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Notice inviting proposals for Selected Demonstration Project High-Risk Youth and Adults (SGA/DFA 00-101)

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Employment and Training Administration

AGENCIES: Employment and Training Administration, Department of Labor

ACTION: Notice inviting proposals for Selected Demonstration Project High-Risk Youth and Adults.

THIS NOTICE CONTAINS ALL OF THE NECESSARY INFORMATION AND FORMS NEEDED TO APPLY FOR GRANT FUNDING.

SUMMARY

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) redefines the nature of youth and adult programming efforts within the nation's workforce development system by focusing on a systematic approach that offers both youth and adults a broad array of coordinated services. WIA provides for high quality learning, developing leadership skills among youth, and preparing both youth and adults for entry into employment, re-employment (for those who have had prior employment), further education or training, and long-term follow-up services to promote employment retention and career advancement.

The primary focus under this solicitation will be to examine approaches that assure that "high-risk" youth and adults are provided with quality workforce investment services that address their unique needs through the WIA system. High-risk individuals may be described as those who have multiple environmental, social and/or educational barriers to becoming employed. This population includes individuals who are homeless, recovering addicts, those who generally reside in communities of high poverty and unemployment, or who are involved in gangs or the criminal justice system. In the Conference Agreement for the Fiscal Year 1999 Appropriation for Title IV of JTPA, "high-risk" individuals are those described as: "including displaced homemakers and older workers, and those adults or youth who are under the supervision of the criminal justice or penal systems, or who are living in foster care, homeless facilities, and public or assisted housing. Barriers to employment faced by these individuals include homelessness, addiction recovery, transportation, criminal records or reentry from prison or other justice-related or social service-related institutions."

High-risk individuals are not always aware of services provided through the employment and training system. The work to be conducted under this solicitation seeks to further improve the array of services authorized by WIA to reach and serve individuals who may not otherwise have access to information regarding WIA services. This solicitation also seeks the provision of quality job training and related services including follow-up services tailored to the interests and aptitudes of the client population that facilitates at-risk youth and adults returning from various institutions to their communities.

Further, as WIA emphasizes the need to ensure that training services be directly linked to job opportunities in their local area or may be linked to jobs in another area to which the individual is willing to relocate, these grants will need to demonstrate that services under WIA are in fact linked to local employment opportunities. As a result, recipients of these grants will be expected to build connections to local workforce investment systems, such as linkages with Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIBs) / Private Industry Councils (PICs), while demonstrating approaches that ensure that "high-risk" youth and adults are provided with quality workforce development services.

For the purpose of this solicitation, quality workforce investment services are defined as those services (including training) that can provide high risk individuals with improved long-term employability prospects and increased earnings. According to Winning the Skills Race (1998), a report compiled by the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, competition for low-skilled occupations has escalated as jobs today increasingly demand higher skill levels. Thus, any job training program to prepare new labor market entrants or reentrants for employment--even individuals with multiple barriers to employment--should emphasize the concept of high (or advanced) skills training. As a result, this solicitation will also seek to provide skills training for high risk youth and adults in new and growing occupations in information technology and related areas.

DATES: The closing date for receipt of applications is February 4, 2000. Applications must be received by 4 p.m. eastern standard time. No exceptions to the mailing and hand-delivery conditions set forth in this notice will be granted. Applications that do not meet the conditions set forth in this notice will not be considered. Telefacsimile (FAX) applications will not be honored.

ADDRESSES: Applications must be mailed or hand-delivered to: U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Division of Federal Assistance, Attention: Denise Roach, Reference: SGA/DFA -101; 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Room S-4203; Washington, D.C. 20210. Your application must specify on the cover sheet (See Appendix "A") which project areas you are applying as outlined in this solicitation. Failure to clearly identify this information on the cover sheet may be grounds for rendering your application non-responsive.

HAND DELIVERED PROPOSALS: If proposals are hand delivered, they must be delivered at the designated place by 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time, February 4, 2000. All overnight mail will be considered to be hand delivered and must be received at the designated place by specified closing date and time. Telegraphed and/or faxed proposals will not be honored. Failure to adhere to the above instructions will be a basis for a determination of nonresponsiveness.

LATE PROPOSALS: A proposal received at the designated office after the exact time specified for receipt will not be considered unless it is received before the award is made and it:

  • Was sent by registered or certified mail not later than the fifth calendar day before the date specified for receipt of applications (e.g., an offer submitted in response to a solicitation requiring receipt of applications by the 20th of the month must be mailed by the 15th);
  • Was sent by U.S. Postal Service Express Mail Next Day Service, Post Office to addressee, not later than 5 p.m. at the place of mailing two working days prior to the date specified for the proposals. The term "working days" excludes weekends and U.S. Federal holidays.

