ET-0823

Two-year cooperative agreement for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Organizational Standards Center of Excellence (COE).
This cooperative agreement will support an enhanced ongoing state, regional and national training and technical assistance (T/TA) strategy for the implementation of organizational standards in the CSBG Network. The Organizational Standards COE will focus on increasing accountability and organizational performance by assisting State CSBG Lead Agencies and local CSBG-eligible entities in setting and meeting organizational standards in the areas of consumer input and involvement, community engagement, community assessment, organizational leadership, board governance, strategic planning, human resource management, financial operations and oversight, and data and analysis.
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/foa/index.cfm?switch=foa&fon=HHS-2014-ACF-OCS-ET-0821

Three-year cooperative agreement for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Legal Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) Center.
This cooperative agreement will be to support enhanced state, regional and national T/TA to strengthen and expand the capacity and ability of Community Action Agencies (CAAs) and other CSBG-eligible entities to deal with legal issues, especially those dealing with the financial management and governance of their agencies funded under CSBG. This cooperative agreement will support the implementation of ongoing T/TA to help CSBG-eligible entities address legal issues.
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/foa/index.cfm?switch=foa&fon=HHS-2014-ACF-OCS-ET-0820

 

Aspen Institute Announces Launch of "Ascend Network"


Ascend at the Aspen Institute has recently announced the launch of the Aspen Institute Ascend Network, a new network of organizations using two-generation approaches to disrupt poverty and create economic mobility for families. Through the Ascend Network, the Aspen Institute will invest $1.2 million in wide-reaching policy and practice innovations to increase families’ educational success and economic security. The initial 58 organizations, selected from 24 states and the District of Columbia, represent the leading edge of a national movement around two-generation approaches. Two-generation approaches look at the whole family’s needs and provide opportunities for children and their parents together.

The Aspen Institute identified these top 50+ organizations through a highly selective national competition. More than 250 organizations applied to join the Network and receive funding from the Aspen Institute Ascend Fund. The selected organizations range from community colleges seeking to better serve student parents and their children, to early childhood centers engaging parents in pathways to employment, to two-generation partnerships spearheaded by Promise Neighborhoods, United Ways, and women’s foundations. They join the Ascend Fellows, anchor members of the Network and pioneers in solutions for families.

See the complete list of Ascend Network members.

Visit ascend.aspeninstitute.org/network.

 

ETA Seeks Comments on (1) Extension of the Unemployment Insurance State Quality Service Plan and Reporting Guidelines, and (2) New Information Collection in Support of UI Supplemental Budget Request Activities


The State Quality Service Plan (SQSP) represents an approach to the unemployment insurance performance management and planning process that allows for an exchange of information between the federal and state partners to enhance the ability of the program to reflect the joint commitment to performance excellence and client-centered services.

As part of UI Performs, a comprehensive performance management system implemented in 1995 for the UI program, the SQSP is the principal vehicle that state UI agencies use to plan, record and manage program improvement efforts as they strive for excellence in service. The SQSP, which serves as the State Plan for the UI program, also serves as the grant document through which states receive federal UI administrative funding. The statutory basis for the SQSP is Title III, Section 302 of the Social Security Act, which authorizes the Secretary of Labor to provide funds to administer the UI programs, and Sections 303 (a) (8) and (9) which govern the expenditures of those funds. The SQSP represents an approach to tie program performance with the budget and planning process.

The Employment and Training Administration is seeking public comment on the SQSP by June 30. The April 29 FEDERAL REGISTER provides full background and summarizes the desired focus for public comment.

The Employment and Training Administration is also soliciting comments concerning the new collection of data on the ETA 9165, Supplemental Budget Request Activities. The new ETA 9165 will be used by the National and regional offices to monitor the progress of State Workforce Agencies in successfully implementing projects funded through Supplemental Budget Requests. This information will include the funded project title and purpose, the project timeline and milestones, and a narrative description of the project implementation status. It will also include explanations of any delays in implementation, proposals for addressing any problems that caused the delay and new project timelines if applicable, a self-reported designation of the implementation status (i.e. complete/ahead of schedule/on schedule/or behind schedule), and a discussion of identified technical assistance needs for the successful completion of the project.

The April 29 FEDERAL REGISTER provides complete background and instructions for the submission of comments.

