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Out-of-School Youth Opportunity Area Demonstration

Billing Code: 4510-30

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Employment and Training Administration

Job Training Partnership Act, Title IV-D, Pilot and Demonstration Program

Program: Out-of-School Youth Opportunity Area Demonstration

AGENCY: Employment and Training Administration, Labor.

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

SUMMARY: The U. S. Department of Labor (DOL), Employment and Training Administration (ETA), announces a program to select a small number of sites to serve as demonstrations for a comprehensive approach aimed at improving the labor market prospects of out-of-school youth in high poverty areas. This demonstration would be designed to provide employment, education and training opportunities, mentoring support, leadership development and other services as needed for all youth in the target areas designated as Empowerment Zones (EZ) or Enterprise Communities (EC).

This notice provides information on the process that eligible entities must use to apply for these demonstration funds and how grantees will be selected.

Funds for these demonstration programs are authorized under the Job Training Partnership Act, (JTPA), Title IV-D. It is anticipated that up to $4.5 million will be available for funding.

DATES: The closing date for receipt of proposals is May 12, 1997 at 2:00 PM (Eastern Time).

ADDRESS: Applications shall be mailed to: U.S. Department of Labor; Employment and Training Administration; Division of Acquisition and Assistance; 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room S-4203; Washington, DC 20210; Attention: Ms. Brenda Banks, Reference SGA/DAA 97-013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brenda Banks, Division of Acquisition and Assistance, Telephone: (202) 219-8694 (THIS IS NOT A TOLL-FREE NUMBER). This solicitation will also be published on the Internet on the Employment and Training Administration's Home Page at http://www/doleta.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: All information required to submit a grant application is contained in this announcement. This announcement consists of five parts. Part I describes the purpose of the demonstration program. Part II describes the eligibility and award information. Part III includes the program outline of the demonstration projects. Part IV describes the application process. Part V describes the evaluation and rating criteria.

Part I - PURPOSE:

This grant announcement continues a pilot demonstration of a new initiative for out-of-school youth proposed in the President's 1998 budget. Under this demonstration, an Opportunity Area would be created to expand employment, education, and training opportunities for out-of-school youth ages 16-24, with priority given to high school dropouts. The demonstration would be designed to provide employment, education and training opportunities, mentoring support, leadership development and other services as needed for all youth in the target area. It would complement both the economic development initiative of the Empowerment Zone and the School-to-Work system being implemented. As some proportion of target area residents will live in public housing, it will also complement efforts by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to address the isolation of public housing residents. The aim of the demonstration is to build a system of constructive education/training/employment and personal development activities for out-of-school youth that parallels the system being implemented for a school youth under the School-to-Work Opportunities Act so as to raise and maintain substantially higher employment rates for out-of-school youth. Research findings have shown that both education and employment are critical factors in improving long term earnings for out-of-school youth. Another primary goal of this project is to raise employment rates in the target area to 80 percent among the out-of-school youth population through the creation of a new approach to addressing their needs.

PART II - ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS:

This grant competition is limited to Service Delivery Areas (SDAs) covering urban and rural sites designated by HUD and the Department of Agriculture as Empowerment Zones (EZ's), supplemental empowerment zones, Enterprise Communities (EC's), or enhanced enterprise communities. In EZ/EC'S that include more than one SDA (e.g., Philadelphia/Camden and Kansas City, Missouri/Kansas), the SDAs can submit either separate applications or a joint application. SDAs shall provide evidence that they are located within the EZ/ECs. To be eligible to apply, SDAs will need to identify a contiguous set of census tracts with a population of at least 10,000 in the 1990 Census.

SDAs will need to list as co-supporters the local public school system, the local EZ/EC governing board, representatives of major employer networks, including employers connected to the school-to-work effort, the State School-to-Work Partnership, and if applicable, the local School-to-Work Partnership. Community based organizations (CBOs) should also be involved in preparing the application. The State should also be involved in the application and the Governor should provide a letter of support. Applicants should outline how they will also involve residents and youth in planning and implementation of the project. Partners and/or co-supporters are not necessarily subcontractors. Some will bring resources to the table that are already funded and available to youth in the targeted community.

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.

TARGET POPULATION:

Applications should identify a target area within the EZ/EC with a population of between 10,000 and 15,000 persons and poverty rate in the 1990 Census that is among the highest in the EZ/EC. In urban sites, the target area should be comprised of contiguous census tracts. In rural counties larger than 15,000, the target area should be comprised of contiguous census tracts or block numbering areas. In both urban and rural sites, the target area should include a high school and at least one middle school. It is particularly important in rural communities with a limited number of employers that job commitments be currently available.