The only acceptable evidence that an application was in accordance with these requirements is a printed, stamped, or otherwise placed impression (exclusive of a postage meter machine impression) that is readily identifiable without further action as having been supplied or affixed on the date of the mailing by employees of the U.S. Postal Service.

WITHDRAWAL OF PROPOSALS: A grant application may be withdrawn by written notice or telegram (including mailgram) received at any time before the awarding of a grant. An application may be withdrawn in person by the grant applicant, or by an authorized representative of the grant applicant if the representative's identity is made known and the representative signs a receipt for the proposal.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions should be faxed to Denise Roach, Grants Management Specialist, Division of Federal Assistance at (202) 219-8739 (this is not a toll-free number). All inquires should include the SGA/DFA-101 and a contact name, fax and phone number. This solicitation will also be published on the Internet, on the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) Home Page at http://www.doleta.gov. Award notifications will also be published on the ETA Home Page.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Funding for these awards is authorized under the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), Title IV, Pilots and Demonstrations Programs. This is the last year of funding under JTPA prior to the transition to the new programs authorized by the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998. For this reason, grants will be awarded on a one time only basis, for a period of 24 months. No option years are included as part of this solicitation. Grantees will be expected to leverage grant funds with other resources available through supplemental public or private in-kind or cash commitments. In addition to a roughly one-for-one leveraging requirement during the grant period, grantees will be expected to strive to sustain the projects beyond the Federal funding phase of the grant. The projects are intended to help expand the reach of the new workforce investment system, particularly in their local communities, and therefore, every effort should be made by grantees to coordinate and link project activities with local WIBs established under WIA.

This announcement consists of three sections**:

A.) Capacity building grants to develop models for use by States and local boards on how to increase the capacity to serve "high-risk" individuals in their state or local areas.

B.) Direct service grants to demonstrate how local, state, or national organizations can provide services specifically targeting the high-risk youth population to ensure that the workforce development system provides services to this population in their state or local area.

C.) Direct service grants to demonstrate how local, state, or national organizations can provide services specifically targeting the high-risk adult population to ensure that the workforce development system provides services to this population in their state or local area.

**NOTE: Applicants are only allowed to compete for one of the three sections of this solicitation. Thus, an applicant can only submit a proposal for either section A, section B, or section C. Applicants who submit proposals for more than one section under this solicitation will not be eligible to receive funding under this SGA.

PROPOSAL SUBMISSION: Applicants must submit four (4) copies of their proposal, with original signatures. The proposal must consist of two (2) distinct parts, Part I and Part II.

Part I of the proposal shall contain the Standard Form SF 424, "Application for Federal Assistance" (appendix B) and a "Budget Information Sheet" (appendix C).

All copies of the SF 424 MUST have original signatures of the legal entity applying for grant funding. Applicants shall indicate on the (SF) 424 the organization's IRS status, if applicable. According to the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, section 18, an organization described in section 501 (c) (4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 which engages in lobbying activities shall not be eligible for the receipt of federal funds constituting an award, grant, or loan.

The applicant's financial proposal shall contain Standard Form 424, "Application for Federal Assistance" (Appendix B) and the "Budget Information Sheet (Appendix C) for the 24 month initial grant period. Both of these forms are attached. The budget shall include on a separate page a detailed breakout of each proposed budget line item, including the cost or estimated cost for the outside evaluator selected. For each budget line item that includes funds or in- kind contributions from a source other than grant funds, identify the source, the amount, and any restrictions that may apply to these funds. The Federal Domestic Assistance Catalogue Number is 17.249.

Part II must contain a technical proposal that demonstrates the applicant's capabilities in accordance with the Statement of Work contained in this document. A grant application is limited to twenty-five (25) double-spaced, single side, 8.5-inch x 11-inch pages with 1-inch margins. Text type will be 12 points or larger.

Applications that do not meet these requirements will not be considered. Each application must include a Timeline outlining project activities and an Executive Summary not to exceed two pages. The Timeline and the Executive Summary do not count against the 25-page limit. The 25-page limitation does include attachments. No cost data or reference to price should be included in the technical proposal.

All applicants must include a certification prepared within the last six months, attesting to the adequacy of the entity's fiscal management and accounting systems to account for and safeguard Federal funds properly. The Certification must be signed by a Certified Public Accountant.