 

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MDRC Publishes 'A Funder's Guide to Using Evidence of Program Effectiveness in Scale-Up Decisions'; Issues Summary of Colloquium on "Labor Market Challenges for Low-Income Adults"


The most recent MDRC newsletter notes:

Foundations and other private funders increasingly seek opportunities to "scale impact" — that is, to extend the benefits of cost-effective interventions to more people, either by expanding these efforts in their current locations or by replicating them in new locations. However, the effect that funders seek to have on vexing social problems, such as entrenched poverty, the educational achievement gap, and health disparities, will not materialize unless they can identify interventions that truly work and then support sustained, high-quality implementation of these interventions as they scale up.

There should be a high bar of reliable evidence to justify substantial scale-up because the stakes are high: Many lives will be affected, substantial funding is typically involved, and valuable resources can be wasted if funders back the wrong interventions. Nevertheless, funders often act without sufficient evidence to guide decisions on whether to invest in particular scale-up opportunities, as well as to confirm that the scale-ups they do support have been successful.

A Funder''s Guide to Using Evidence of Program Effectiveness in Scale-Up Decisions provides funders with practical advice on how to think about and use evidence of effectiveness when considering investments in scale-up opportunities. The Guide does not seek to turn private funders into evaluation experts or to delve into the methodological details of particular research approaches. Rather, the focus is on the right questions that funders should ask and the pitfalls they should avoid, including how to recognize the limitations of certain kinds of evidence. The Guide is divided into three sections:

Section I, Eight Key Questions to Ask Throughout the Scale-Up Process, presents what funders should look for to determine whether programs are effective. These questions provide the building blocks for the discussion in the following section.

Section II, Application of the Eight Questions to Scale-Up Decisions, shows how the questions apply to the different stages of a program’s evidence-building and scale-up.

Section III, Next Steps for the Field, highlights some remaining challenges for the field to consider in using evidence of effectiveness to guide scale-up decisions.

On December 12, 2013, MDRC hosted a colloquium in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to celebrate its 40th anniversary. A four-page summary of that colloquium and the panelists’ presentations on The New Economy: Labor Market Challenges for Low-Income Adults -- is available here.

 

FERPA and Student Privacy: Department of Education Proposes New Data Collection


The Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) within the Department of Education is the office responsible for administering the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The Department of Education is currently seeking comments on the “E-Complaint Form” to be used by parents and students to submit complaints requesting an investigation of alleged violations under FERPA. The Department will use the information to provide technical assistance to educational agencies and institutions to improve their understanding of and ensure their compliance with requirements concerning student education records.

The May 6 FEDERAL REGISTER provides complete background, burden hour estimates, desired focus for public comment, and instructions for the submission of comments. Comments are due by July 7.

 

IMLS and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Partnership to Develop Financial Education Tools and Best Practices


The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are partnering to develop financial education tools and share best practices with the public library field. IMLS is helping the bureau’s Office of Financial Education work with local public libraries, library associations, state and federal agencies, and national financial education leaders to generate interest in financial education and to provide programs and build collections for libraries of all sizes and in all communities. The goal of the partnership is to provide tools and materials to help libraries provide free, unbiased financial information and referrals in their communities, and to build local partnerships and promote libraries as community resources.

Read the Memorandum of Understanding

Additional Content

Note: The IMLS partnership with the Employment and Training Administration is summarized in the Training and Employment Notice: Encouraging Partnerships between the Workforce Investment System and Public Libraries to Meet Career and Employment Needs (June 2010)

 

American Association of Community Colleges Announces Grant to Support the “Job Ready, Willing and Able” Initiative; Foundation Funding to Support 17 Community Colleges for Skills Training and Industry Recognized Credentials


The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) has recently announced a $4.19 million three-year grant from Walmart Foundation to support the Job Ready, Willing and Able (JRWA) initiative, including $2.67 million directly supporting 17 community colleges across the country. The JRWA initiative will provide middle-skill training, industry recognized credentials, and access to employment across varying industry sectors in each of the 17 communities. Students who have access to high-quality education and training programs, relevant and quality job opportunities, and public benefits and supports are more apt to persist and succeed.

The 17 participating colleges were selected through a highly competitive process. Four colleges will be mentor colleges, with support from AACC, the National Association of Workforce Boards, AACC Affiliate Councils and industry associations.

