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Older Dislocated Workers Demonstration Program

Billing Code: 4510-30

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Employment and Training Administration

Job Training Partnership Act, Title III, Demonstration

Program: Older Dislocated Workers Demonstration Program

AGENCY: Employment and Training Administration, Labor.

ACTION: Notice of Availability of Funds and Solicitation for Grant Applications (SGA).

SUMMARY: All information required to submit a grant application is contained in this announcement.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Employment and Training Administration (ETA), announces a demonstration program to test the concept that providing services designed to address the specific needs of older workers facing a change in job status will help those individuals find employment that is appropriate to their individual circumstances and that brings satisfaction to those workers and their employers. The program will be funded with Secretary's National Reserve funds appropriated for Title III of the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) and administered in accordance with 29 CFR Part 95 and 97 as applicable.

This notice provides information on the process that eligible entities must use to apply for these demonstration funds and how grantees will be selected. It is anticipated that up to $2.5 million will be available for funding demonstration projects covered by this solicitation, with no award being more than $500,000.

DATES: The closing date for receipt of proposals is May 9, 1997 at 2:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).

ADDRESSES: Applications shall be mailed to: U.S. Department of Labor; Employment and Training Administration; Division of Acquisition and Assistance; Attention: Ms. Mamie D. Williams, Reference: SGA/DAA 97-011; 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Room S-4203; Washington, DC 20210.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mamie D. Williams, Division of Acquisition and Assistance, Telephone: (202) 219-8694 (this is not a toll-free number).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This announcement consists of five parts. Part I describes the authorities and purpose of the demonstration program and identifies demonstration policy. Part II describes the application process and provides guidelines for use in applying for demonstration grants. Part III includes the statement of work for the demonstration projects. Part IV describes the selection process, including the criteria that will be used in reviewing and evaluating applications. Part V discusses the demonstration program evaluation.

Part I. Background

A. Authorities

Section 323 of JTPA (29 U.S.C. 1662b) authorizes the use for demonstration programs of funds reserved under Section 302 of JTPA (29 U.S.C. 1652) and provided by the Secretary for that purpose under Section 322 of JTPA (29 U.S.C. 1662a). Demonstration program grantees shall comply with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations in setting up and carrying out their programs.

B. Purpose

The Dislocated Worker Program provides a wide range of employment and training services to eligible dislocated workers. These services are designed to help them find and qualify for new jobs through an established service delivery network of States and Substate Grantees. This demonstration will test the concept that providing services designed to address the specific needs of older workers who are facing a change in job status will help those individuals find employment that is appropriate to their individual circumstances and that brings satisfaction to those workers and their employers. This demonstration will offer grantees the opportunity to identify needs or combinations of needs that may be peculiar to older dislocated workers, and to develop and deliver training and other services designed to meet those needs. Grantees will also have the opportunity to develop methods of educating employers as to the benefits of employing workers targeted in this demonstration.

The two-fold purpose of this demonstration is to: (1) identify specific employment-related needs of targeted dislocated workers at least 50 years old and (2) identify and test reemployment and retraining services and combinations of services designed to address those needs, so as to meet the demonstration program goals. Those goals are placement of the project participants in jobs related to project services; their satisfaction with project services and with their jobs; their employers' satisfaction with project services and with the participants' work; and identification and collection of information about successful and unsuccessful retraining methods and job placement and retention strategies for the target population.

C. Demonstration Policy

1. Grant Awards

DOL anticipates awarding five (5) to seven (7) grants, not to exceed $500,000 per grant. It is anticipated that awards will be made by June 30, 1997. Award decisions will be published on the Internet under the Department's Home Page at http://www/doleta.gov.

2. Eligible Applicants

Entities eligible to apply for grants under this announcement are community service organizations, unions, trade associations, employer associations, individual employers, States, and other organizations and institutions, provided that the entity can demonstrate:

(1) a national perspective with respect to issues of concern to older workers;

(2) experience in working with individuals 50 years of age or older; and

(3) the ability to address the financial and social needs of these individuals, either directly or through collaboration with other entities.

Entities described in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code that engage in lobbying activities are not eligible to receive funds under this SGA. The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, Public Law No. 104-65, 109 Stat. 691, that became effective January 1, 1996, prohibits the award of federal funds to these entities if they engage in lobbying activities.

3. Eligible Participants

All participants must be eligible dislocated workers as defined at JTPA Section 301(a)(1), 301(a)(2) and 314(h)(1) of JTPA. All participants must be at least 50 years old.

Proposed projects may target subgroups of the eligible population based on factors such as (but not limited to) occupation, industry, nature of dislocation, and reason for unemployment.