FUNDING/PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE:

Approximately $9 million will be available for funding demonstration projects under this solicitation. This SGA consists of three distinct sections: A.) grants for capacity building to develop models for serving "high risk" adults and youth. B.) grants for the provision of direct services to "high-risk" youth and C.) grants to provide direct services to "high-risk" adults. We anticipate funding up to three (3) capacity building grants, not to exceed $500,000 per grant and up to nine (9) direct services grants, not to exceed $1 million per grant and within the limit of the available $9 million. Within the direct services component of this SGA, we anticipate awarding up to five (5) grants for projects serving youth and up to four (4) grants for projects serving adults. The period of performance for these grants will be for 24 months from the date the grant is awarded. Because the Department views these grants as initial start-up funding, it is anticipated that these awards will be one-time grants with no provision of an option year.

REPORTING AND EVALUATION:

During the demonstration project, an outside evaluator selected by the grantee and approved by DOL will be required to conduct an analysis of the implementation of the project and to assess the processes utilized at each site. For direct service grants only, the outside evaluator will also be required to evaluate each site using the following criteria: participant outcome levels in terms of their entry in employment, job retention rate, earnings, and level of educational and/or skill attainment from the time the participant entered the project until the completion of the demonstration. For both capacity building and direct services grants, each outside evaluator will also be responsible for the preparation of a report which includes lessons learned and best practices based upon the operational experiences of the particular project.

Grantees will be required to submit quarterly and final status reports and ensure that a final report is reviewed by DOL not later than 30 days prior to the termination date of the grant.

STATEMENT OF WORK FOR HIGH-RISK YOUTH AND ADULTS

BACKGROUND

The Conference Agreement for Fiscal Year 1999 appropriation for Title IV of JTPA set aside $9 million for a competition to "provide training and related services aimed at high-risk youth and adults." This set-aside is also intended to provide support for a wide-range of organizations, working in collaboration with the WIA system, to plan and implement services that address the needs of "high-risk" populations.

Nationally, the overall unemployment rate is at its lowest level in almost 30 years, but in the midst of this broad prosperity, there continue to be communities that suffer high levels of unemployment, poverty, and related economic and social problems. "High risk" adults and youth living in inner-city and rural areas of high poverty, crime, drug abuse, and school dropout rates including communities that are isolated (e.g., Appalachia, American Indian reservations and migrant and farm laborers) face considerable barriers to succeeding in life. High-risk individuals may be described as those who have multiple environmental, social and/or educational barriers to becoming employed. This population includes individuals who are homeless, recovering addicts, those who generally reside in communities of high poverty and unemployment, or who are involved in gangs or the criminal justice system. In the Conference Agreement for the Fiscal Year 1999 Appropriation for Title IV of JTPA, "high-risk" individuals are those described as: " including displaced homemakers and older workers, and those adults or youth who are under the supervision of the criminal justice or penal systems, or who are living in foster care, homeless facilities, and public or assisted housing. Barriers to employment faced by these individuals include homelessness, addiction recovery, transportation, criminal records or reentry from prison or other justice-related or social service-related institutions."

When individuals with multiple barriers to employment and/or returning to school sought assistance through the local employment and training system under the "old" employment and training, they easily became discouraged when faced with the often time consuming but necessary administrative tasks that needed to be accomplished before any services could be provided, if the services were even available. The local employment and training programs under this system often did not work for these individuals. As a result, many unemployed and/or disadvantaged individuals have become clearly at-risk of becoming (or have become) permanently lost to the legitimate economy. However, the "new" workforce development system established under WIA will include a greater focus on meeting the specific needs of individual customers with strong accountability requirements to gauge how well it is reaching the needs of the community at the local level.

The purpose of this demonstration project is twofold. First, the capacity building grants under this procurement are to develop and establish "models" for use by States and local boards on how to increase in their local area the capacity to provide relevant services to serve "high risk" youth and adults through their workforce development systems. Second, direct service grants under this procurement are to demonstrate how local, state, or national organizations can provide services to the "high-risk" individuals to ensure that they receive quality workforce development services including skills training in the growing technology fields and other supports necessary through the workforce development system.

ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS:

For Capacity Building Grants

Capacity building grants under this solicitation will be limited to State or local public agencies, and public and private non-profit organizations demonstrating an ability to develop models or interventions that can provide technical assistance to other public entities to increase their capacity to serve high risk individuals under WIA. In situations where individuals or organizations may be unincorporated, prospective bidders should gain the endorsement of the local WIB, local PIC, or the chief elected official regarding project coordination and management/oversight of Federal grant funds.