Mentors were selected from AACC's 2008–2010 Workforce Economic Opportunity Initiative funded by Walmart Foundation and will provide additional guidance to 13 mentee colleges. All 17 colleges address current and potential growth of jobs in their communities. Examples range from unemployed mineworkers in rural Kentucky learning electrical linemen skills to sector-strategies including industrial mechanics and manufacturing certificates in Utah, viticulture skills in Oregon, office assistant training in Pennsylvania and Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) programs in Colorado. All colleges will work closely with local businesses, economic development leaders and the area workforce systems to collaboratively address the needs of the unemployed. The initiative aims to provide more than 5,000 unemployed adults with new skills, credentials and jobs.

The four selected mentor colleges are Arkansas Northeastern College (Ark.); Northeast Community College (Neb.); Umpqua Community College (Ore.); and Northern Virginia Community College (Va.).

The 13 mentee colleges selected for the JRWA initiative are Grossmont College (Calif.); Community College of Aurora (Colo.); St. Johns River State College (Fla.); Kirkwood Community College (Iowa); Ivy Tech Community College (Ind.); Hazard Community and Technical College (Ky.); Jamestown Community College (N.Y.); Cuyahoga Community College (Ohio); Montgomery County Community College (Penn.); Northeast State Community College (Tenn.); Tarrant County College District (Texas); Snow College (Utah); and West Virginia University at Parkersburg (W.Va.).

 

Rural Economic Development: USDA Announces Funding Opportunity to Generate Employment Opportunities; Promote Business Retention and Growth


USDA has recently announced the availability of grants through the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) Program for Fiscal Year 2014.

USDA is requesting proposals from applicants interested in improving the economic condition of rural areas through cooperative development. Eligible applicants include a non-profit corporation or an institution of higher education. Approximately $5.8 million is available. Applications are limited to one per applicant for a maximum of $200,000, and matching funds are required. The grant period is limited to a one-year timeframe. Click here for the announcement, application instructions, and submission dates.

USDA lists the evaluative criteria, including:

Economic development

  • Establishment of cooperatives or mutually owned businesses;

  • New cooperative approaches (i.e., organizing cooperatives among underserved individuals or communities; an innovative market approach; a type of cooperative currently not in your service area; a new cooperative structure; novel ways to raise member equity or community capitalization; conversion of an existing business to cooperative ownership); and

  • Retention of businesses, generation of employment opportunities or other factors, as applicable, that will otherwise improve the economic conditions of rural areas.

    Applicants must provide estimates on the following performance evaluation measures:

    • Total number of jobs created as a result of assistance
    • Total number of jobs saved as a result of assistance
    • Number of jobs created for the Center as a result of RCDG funding
    • Number of jobs saved for the Center as a result of RCDG funding
    • Number of groups who are not legal entities assisted
    • Number of businesses that are not cooperatives assisted
    • Number of cooperatives assisted
    • Number of businesses incorporated that are not cooperatives
    • Number of cooperatives incorporated
 

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IRS Opens Application Period for Volunteer Income Assistance Tax Program Grants


The IRS has announced a funding opportunity today with the opening of the application period for eligible organizations to administer/operate the Volunteer Income Assistance Tax Program. In the past, a number of American Job Centers have provided their customer with this service.

The IRS provides grants to organizations to achieve the following program objectives:

  • Enable the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program to extend services to underserved populations in hardest-to-reach areas, both urban and non-urban;

  • Increase the capacity to file returns electronically;

  • Heighten quality control;

  • Enhance training of volunteers; and

  • Improve significantly the accuracy rate of returns prepared at VITA sites.

The VITA Grant program supplements the work already being done in the VITA Program by providing support to help organizations grow their existing programs.

Applications are due by June 2, 2014.

See http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4671.pdf
 

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Announces New Director for the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship


U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker has recently announced the appointment of Julie Lenzer Kirk, an award-winning entrepreneur and advocate, as the new Director of the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Housed within the Economic Development Administration, the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship works to foster a more innovative U.S. economy focused on turning new ideas and inventions into new products and technologies that spur job growth and competitiveness and promote economic development.