4. Allowable Activities

Funds provided through this demonstration may be used only to provide services of the type described at Section 314(c) and (d) of JTPA. Job development services under Section 314(c)(14) of JTPA may include activities to educate employers as to the value of employing older dislocated workers, provided that such activities are directed toward potential employers of the target population. Supportive services are defined in Section 4(24) of JTPA.

Grant funds may be used to reimburse employers for extraordinary costs associated with on-the-job training of program participants, in accordance with 20 CFR 627.240. Grant funds may not be used for the following purposes: (1) for training that an employer is in a position to provide and would have provided in the absence of the requested grant; (2) to pay salaries for program participants; and (3) for acquisition of production equipment. Applicants may budget limited amounts of grant funds to work with technical experts or consultants to provide advice and develop more complete project plans. The level of detail in the project plan may affect the amount of funding provided.

5. Coordination

Applicant will coordinate the delivery of services under this demonstration with the delivery of services under other programs (public or private), available to all or part of the target group.

Applicant may wish to coordinate with universities and other research-oriented entities for demonstration project design and evaluation.

6. Period of Performance

The period of performance shall be 24 months from the date of execution by the Government. Delivery of services to participants shall commence within 90 days of execution of a grant.

7. Option to Extend

DOL may elect to modify and add funds to a Grant for an additional one (1) or two (2) years of operation, based on the availability of funds, successful program operation, and the needs of the Department.

Part II. Application Process and Guidelines

A. Page Limitations

A grant application shall be limited to thirty-five (35) double-spaced, single-side, 8.5-inch x 11-inch pages with 1-inch margins. Attachments shall not exceed ten (10) pages. Text type shall be 11 point or larger. Applications that do not meet these requirements will not be considered.

B. Contents

An original and three (3) copies of the application shall be submitted. The application shall consist of two (2) separate and distinct parts: Part I, the Financial Proposal, and Part II, the Technical Proposal.

1. Financial Application

Part I, the Financial Proposal, shall contain the SF-424, "Application for Federal Assistance" (Appendix A) and the "Budget Information" sheet (Appendix B). An applicant shall indicate on the SF-424 the type of organization for which it qualifies under the eligibility criteria in Part I, section C, paragraph 2 of this solicitation. The Federal Domestic Assistance Catalog number is 17.246.

The budget shall include on separate pages detailed breakouts of each proposed budget line item, including detailed administrative costs and costs for one or more of the following categories as applicable: basic readjustment services, supportive services, and retraining services. For each budget line item that includes funds or in-kind contributions from a source other than the grant funds, identify the source, the amount, and in-kind contributions, including any restrictions that may apply to these funds.

2. Technical Proposal

The technical proposal shall demonstrate the offeror's capabilities in accordance with the Statement of Work in Part III of this solicitation. NO COST DATA OR REFERENCE TO PRICE SHALL BE INCLUDED IN THE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL.

C. Hand-Delivered Applications

Applications should be mailed no later than five (5) days prior to the closing date for the receipt of applications. However, if applications are hand-delivered, they shall be received at the designated place by May 9, 1997 at 2:00 p.m., Eastern Time on the closing date for receipt of applications. All overnight mail will be considered to be hand-delivered and must be

received at the designated place by the specified time and closing date. Telegraphed and/or faxed proposals will not be honored. Applications at fail to adhere to the above instructions will not be honored.

D. Late Applications

Any application received at the office designated in the solicitation after the exact time specified for receipt will not be considered unless it:

(1) Was sent by U.S. Postal Service registered or certified mail not later than the fifth calendar day before the closing date specified for receipt of applications (e.g., an offer submitted in response to a solicitation requiring receipt of application by the 30th of January must have been mailed by the 25th); or

(2) Was sent by U.S. Postal Service Express Mail Next Day Service--Post Office to Addressee, not later than 5:00 p.m. at the place of mailing two working days prior to the date specified for receipt of application. The term "working days" excludes weekends and U.S. Federal holidays.

The only acceptable evidence to establish the date of mailing of a late application sent by U.S. Postal Service

registered or certified mail is the U.S. postmark on the envelope or wrapper and on the original receipt from the U.S. Postal Service. Both postmarks must show a legible date or the proposal shall be processed as if it had been mailed late. "Postmark" means 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 and affixed by an employee of the U.S. Postal Service on the date of mailing. Therefore, applicants should request the postal clerk to place a legible hand cancellation "bull's eye" postmark on both the receipt and the envelope or wrapper.