To demonstrate the ability to provide assistance towards increasing the capacity to provide services to high risk youth and adults in the workforce development system, applicants for capacity building must be located in 1.) urban areas with pockets of high poverty or unemployment, idle youth and adults, gangs, homelessness or criminal activity; 2.) rural areas outside of the county seat with high levels of poverty, homelessness, worker dislocation, criminal activity, or gang type activity; or 3.) workers in a migrant community, or area with an American Indian Reservation where little transportation exists.

For Direct Service Grants (Youth and Adults)

Grants for funds to provide direct services to high risk youth or high risk adults will be limited to State or local public agencies, and public and private non-profit organizations demonstrating an ability to work with the target population for this solicitation, "high-risk" youth and adults. In situations where individuals or organizations may be unincorporated, prospective bidders should gain the endorsement of the local WIB, local PIC, or the local elected official (LEO) regarding project coordination and management/oversight of Federal grant funds.

To show the ability to work with "high-risk" youth, an eligible applicant for a direct service grant must outline previous experience working with high-risk youth which may include providing residential treatment programs for youth involved in the criminal justice system, creating job opportunities for youth or are out of school and at-risk, etc.

To show the ability to work with "high-risk" adults, an eligible applicant for this section must outline previous experience working with high-risk adults which may include providing workforce development services that are directly linked to job opportunities in their local area, including apprenticeships, on-the-job training (OJT), and other work-based interventions, preparing displayed homeworkers or seniors for jobs in information technology, etc.

PROJECT SUMMARY

SECTION A: CAPACITY BUILDING GRANTS

I. Purpose of Capacity Building Grants

ETA anticipates awarding approximately three (3) capacity building grants under this SGA. The total estimated cost of each grant should not exceed $500,000. These grants are to develop models for use by States and local boards that will provide interventions to increase assistance to high risk individuals who face multiple barriers to employment in their local areas. The primary purpose in awarding these grants are to build service capacity into the workforce investment system that will expand the range and quality of services available to prepare more 'high risk" youth and adults for "high-quality" employment; i.e., employment where there are career development ladders that enable a worker to obtain livable wages.

Entities applying under this component of the solicitation must demonstrate a strong focus on developing models for use by States and local boards on how to increase the capacity to serve "high-risk" youth and adults within the WIA system.

II. Rating Criteria for Awards/Selection Process for Capacity-Building Grants

A careful review of applications will be made by a technical panel who will evaluate the applications against the criteria listed below. The panel results are advisory in nature and not binding on the Grant Officer. The Government may elect to award the grant with or without discussions with the offeror. In situations without discussions, an award will be based on the offeror's signature on the (SF) 424, which constitutes a binding offer. The Government also reserves the right to make awards under this section of the solicitation in a manner that ensures geographical balance. The Grant Officer will make final award decisions based upon what is in the best interest of the Government.