Ms. Kirk most recently served as the Executive Director of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE), an initiative of the Howard County Economic Development Authority. As the leader of the MCE, she worked closely with businesses and entrepreneurs across the state to help them develop strategies to grow and succeed. Ms. Kirk is also the co-founder of Startup Maryland, a regional chapter of the Startup America Partnership, a national network of communities dedicated to advancing the success of American startups. She is also the co-founder and former CEO of the Path Forward Center for Entrepreneurship, a non-profit organization she started to help women expand economic opportunity by building growth-oriented businesses.

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Census Bureau Releases Beta Version of Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI) Explorer; Solicits Proposals for the Local Employment Dynamics (LED) Partnership Workshop


The Census Bureau has recently released the Beta version of QWI Explorer. QWI Explorer is an innovative new tool that provides comprehensive access to the full depth and breadth of the Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI) dataset in an easy-to-use dashboard interface. The application''s intuitive interface allows for the construction of pivot tables and charts to analyze labor-force indicators such as employment, job creation and destruction, hires, and wages across a wide range of geographies and firm and worker characteristics.

To access the tool, please go to:http://qwiexplorer.ces.census.gov.

For help and documentation, please go to: http://lehd.ces.census.gov/applications/help/qwi_explorer.html.

For comments or questions, please contact CES.QWI.Feedback@census.gov.

 

Education Commission of the States Releases New Brief on Career and Technical Education; Document Examines Current Policy Trends


The Education Commission of the States has recently published a new brief on Career and Technical Education trends.

This issue of The Progress of Education Reform explores recent policy trends intended to expand the number of skilled workers trained to fill high-need labor market shortages, including:

  • Formalizing avenues for business and industry to inform CTE offerings.
  • Blending high school and postsecondary learning opportunities.
  • Incentivizing completion of industry certifications and credentials.
  • Expanding opportunities for internships and apprenticeships.

Education Week notes these highlights:

  • States are approving policies to promote career and technical education at a rapid pace, often encouraging businesses and industries to help shape programs or provide internships, according to a recent report from the Education Commission of the States.

  • In a 50-state survey, the Commission found that at least 78 substantive policy changes were made in 2013 by states to promote career and technical education, an area of study once known as vocational education, and now often called "CTE" for short. Those policies came in the form of legislation, state board rules, and executive orders designed to strengthen workforce development. One of the factors driving policymakers' interest is their conviction that high-skilled workers are needed for states to compete in the global economy.
 

Aspen Institute Names Partners in Ascend Network; Participating Groups Identified in 'Policy,' 'Postsecondary Education Employment Pathways" and "Social Capital"


Ascend at the Aspen Institute has recently announced the launch of the Aspen Institute Ascend Network, a new network of organizations using two-generation approaches to disrupt poverty and create economic mobility for families. Through the Ascend Network, the Aspen Institute will invest $1.2 million in wide-reaching policy and practice innovations to increase families’ educational success and economic security. The initial 58 organizations, selected from 24 states and the District of Columbia, represent the leading edge of a national movement around two-generation approaches. Two-generation approaches look at the whole family’s needs and provide opportunities for children and their parents together.

The Aspen Institute identified these top 50+ organizations through a highly selective national competition. More than 250 organizations applied to join the Network and receive funding from the Aspen Institute Ascend Fund. The selected organizations range from community colleges seeking to better serve student parents and their children, to early childhood centers engaging parents in pathways to employment, to two-generation partnerships spearheaded by Promise Neighborhoods, United Ways, and women’s foundations. They join the Ascend Fellows, anchor members of the Network and pioneers in solutions for families.

See the complete list of Ascend Network members

Visit ascend.aspeninstitute.org/network

 

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ETA Seeks Comments on Extension of the Unemployment Insurance State Quality Service Plan Planning (SQSP) and Reporting Guidelines


The State Quality Service Plan (SQSP) represents an approach to the unemployment insurance performance management and planning process that allows for an exchange of information between the federal and state partners to enhance the ability of the program to reflect the joint commitment to performance excellence and client-centered services.

As part of UI Performs, a comprehensive performance management system implemented in 1995 for the UI program, the SQSP is the principal vehicle that state UI agencies use to plan, record and manage program improvement efforts as they strive for excellence in service. The SQSP, which serves as the State Plan for the UI program, also serves as the grant document through which states receive federal UI administrative funding. The statutory basis for the SQSP is Title III, Section 302 of the Social Security Act, which authorizes the Secretary of Labor to provide funds to administer the UI programs, and Sections 303 (a) (8) and (9) which govern the expenditures of those funds. The SQSP represents an approach to tie program performance with the budget and planning process.