GRANT AWARDS:

The Department expects to award two (2) grants of up to $2.250 million each under this competition. Pending availability of funds and grantee's performance, some level of second and third year funding may also be provided to the demonstration sites. Award decisions will be published on the Internet under the Department's Home Page at http://www/doleta.gov.

PART III - PROGRAM OUTLINE

PROGRAM COMPONENTS:

Grant funds shall be used for building appropriate activities into a coherent system that connects disconnected youth to long term developmental relationships and services needed for permanent long term employment. The component parts of the system need to be responsive to the particular problems of out-of-school youth in high poverty areas, especially the pervasive joblessness of males. Many appropriate building blocks and allowable activities may be operating in or near the target area. From programs such as the Center for Employment Training (CET), YouthBuild, WorkPlus, youth conservation corps, and alternative schools, we have learned some principles about "what works":

  • continuous support of a caring adult
  • strong and effective connections to employers
  • opportunities for improving educational skills and certification
  • program support and services over an extended period of time
  • motivational techniques, incentives, peer group activities, leadership training

Through this grant, the services provided need to be strengthened in accordance with these principles and linked together to provide youth suitable options. Guidance in making choices need to be provided by adult mentors working with youth over an extended period of time. All components must effectively link youth to a network of employers, both public and private.

Allowable activities include, but are not limited to, job placement officers working to link youth with private sector employers; on-the-job training; training based on the model programs such as CET in San Jose; YouthBuild type programs directed towards rehabilitating inner-city housing and that teach leadership skills and prepare youth for construction careers; WorkPlus efforts to coordinate with employers to structure secondary labor market jobs into career ladders; alternative schools; local conservation corps programs for youth who need to gain disciplined work experience before being ready for private sector placement; and adult mentors working with youth over an extended period of time.

The CET program provides training in high-wage occupations and has strong links to the private sector. The WorkPlus program is in a sense of temporary employment service that provides youth with a series of jobs with progressive responsibilities. DOL expects that various CBOs in each site will operate many of the services provided under this grant.

The initiative will saturate the local community by making employment and training services available to all unemployed youth who reside in the community and by establishing an integrated administrative structure with other service providers who are already located in the community to attract and/or create needed services to achieve the goal of this demonstration.

Other activities should include teaching life skills that focus on such issues as ethics, loyalty, honesty, positive attitudes, and daily behavior and responsibilities that participants are expected to have for successful employment and a productive life style. Services should not be fragmented, but should operate as an integrated system that supports and furthers the notion of sustaining the effort beyond the grant period through the creation of a new or changed infrastructure.

The program's primary outreach, intake and counseling activities should operate through a neighborhood-based center. All other connecting activities should be easily accessible to program participants and should be provided in settings of small learning communities.

INVESTMENT OF CO-SUPPORTERS AND OTHER PARTNERS: (Matching Requirement)

Applicants should use partnerships to enhance the out-of-school programs funded under the grant; and to provide complementary programs and services so as to make the target neighborhood an Opportunity Area for all youth. A one to one match is required. It is expected that co-supporters and other partners will invest State, local and other federal resources to secure the success of the project. Complementary projects should include: (1) school-to-work efforts in the target area high school; (2) commitments for specific numbers of career-track jobs by employers, both engaged in school-to-work efforts and those who are not; (3) school district efforts to reduce the dropout and truancy rates in area middle schools and high schools; (4) investments from State and other federal programs; (5) a public/private collaboration to start a College Bound Program in the target area; and (6) a comprehensive sports and recreation program for youth of all ages in the target neighborhood.

The application should provide dollar values of matching contributions from each supporter, and these figures will be included in the final grant budget. The investments of co-supporters and partners should equal or exceed the investment of DOL in the first year of the project, and this matching ratio will increase over the life of the grant. Applicants also should agree to a good faith effort to continue initiatives started under this grant beyond the potential three year grant period. Applicants are encouraged to use State and local educational funds to support education and training services for youth who have dropped out of school.

EVALUATION COMPONENT:

The demonstration sites will be required to collect and maintain participant records so that this can be a learning experience for DOL. These participant records should be similar to the Standardized Program Information Reports (SPIR) required for JTPA Title II programs. No funds under this grant should be set aside for local evaluations, as the project will be evaluated through DOL. The DOL evaluation will be aimed primarily at learning from this demonstration how to better implement a broader Youth Opportunity Area initiative.