  • What are the needs in the geographic area to be assisted? (15 PTS.) The applicant should provide a general description of the unit of government which the project will assist. Most important, the applicant should provide the estimated size of the "high-risk" population based on available data taken from the 1990 Census, school records, penal or criminal justice system records, social services records of homeless, assisted housing, or foster care. The applicant should also describe the local labor market and the types of jobs that are in demand, the type of training available that address the demand in the area and other services available to the unit to be assisted by their proposed project.
  • How will the proposed capacity building be used to enhance the capacity to provide Workforce Investment Act services for this population? (45 PTS.) The applicant should describe in detail how their assistance will enhance the capacity of the system design authorized under the Workforce Investment Act to increase the employment rate of one or more groups within the high-risk population as defined in the Statement of Work. The framework for the proposed capacity building model should provide for (as applicable) individual needs assessment; individual service strategies; preparation for employment; job placement; long-term follow-up services; linkages with the workforce development system, human services, education, and/or transportation services. It is highly encouraged that developed models focus on interventions that provide training in new and growing occupations in technological fields including information technology, telecommunications, and other fields in which technology skills are critical parts of the jobs emerging in the regional labor market. Training models may also include basic skills and pre-apprenticeship training (as appropriate).
  • Individual assessment and capacity for strategies. The applicant should discuss how they plan to develop in their models various strategies to actively recruit the high-risk population rather than waiting for them to apply. If applicable, individual service strategies should allow for flexibility in meeting the needs of each individual participant. Most importantly the applicant should discuss the length of time they will test a model before deciding if it does or does not provide appropriate technical assistance and implementing; if necessary, another strategy which will then be tested for success.
  • Program elements. The applicant should show how it plans to enhance the capacity of the WIA system to serve high-risk youth and adults. It should include innovative strategies of services that have been or are being developed to address the barriers to employment for this population and the flexibility of services to meet the needs, interests and aptitudes of the client population and facilitate high-risk youth and adults moving from dependency to independent living in their communities.
  • Follow-up services. As required by WIA, the applicant should discuss in its proposal the capacity to provide for longer term follow-up services in their models. The applicant should discuss longer-term activities that can be sustained once the funding under this solicitation is no longer available, and how these activities will be sustained.
  • How will this project be managed to ensure that quality strategies are developed and positive outcomes are achieved? (25 PTS.) The applicant's proposal should address here the management structure of the project, including the lead agency; core staff; how other agencies and service providers will be involved; and staff expertise. In particular, the applicant should discuss the following issues in their proposal:
    • Core staff. The project should have a project director who is dedicated full time to the project and who has a background in providing technical assistance to meet the needs of high-risk population, and developing strategies for addressing its needs. Core staff should also include individuals who have experience with assisting entities working with high risk youth and adults and familiarity with the local employment and training system under the Job Training Partnership Act programs and changes to the system under the WIA.
    • Role of local Workforce Investment Board and Youth Council.
    • How engaged will the local Board be in this project? Will it provide both programmatic and/or fiduciary oversight of the project? Will the project director be an employee of the Board or of some other lead agency? Will the Board or some other lead agency be ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the project? Will there be a role for the new Youth Council required by the WIA?
    • Evaluation / Measuring Results (15 PTS.) The applicant should explain what mechanisms are in place for reporting progress on a quarterly basis and for capturing and reporting on the results of project interventions. (Quarterly reports, an annual report and final report summarizing progress, are required for projects under this SGA). The applicant should describe the specific evaluation reports and other deliverables it plans to provide ETA as documentation of progress and results in terms of improved outcomes for the entity being assisted. As the applicant is responsible for hiring an outside independent evaluator for their project, the applicant should also discuss how they plan to choose an evaluator to conduct a thorough evaluation of its demonstration project and provide (if known), the name of the organization that will conduct the project evaluation along with a description of that organization's evaluation capabilities and their previous experience in conducting similar evaluations.

SECTION B: DIRECT SERVICES GRANTS FOR YOUTH

I. Purpose of Direct Services Grants for youth:

Youth demonstration direct service projects will be expected to link with and build on resources available in the community, including human, educational, workforce development (through collaboration with local WIBs/PICs) and transportation services. These projects should prepare high-risk youth for high quality employment utilizing core and intensive services under WIA in addition to training services, as appropriate.

As high-risk youth face special barriers to employment, they typically require support services such as counseling, as well as training education opportunities which may facilitate their reintroduction into the community and improve their prospects for making contributions to society as productive citizens. Youth eligible to participate in this demonstration project range between the ages of 14 and 21.

The youth direct service demonstration project grants must utilize existing community resources in order to attain their specific goals, including the achievement of training, education, and employment objectives; the transition of youth to independent living within the community; and a reduction in recidivism.

The service strategies for "high-risk" youth projects should focus on providing assistance to promote staying in school, returning to school, training for a job in a "demand" occupation, employment or providing assistance to establish successful independent living. The youth projects should experiment with various services and systems, different levels and types of outreach, flexible but high quality support services, training and educational instruction, linkages with other service providing institutions including the WIA system, and support for employers and/or educational institutions to address the needs of the "high risk" youth population.

The following are some illustrative concepts for projects that could be awarded under this subsection. However, the Department does not guarantee funding any of the concepts outlined below, and other possible strategies and approaches for serving at-risk youth will be given full consideration.