The Employment and Training Administration is seeking public comment on the SQSP by June 30. The April 29 FEDERAL REGISTER provides full background and summarizes the desired focus for public comment.

 

ETA Seeks Comments on New Information Collection in Support of Unemployment Insurance Supplemental Budget Request Activities


The Employment and Training Administration is soliciting comments concerning the new collection of data on the ETA 9165, Supplemental Budget Request Activities. The new ETA 9165 will be used by the National and regional offices to monitor the progress of State Workforce Agencies in successfully implementing projects funded through Supplemental Budget Requests. This information will include the funded project title and purpose, the project timeline and milestones, and a narrative description of the project implementation status. It will also include explanations of any delays in implementation, proposals for addressing any problems that caused the delay and new project timelines if applicable, a self-reported designation of the implementation status (i.e. complete/ahead of schedule/on schedule/or behind schedule), and a discussion of identified technical assistance needs for the successful completion of the project.

The April 29 FEDERAL REGISTER provides complete background and instructions for the submission of comments

 

Department of Education Publishes FFO for the 'Project Prevent" Grant Program; Resources Targeted at Schools with Pervasive Violence


The Project Prevent Grant Program provides grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) to increase their capacity to help schools in communities with pervasive violence to better address the needs of affected students and to break the cycle of violence.

The Department of Education has published a Federal Funding Opportunity notice in the April 29 FEDERAL REGISTER. The Department identifies $9,750,000 to fund approximately 20 awards with a range of $250,000 to $1,000,000 (and an estimated average size of $487,500).

Local Education Agencies, including charter schools that are considered LEAs under State law, are eligible to apply.

 

EDA Launches Redesigned Website with Additional Content and Improved Navigation; Provides Update on i6 Green Challenge Grantees


The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has recently re-launched its website: www.eda.gov. The redesigned website provides improved functionality and benefits for users including easier navigation with links to the most useful pages, more case studies and access to a state-by-state resources directory.

EDA conducted research and analysis to help the agency identify and understand how its stakeholders need to use the site. The new site includes quick links to the pages most in demand and provides prospective EDA applicants with easily accessible information on the application process, best practices and case studies. The state-by-state resources directory provides critical local resources including EDA''s regional office contacts, state government and regional planning contacts and contacts for organizations providing local technical assistance and economic development planning.

The website also connects visitors to EDA's social media outlets, ensuring that the agency's stakeholders can be connected to the latest news and opportunities.

EDA's April 2014 newsletter contains a number of items of interest to the workforce community, including an update on the activities and progress of the i6 Green Challenge grantees.

 

Application Period Now Open for Harvard Kennedy School's 'Innovations in American Government' Awards


Applications are now being accepted for the $100,000 Innovations in American Government Awards. Offered by Harvard Kennedy School's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, the Innovations Award is the nation's premier award for the public sector. It recognizes programs that demonstrate creative and effective government at its best.

All units of government - federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial - from all policy areas are eligible to apply for recognition.

This year, the Ash Center is also offering the Roy and Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government, a special Innovations Award that will recognize government-led innovations that demonstrate novel and effective approaches to increasing public engagement and participation in the governance of towns, cities, states, and the nation. The top winner of the Innovations in American Government Award and the winner of the Roy and Lila Ash Award will each receive a $100,000 grant to support replication and dissemination activities in 2015. Top finalists will also receive monetary grants.

Applications and additional information are available at www.innovationsaward.harvard.edu

Applications are due by June 20, 2014.

 

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Economic Inclusion: New Research Examines Financial Capability-Building Strategies for Low-Wage Workers


Louisa Quittman is the Director of Financial Education in the Office of Consumer Policy at the United States Department of the Treasury. Her blog post appears on the CFED website.

At Treasury, we are working on many fronts to both increase financial access and promote the financial capability of American households. It is clear that these objectives are overlapping and interrelated-promoting financial capability through informed decision-making often requires individuals have access to safe and high quality financial products. Given this overlap, Treasury recently supported research on the effect of pairing increased financial access with financial counseling in order to test how these tools might inform financial decision-making.