The only acceptable evidence to establish the date of mailing of a late application sent by "Express Mail Next-Day Service--Post Office to Addressee" is the date entered by the post office receiving clerk on the "Express Mail Next Day Service--Post Office to Addressee" label and the postmarks on both the envelope and wrapper and the original receipt from the U.S. Postal Service. "Postmark" has the same meaning as defined above. Therefore, an applicant should request the postal clerk to place a legible hand cancellation "bull's eye" postmark on both the receipt and the envelope or wrapper.

E. Withdrawal of Applications

Applications may be withdrawn by written notice or telegram (including mailgram) received at any time before award. Applications may be withdrawn in person by the applicant or by an authorized representative thereof, if the representative's identity is made known and the representative signs a receipt for the proposal.

Part III. Statement of Work

Each grant application must follow the format outlined in this Part. For sections A through G below, the application should include:

(1) information that indicates adherence to the provisions described in Part I, Background (Authorities, Purpose, and Demonstration Policy) and Part II, Application Process and Guidelines, of this announcement; and

(2) other information that the applicant believes will address the selection criteria identified in Part IV of this solicitation.

Information required under A and B below shall be provided separately for each labor market area where dislocated

workers will be served. To the extent that the project design differs for different geographic areas, information required under section C below shall be provided for each geographic area.

A. Target Population

Describe the proposed target population for the project. If that population is limited to one or more subgroups of the older dislocated worker population, explain the basis for

such limitation. Describe the size, location, and needs of

the target population relative to the services to be provided. Provide documentation showing there is a significant number of dislocated workers with the target population's characteristics in the project area(s).

B. Available Jobs

Describe the jobs that will be available to project participants upon completion of training and placement services, and the information on which such description is based. If specific jobs are not identifiable, provide the labor market information that ensures the availability of suitable jobs for participants. Include information about the number and type of jobs and the insufficiency of qualified workers to fill those positions in the absence of the proposed project. Identify sources of information.

C. Project Design

Describe the specific purpose or purposes of the proposed project. The project might as an example, be designed to test one or more of the following: a particular training technique developed for use with older workers; a post-placement counseling program geared toward older workers' job retention; an employer education strategy combined with information on employers' conceptions about older workers

before and after involvement with the project. Include planned comparisons, such as urban versus rural locations, group versus individual training, home versus education institution or business establishment training environments. Describe the major project components listed below.

1. Outreach and recruitment. Describe how eligible dislocated workers will be identified and recruited for participation in the project. Recruitment efforts may address public service communications and announcements, use of media, coordination with the JTPA Service Delivery Area or Substate Grantee, use of community-based organizations and other service groups. Describe the applicant's experience in reaching the target population.

2. Eligibility determination. Describe the criteria and process to be used in determining the eligibility of potential participants in the project.

3. Selection criteria. Describe the criteria and process to be used in selecting those individuals to be served by the project from among the total number of eligible persons recruited for the project. Explain how the selection criteria relate to the specific purpose of the proposed project.

4. Services to be provided. Describe the services to be provided from the time of selection of participants through placement of those participants in jobs. Describe any

services to be provided subsequent to job placement. The descriptions shall provide a clear understanding of the services and support that will be necessary for participants to be placed successfully in jobs and to retain those jobs, including services not funded under the grant, and ways to address participants' financial needs during periods of training. Grant-funded activities should, at a minimum, include assessment, retraining, job placement, and supportive services.

Identify any assessment tools proposed to be used before or after services are provided, and include samples of any such

tools designed for use in the proposed project. Assessment should be designed to facilitate evaluation of the project in terms of specific planned outcomes. Assessment shall include a financial component to ensure the participants' awareness of their financial situations that may influence retraining and employment needs. For example, an older dislocated worker may have unearned income or other financial resources sufficient to allow part-time work to be suitable for that individual. Assessment shall include a social/psychological component to ensure the participants'

awareness of their personal circumstances that may influence retraining and employment needs. For example, low self-esteem could suggest the value of participation in a job club designed specifically for older workers, or of counseling to be provided through an outside source. The proposal may provide for participants' self-assessment or waiver of the financial and/or the social/psychological component.

Describe how training will be customized to account for transferable skills, previous education, and particular circumstances of the target population. This description should include any participant groupings and training methods based on particular characteristics of the target group. Include information to demonstrate that any proposed

training provider is qualified to deliver training that meets appropriate employment standards and any applicable certification or licensing requirement. Past performance, qualifications of instructors, accreditation of curricula, and similar matters should be addressed if appropriate. Address the costs of proposed training and other services relative to the costs of similar training and services through other providers.

Describe the limitations and eligibility criteria for limited income support and relocation assistance, if such support and assistance are included in the proposal.