  • Concept A - Projects could assist in the assimilation and adjustment process into society of youth and young adults involved with the criminal justice or penal systems. These high-risk youth face special barriers to employment and training and may require support services such as counseling and education opportunities which may facilitate their reintroduction and improve their prospects for making contributions to society as productive citizens. These grants could be for the development, refinement, or expansion of youth day treatment centers which can offer an alternative to residential programs and demonstrate a cost-effective way to provide supportive services to juveniles without removing them from their communities. These projects should utilize existing community resources in order to attain their specific goals, including the achievement of training, education, and employment objectives; the transition of youth to independent living within the community; and a reduction in recidivism.
  • Concept B - Projects could provide services for youth who are transitioning to independent living within the community from either foster care, homeless centers, or the criminal justice and penal systems. These projects would be intended to aid the adjustment of participants returning to their communities to enable them to have the necessary supports to improve their prospects for employment and education opportunities. Job training and placement and other support services such as counseling might be a part of the services provided. These might include education, training, employment, social and health services, counseling, mentoring, training in budgeting resources and time, making decisions/choices, being responsible, paying bills on time, relationships with faith based organizations in the community, contributing to the community through volunteer work, etc.
  • Concept C- Projects could address the needs of out-of-school and high-risk youth who reside in a community of high crime, poverty, and high levels of drug abuse. The community would have to be small, say less than 10,000 residents as indicated in the 1990 Census. This project might be designed to increase the academic achievements, community services activities, elimination in crime and drug activities, and increase in employment. It may also include life skills, job behavior training, and proper tutoring and counseling, including family counseling (if needed). The concept might establish partnerships and linkages with other youth service providers of the community including the local school, faith-based organizations, State, local, and other Federally-funded youth initiatives. Referrals might be made when needed to local health facilities, drug treatment centers and similar organizations. Job training could relate to the available employment in the local labor market and have full employer participation in the development of curriculum and job opportunities for participants. This concept may provide exposure to colleges, arts, crafts, culture, sports and recreation, and other supportive youth development activities. Bonds could also be made available through the Federal Bonding Program for youth with criminal records.
  • Concept D - Projects could provide long-term (up to 2 years) training in technological fields. The training curriculum (module) could be supported by several high-tech industries that are seeking employees in the fields in which participants are to be trained. The training could be provided to youth and young adults who have had little or no opportunity to be involved in this type of training. This program might develop relationships with employers who would contribute to this program through matching funds or in-kind by providing instructors, lecturers, on-the-job training opportunities, and job shadowing opportunities to all participants and certifying the training and instructors. In this concept, the project could also provide instructions in life skills and job skills behavior, mentoring, tutoring, and other case management services. The success of this project might be measured by the number of high-tech industries involved and the placement of the participants in unsubsidized jobs.

Grants awarded under this section (both youth and adult direct service grants) may also focus more specifically on providing training in Information Technology (IT) occupations or training in other new and/or growing occupations in technological areas that are critical parts of jobs emerging in the grantees' labor market. For youth, a project focusing on training in IT or other new / growing occupations awarded under this grant should train no less that 50 participants who are either high school dropouts or high school graduates between the ages of 18-21. For adults, a project focusing on training in IT or other new/growing occupations under this grant should also train no less than 50 participants from such populations as welfare recipients, low income seniors, displaced homeworkers, etc. to fill identified IT skills shortages.

SECTION C: DIRECT SERVICE GRANTS FOR ADULTS

I. Purpose of Direct Services Grants for adults:

Adult demonstration direct service projects will be expected to link with and build on resources available in the community, including human, educational, workforce development (through collaboration with local WIBs/PICs) and transportation services. These projects should prepare high-risk youth for high quality employment utilizing core and intensive services under WIA in addition to training services, as appropriate.

As the problems faced by disadvantaged adult Americans and others seeking to achieve self-sufficiency are multi-faceted, the purpose of the adult section of the demonstration will be to ensure that quality job training services are provided to "high-risk" adults that will improve their earnings and retention rates in employment under Title I of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).

This component of the demonstration will encompass a variety of intervention strategies that help "high-risk" adults enter employment enabling them to advance towards high quality jobs with the level of earnings necessary to achieve self- sufficiency. Customized training programs and on-the-job training programs may be important components of these employment strategies. "High quality" employment is defined as jobs in long term, sustainable occupations that have career development ladders and will enable a worker to obtain livable wages.

The objective of grants awarded under this section will be to prepare high-risk adults for "high-quality" jobs by utilizing a combination of both core and intensive services as described under WIA. These demonstration projects should emphasize preparing participants for entry into long-term, sustainable occupations where there are career development ladders, not jobs lacking the need for even basic skills. Thus, the preparation should focus on occupational areas such as information technology, health services, or other occupations (requiring high skills levels) in demand in their local labor market. As WIA emphasizes the need to ensure that training services be directly linked to job opportunities in their local area, the objective of these grants should be to ensure that services are in fact linked to local employment opportunities. As a result, these grants will be expected to build connections to local WIBs / PICs, while examining approaches that demonstrate how "high-risk" adults can be provided with quality workforce development services tailored to their unique individual needs.