With support from Treasury, the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (CFS) and the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) developed a pilot program that paired access to a basic checking account with an average of one to two hours of financial counseling for a population of adults who were transitioning off of public benefits in New York City. All 1,034 study participants were offered safe, affordable bank accounts with direct deposit, and half were also offered free one-on-one financial counseling with trained providers through the City''s Financial Empowerment Centers.

The pilot allowed researchers to examine the impact of the financial counseling on participants' financial capability, including credit history, financial behavior, and attitudes. Overall, the research found that participants who received the one-on-one counseling were more likely to stay current on debt payments at the six and 12-month follow-ups. Moreover, the results demonstrated that integrating access to accounts into the transitional workforce program dramatically increased the banked status of the population. Over the course of the study, the percentage of participants who reported being banked moved from one-third at baseline to almost 60 percent at six months, and more than half still reported being banked at 12 months.

The study also examined how financial empowerment services can effectively be integrated into an existing workforce program. For example, the pilot provided access to a checking account with no minimum monthly balance, and other features designed to be helpful to low-income workers; additionally, accounts could be opened at the job site by bank employees. There was a higher than expected level of take up and continued use of such accounts. Programs working with clients in financial transition such as transitional employment, welfare-to-work, youth aging out of foster care and prisoner re-entry programs might achieve stronger outcomes if their clients are given tools to better manage their money, improve their credit scores, and plan their financial futures. These findings may be useful to other employers of unbanked, low-wage workers.

Treasury will use the findings of the pilot as it considers policies to help people manage their money, transition back into the workforce, and move up the economic ladder. We also plan to share the findings with the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans, and our partner federal agencies in the Financial Literacy and Education Commission.

 

Promising the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income: Department of Education Announces Cooperative Agreement Opportunity to Provide Technical Assistance to Six Model Demonstration Projects


Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Social Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Labor.

PROMISE was created to foster improved health, education, and post-secondary outcomes for children ages 14-16 who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), as well as their families. The primary focus of the initiative is to support improved coordination of various services, such as those available through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants program, Medicaid health and home and community based services, Job Corps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Workforce Investment Act programs. PROMISE also seeks to facilitate the increased use of such services, ensuring that families are tied into programs for which they might be eligible, but are not yet participating.

In FY 2013, the Department of Education funded six three-year model demonstration projects (MDPs) with an option for two additional years based on performance, for a total of five years under the PROMISE program. The purpose of this priority is to provide

The Department has announced it has reserved $2,000,000 to fund a single cooperative agreement to provide technical assistance to assist MDPs in the implementation of their projects and to increase their capacity to improve services and supports to child SSI recipients and their families.

In cataloguing various imperatives for TA, the Department notes, in part: "TA is necessary to assist MDPs in meeting the requirement that they establish formal partnerships in their respective States among agencies and organizations involved in implementing services and supports for child SSI recipients and their families. TA in this area would assist MDPs in forming effective partnerships across multiple stakeholders, coordinating and managing systems across agencies, and supporting a shared leadership approach with interactions coalescing around issues, relevant participation, and collaboration."

Eligible Applicants are State educational agencies; local educational agencies (LEAs), including public charter schools that operate as LEAs and receive funding under Part B of IDEA; IHEs; other public agencies; private nonprofit organizations; outlying areas; freely associated States; Indian tribes or tribal organizations; and for-profit organizations.

The April 21, 2014 FEDERAL REGISTER provides complete background and instructions for application development.

 

Department of Commerce Re-Launches Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships; Announces Availability of 'Community Development Resource Toolkit"


The U.S. Department of Commerce has recently announced the re-launch of its Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, one of 13 federal agency offices under the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Housed within the Office of the Secretary, the Center serves to connect community- and faith-based organizations to Commerce resources and programs, engage a diverse array of stakeholders in the work of the agency, and promote economic development and job creation through local partnerships.

In direct alignment with the Department's "Open for Business Agenda," the Center has created Commerce's first-ever "Community Development Resource Toolkit," which highlights how community-based organizations can utilize Commerce Department programs to promote local-level economic development. The Center has also revamped its website and will begin a "Commerce in the Community" blog series highlighting the many ways in which local business, nonprofit and religious leaders are partnering with Commerce to make a positive impact at the local level. Additionally, the Center will begin a series of place-based convenings this summer, focused on connecting communities with Commerce Department programs and resources, while also promoting local partnerships around skills and workforce development.

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