5. Participant flow. Provide a flowchart with time indications to illustrate how the project will ensure access to necessary and appropriate reemployment and retraining services. Describe the sequence of services and the criteria to be used to determine the appropriateness of specific services for particular participants. Note if service choice options will be available to participants.

6. Relationship to prior experience. Show how the applicant's prior experience in working with older individuals affects or influences the design of the proposed project. Show how the applicant can bring a national perspective to bear on the project. Describe the nature and impact of that national perspective.

D. Planned Outcomes

1. Demonstration program goals. Provide the following information for the project:

(1) planned number of program-related placements (number of participants placed in jobs related to the training or services funded by the grant within 60 days after completion of pre-placement services);

(2) planned placement rate (number of program-related placements divided by the number of participants);

(3) planned participant services satisfaction rate (number of participants who, 60 days after completion of program services, rate program services as "very helpful" or "extremely helpful" when other allowable ratings are "not at all helpful" and "somewhat helpful," divided by the number of participants):

(4) planned participant 90-day employment satisfaction rate (number of participants who, 90 days after program-related placement, rate their employment as "satisfactory" or "better than satisfactory" when the other allowable rating is "less than satisfactory," divided by the number of program-related placements);

(5) planned employer services satisfaction rate (number of employers who, 90 days after program-related placement, rate overall project services to themselves and their employees as 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 high), divided by number of employers with program-related placements); and

(6) planned employer 90-day employment satisfaction rate (number of employers who, 90 days after program-related

placements, rate participants' work as "satisfactory" or "better than satisfactory" when the third allowable rating is "less than satisfactory," divided by the number of program-related placements).

Briefly describe plans for identifying and providing information about successful and unsuccessful methods and strategies tested by the project.

2. Project goals. Provide the following information for the project:

(1) planned number of participants;

(2) planned number of program completions (number of participants who complete the services provided by the grant);

(3) planned average cost per placement (amount of the grant request divided by the number of program-related placements); and

(4) other planned outcomes related to specific project goals.

E. Coordination

Describe the nature and extent of coordination between the applicant and other entities in the design and implementation of the proposed project. Include services to be provided through resources other than grant funds under this demonstration. With reference to the sources and amounts of project funds and in-kind contributions identified in the financial proposal as being other than those requested under the grant applied for, describe the basis for valuation of those funds and contributions. Provide evidence that ensures the coordination described, such as letters of agreement, formally established advisory councils, and lease agreements.

Documentation of consultation and support for the project concept from applicable labor organizations must be submitted when 20 percent or more of the targeted population is represented by one or more labor organizations, or where

the training is for jobs when a labor organization

represents a substantial number of workers engaged in similar work.

F. Innovation

Describe any innovation in the proposed project, including (but not limited to) innovations in concept to be tested,

services, delivery of services, training methods, job development, or job retention strategies. Explain the impact of such innovation on project costs. Explain how the proposed project adopts or fosters a holistic approach to circumstances faced by older dislocated workers. Explain how the proposed project addresses issues of national scope. Explain how the proposed project is similar to and differs from the applicant's prior and current activities.

G. Project Management

1. Structure. Describe the management structure for the project, including a staffing plan that describes each position and the percentage of its time to be assigned to

this project. Provide an organizational chart showing the relationship among project management and operational components, including those at multiple sites of the project.

2. Program integrity. Describe the mechanisms to ensure financial accountability for grant funds and performance accountability relative to job placements, in accordance with standards for financial management and participant data systems in 29 CFR Part 95 or 97, as appropriate, and 20 CFR 627.425. Explain the basis for the applicant's administrative authority over the management and operational

components. Describe how information will be collected to:

(1) determine the achievement of project outcomes as indicated in section D of this part; and

(2) report on participants, outcomes, and expenditures.

3. Monitoring.

a. Benchmarks. Provide a table or list of benchmarks to indicate the planned implementation of the project. Include:

(1) a monthly schedule of planned start-up events;

(2) a quarterly schedule of planned participant activity, showing cumulative numbers of enrollments, participation in training and other services, placements, and terminations; and

(3) quarterly cumulative expenditure projections.

b. Participant progress. Describe how a participant's continuing participation in the project will be monitored.

c. Project performance. Identify the information on project performance that will be collected on a short-term basis (weekly, monthly, etc.) by program managers for internal

project management to determine whether the project is accomplishing its objectives as planned and whether project adjustments are necessary.

Describe the process and procedures to be used to obtain feedback from participants, employers, and any other appropriate parties on the responsiveness and effectiveness of the services provided. The description shall identify the types of information to be obtained, the methods and frequency of data collection, and ways in which the information will be used in implementing and managing the project. Grantees may employ focus groups and surveys, in addition to other methods, to collect feedback information. Technical assistance in the design and implementation of customer satisfaction data collection and analysis may be provided by DOL.

d. Impact of coordination and innovation. Describe the process for assessing and reporting on the impact of coordination and innovation in the project with respect to the purpose and goals of the demonstration program and the specific purpose and goals of the project.