For high-risk adults, service strategies should focus on increasing these individuals' employment and earnings through work-based learning interventions such as on-the-job-training (OJT), apprenticeships, or job readiness training, along with occupational skills training and other necessary services based upon the development of an individual employment plan (which itself is an intensive service under WIA). Providing "high risk" adults with training that is directly linked to local employment opportunities is important because it provides low-skilled individuals with a "real world" context for learning "real world" skills. Each grant providing a direct service to adults will provide an opportunity to examine how different combinations of services can best help prepare "high-risk" individuals to obtain "high-quality" employment.

Grants awarded under this section (both youth and adult direct service grants) may also focus more specifically on providing training in Information Technology (IT) occupations or training in other new and/or growing occupations in technological areas that are critical parts of jobs emerging in the grantees' labor market. For youth, a project focusing on training in IT or other new / growing occupations awarded under this grant should train no less that 50 participants who are either high school dropouts or high school graduates between the ages of 18- 21. For adults, a project focusing on training in IT or other new/growing occupations under this grant should also train no less than 50 participants from such populations as welfare recipients, low income seniors, displaced homeworkers, etc. to fill identified IT skills shortages.

II. Rating Criteria for Awards/Selection Process for Direct Service Grants (Youth and Adults)

A careful evaluation of applications will be made by a technical review panel who will evaluate the applications against the criteria listed below. The panel results are advisory in nature and not binding on the Grant Officer. The Government may elect to award grants with or without discussions with the offerors. In situations without discussions, an award will be based on the offeror's signature on the Standard Form (SF) 424, which constitutes a binding offer. The Government reserves the right to make awards under this section of the solicitation to ensure geographical balance. The Grant Officer will make final award decisions based upon what is in the best interests of the Government.