4. Grievance procedure. Describe the grievance procedure

to be used for grievances and complaints from participants, contractors, and other interested parties, consistent with the requirements at Section 144 of JTPA and 20 CFR 631.64(b) and (c).

5. Previous project management experience. Provide an objective demonstration of the grant applicant's ability to manage the project, ensure the integrity of the grant funds, and deliver the proposed performance. Indicate the grant applicant's past experience in the management of grant-funded projects similar to that being proposed, particularly regarding oversight and operating functions including financial management.

Part IV. Evaluation Criteria

Selection of grantees for award will be made after careful evaluation of grant applications by a panel selected for

that purpose by DOL. Panel results will be advisory in nature and not binding on the ETA Grant Officer. Panelists shall evaluate proposals for acceptability based upon overall responsiveness in accordance with the factors below.

1. Target population (15 points). The description of the characteristics of the target group is clear and meaningful, and sufficiently detailed to determine the potential participants' service needs. Documentation is provided showing that a significant number of dislocated workers who possess these characteristics is available for participation in the project area. Sufficient information is provided to explain how the number of dislocated workers to be enrolled in the project was determined. The recruitment plan supports the number of planned enrollments. The target population is appropriate for the specific purpose of the proposed project. The target population's characteristics and circumstances are likely to appear nationally.

2. Service plan and Cost (30 points). The scope of services to be provided is consistent with the demonstration program and project purposes and goals. The scope of services to be provided is adequate to meet the needs of the target population given: (1) their characteristics and circumstances, (2) the jobs in which they are to be placed, and (3) the length of program participation planned prior to placement. The proposal demonstrates the applicant's ability to ensure effective assessment of participants' needs using a holistic approach, and delivery of services to meet those needs.

Preference will be given to proposals with multiple project sites that allow testing in more than one environment or under different conditions.

Proposed costs are reasonable in relation to the characteristics and circumstances of the target group, the services to be provided, planned outcomes, the management plan, and coordination with other entities. The impact of innovation on costs is explained clearly in the proposal and is reasonable.

3. Management (20 points). The applicant has experience working with older individuals, and brings a national perspective to the project. The management structure and management plan for the proposed project will ensure the integrity of the funds requested. The project workplan demonstrates the applicant's ability to effectively track project progress with respect to planned performance and expenditures. Sufficient procedures are in place to use the information obtained by the project operator(s) to take corrective action if indicated.

The proposal provides for a satisfactory grievance process. Review by appropriate labor organizations, where applicable, is documented. The proposal includes a method of assessing customer satisfaction and taking into account the results of such assessment in the operation of the project.

4. Coordination (15 points). The proposal includes coordination with other programs and entities for project design or provision of services. Such coordination contributes to a holistic approach to identifying and addressing the needs of individuals in the target population. Evidence is presented that ensures cooperation of coordinating entities, as applicable, for the life of the proposed project. The project includes a reasonable method of assessing and reporting on the impact of such coordination, relative to the demonstration purpose and goals and the specific purpose and goals of the proposed project.

5. Innovation (20 points). The proposal demonstrates innovation in the concept(s) to be tested, the project's design, and/or the services to be provided.

The project includes a reasonable method of assessing and reporting on the impact of such innovation, relative to the demonstration program and project purposes and goals.

Grant applications will be evaluated for the reasonableness of proposed costs, considering the proposed target group, services, outcomes, management plan, and coordination with other entities.

Applicants are advised that discussions may be necessary in order to clarify any inconsistency or ambiguity in their applications. The final decision on awards will be based on what is most advantageous to the Federal Government as determined by the ETA Grant Officer. The Government may elect to award grant(s) without discussion with the applicant(s). The applicant's signature on the SF-424 constitutes a binding offer.

Part V. Evaluation

DOL will arrange for or provide technical assistance to grantees in establishing appropriate reporting and data collection methods and processes. DOL will arrange for or conduct an independent evaluation of the outcomes, impacts, and benefits of the demonstration projects. Grantees will be expected to make available records on participants and employers and to provide access to personnel, as specified by the evaluator(s).

Signed at Washington, DC, this day of April, 1997.

JANICE E. PERRY

Grant Officer

Division of Acquisition and Assistance

Appendices

1. Appendix A--"Application for Federal Assistance"

(Standard Form 424)

2. Appendix B--"Budget Information"