  • Statement of Need (10 PTS.) The applicant should include a brief overview that documents the need for such a project and justifies the approach to be taken, including empirical evidence and appropriate anecdotal experience. The applicant should present the goals of the project and related objectives, and how these are to be achieved through the proposed project. Are the goals and objectives presented observable and measurable, and do they reflect the intended purpose of the project? Finally, the applicant should clearly define the population to be served in terms of its characteristics, including the age and number of participants to be served. The applicant should explain how the population is representative of the target population identified in this SGA. Further, the applicant should detail how the target population will benefit from the services they plan to provide under this demonstration.
  • Service Delivery Approach (40 PTS.) The applicant should discuss their overall approach to the delivery of workforce investment services to the population to be served specified in the Statement of Need. The applicant should demonstrate how they plan to partner with WIBs/PICs in ensuring that the training provided will be for jobs available in their local area. Thus, there should be a discussion of how the applicant plans to ensure that training provided will be for jobs that are in demand in the local labor market. The applicant should outline how it will obtain information on job opportunities in the local labor market area. The applicant should devise a strategy to make sure the training will target occupations which need to be filled by local area employers. The objective of direct service grants is to prepare "high-risk" youth and adults for high-quality jobs. Thus, the applicant should emphasize preparing participants for entry into occupations were there are career development ladders, not low-skilled, short-term jobs (e.g. dishwashers, hamburger cooks, etc.). They should discuss in which high-quality occupational areas (such as the growing information technology or health care fields) they plan to train their program participants, and how the training they provide will prepare participants for jobs in these occupations.
  • Individual assessment and services strategies. The applicant's proposal should discuss how they will use various strategies to actively assess "high-risk" individuals and develop service strategies for each individual. Individual service strategies should allow for flexibility in meeting the needs of each project participant.
  • Program elements. The applicant should utilize innovative strategies to address the barriers to employment for this population and demonstrate the flexibility of services to meet the needs, interests and aptitudes of the population specified in the Statement of Need, and facilitate high-risk youth and adults moving from dependency to independent living in their communities. In addition, the applicant should spell out what exact services they plan to utilize that will help prepare "high-risk" youth and adults for "high quality" employment over the long run. The applicant should discuss specific training activities built into their program including OJT or other work-based training and classroom training that will be established for program participants.
  • Follow-up services. As required by the WIA, longer-term follow-up services must be provided to the participants with projects funded under this SGA. The applicant should discuss what services will be provided to participants during the follow-up period, and how long the follow-up period will typically be. In the proposal, the applicant should describe complementary strategies for long-term follow-up activities. Such a strategy may include "soft-skills" training, i.e., job behavior and life-skills training, conflict resolution, parenting classes, exposure to post-secondary education opportunities, service learning projects including peer mentoring and tutoring, organizational and teamwork training, training in decision-making including determining priorities, citizenship training, budgeting of resources, and regular contact with participants' employers, including assistance in addressing work-related peer support groups.
  • Other Considerations. If applicable, the applicant's proposal should also discuss linkages to vocational training available in a range of occupations that are in demand locally. The applicant's proposal should discuss occupations for which they plan to develop new training opportunities; also the reasons why they selected these occupations, and how employers will be involved in designing the training to meet their needs and in providing on-the-job training and job opportunities for project participants. Finally, the applicant should discuss using bonding when needed and how bonding will be integrated into the overall service strategy. If the applicant plans to use the Federal Bonding Program to assist in placing participants in private sector jobs, the applicant should discuss how they will integrate bonding into their program strategy.
  • Linkages with Key Actors & Sustainability (20 PTS.) The applicant should explain whether or not they have experience working with any component of their local workforce development system, including One Stops and/or WIBs/ PICs. If so, they should explain the extent of the linkages and whether this relationship is expected to be strengthened under this grant. The applicant should discuss here how they will use Workforce Investment Act adult and youth formula funds to complement these grant funds, including, as appropriate, establishing satellite one-stop centers which will make services more accessible to "high-risk" youth and adults. The applicant should discuss the roles of the following organizations as appropriate for youth or adult projects: The juvenile or adult judiciary systems, parole officers, police departments, courts, social service agencies, health service agencies, local foundations, Boys and Girls Clubs, YWCAs and WMCAs, faith-based organizations, community development corporations, and State and locally funded programs and educational agencies. The applicant should also show any linkages with other agencies that serve "high-risk" youth and adults that are community-based, (e.g. U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development programs) and local transportation initiatives. In addition, the applicant should explain how they will leverage and align with other funds or other resources that will contribute to building the foundation for permanent partnerships to continue providing services to 'high-risk" adults or youth (respectively) after funding for this grant expires.
  • Institutional and Staff Capacity (15 PTS.) The applicant should thoroughly describe the proposed management structure of the project, including the lead agency, core staff, and the experience of the lead agency and core staff in working with the target population for that project. They should also demonstrate their ability to provide quality job training to "high-risk" youth and adults, showing clearly the capability to work with individuals who have multiple environmental, social, and/or educational barriers to employment.
  • Core staff. The project should have a project director who is dedicated full-time to the project, and who has experience in serving the needs of the high-risk population, and developing strategies for addressing their needs. Core staff for the project should also include individuals who have experience working with the eligible youth and/or adult population and the local employment and training system under the Job Training Partnership Act programs which preceded the WIA.
  • Staff development activities. The applicant should discuss how they will provide initial training and offer development opportunities to staff who will provide the services to project participants. They should describe the innovative strategies, that will be used in the project, including educational opportunities at local community colleges, on-the-job training, seminars, workshops, etc.
  • Service Delivery Experience. The applicant should discuss if they currently are using or have used interventions that address one or more barriers that help "high-risk" individuals transition into jobs, and what significant improvements to these interventions will be made under this grant opportunity. The applicant should also discuss if they have any past experience in training individuals for high-quality jobs (e.g., occupations such as health care, information technology (IT) specialities).
  • Evaluation / Measuring Results (15 PTS.) The applicant should explain what mechanisms are in place for reporting progress on a quarterly basis and for capturing and reporting on the results of project interventions. (Quarterly reports, an annual report and final report summarizing progress are required for projects funded under this SGA). As the applicant is responsible for hiring an outside independent evaluator, the applicant should also discuss how it plans to choose an evaluator to conduct a thorough evaluation of its demonstration project and (if known), provide the name of the organization that will conduct the project evaluation along with a description of that organization's evaluation capabilities and their previous experience in conducting similar evaluations. The applicant should describe the specific evaluation reports and other deliverables it plans to provide ETA as documentation of the demonstration's progress and results in terms of improved outcomes for demonstration participants.

Signed in Washington, D.C., this 30th day of November, 1999.

Laura Cesario

Grant Officer

Appendix "A" Cover Sheet
Appendix "B" SF 424
Appendix "C" Budget Information Sheet

 

 

 

C O V E R S H E E T

Application for funding under SGA/DFA - 101

"High-Risk Youth and Adults"

Name of Applicant:____________________________________________

Contact Person:_______________________________

Phone Number:________________________________

 

SECTION: (MUST CHECK ONE)

____ Section A - Capacity Building Grants

____ Section B - Direct Services Grants for Youth

____ Section C - Direct Services Grants for Adults