SAMPLE SITE PLAN:

One example of the type of plan that could be included in the proposal is shown below. This example is intended to be illustrative rather than prescriptive. It is expected that each community will develop a plan that is tailored to their area. In this example, the target community within the EZ/EC has a population of 15, 000, with 2,240 16-24 year olds and with 20 percent of its population living in public housing. Roughly half of the 16-24 year olds are out-of-school and 40 percent of the out-of-school youth are employed. To reach an 80% employment level for this group will require 896 being employed, or 448 more jobs. To achieve this level of employment and to stem the dropout rate, the following programs will be developed with the DOL grant and matching funds (again, this is an example):



Job Developers (250 youth @$2,000)
CET training (75 youth @$6,500)
On-the-job training (75 youth @$5,000)
YouthBuild (40 youth @$20,000)
Local conservation corps (40 youth @$20,000)
Alternative school (65 youth @$8,000)
Enhanced school-to-work effort
Middle school restructuring
Futures program in high school
College Bound program
Sports and recreation program
DOL Grant

$400,000
150,000
250,000
600,000
500,000
200,000
30,000
---------
---------
---------
$2,250,000
Local Match

---------
$334,500
125,000
200,000
300,000
260,000
265,000
230,000
200,000
140,000
$2,257,500

The matching funds for other program services such as CET and OJT training could be used to serve 22-24 year olds, and thus come from JTPA Title II-A. The YouthBuild and conservation corps type programs matching funds could come from local corporations and foundations. Matching funds for a new alternative school in the target community would come from State or local education funds, HUD, and Pell grants. In addition to providing matching funds for job training programs, the local area should also provide matching funds for new initiatives to strengthen the target area's middle schools and high schools. These initiatives would include enhanced school-to-work efforts in the high school; a "Futures" program to prepare entering ninth graders for starting high school and to provide outreach workers to keep youth in school; a College Bound program; and a comprehensive sports and recreation program for youth. These initiatives would be paid for through a combination of public school funds, local corporations, and local foundations. A significant number of private sector jobs would also be pledged for participants.

PART IV - APPLICATION PROCESS:

Eligible SDAs must begin as quickly as possible forming the partnerships with State and local school-to-work efforts, local public schools, empowerment zones, and the private sector necessary to carry out this project. An original and three (3) copies of the proposal must be submitted. The proposal must consist of two (2) separate and distinct parts -- Part I, the financial Proposal and Part II, the Technical Proposal. Applicants shall indicate on the SF-424 the organization's IRS Status. The Federal Domestic Assistance Catalog number is 17.249.

1. Financial Proposal must contain Standard Form 424, "Application for Federal Assistance" (Appendix A); and the "Budget Information Sheet" (Appendix B), for the first 18 month operating period. The budget must include on a separate page a detailed breakout of each budget line item.

2. Technical Proposal must not be more than 10 single spaced, single sided 8.5 x 11 inch pages with 1 inch margins. Attachments must not exceed 10 pages. Applications that fail to meet the page limitation requirement will not be considered. The technical proposal should reflect the local partnerships that are being developed, and should include answers to the following questions:

(a) What is the need in the target community? What is its population and poverty rate in the 1990 Census? What are the dropout rates of the target area high schools, as measured by the number of ninth graders enrolled in September of 1992 and the number of students graduating in June of 1996?

(b) What new system building initiatives for out-of-school youth will e funded with the grant? Show how these initiatives, particularly the employer connections, will be integrated into the new system.

(c) How will this new initiative fit into your overall EZ/EC?

(d) What school-to-work initiatives consistent with the School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994 currently exist in the target area high school? What additional school-to-work initiatives will be implemented if this grant is received to like employers with out-of-school youth?

(e) What dropout prevention efforts currently exist in the target area middle schools and high schools? What new initiatives are committed as a match if this grant is received?

(f) What do local major corporations promise as their role if the area becomes an opportunity area? The application should be clear in specifying existing private sector activities and new activities promised as a match. The specific number of jobs pledged for target area youth should be included in the application.

(g) What State and local public sector matching commitments are being promised? Again, the application should be clear in specifying existing public sector activities in the target area and new activities promised as a match. These may be neighborhood development projects, self supporting you corps, community service corps, etc.

(h) What strategy do you have for maintaining these enhanced services to out-of-school youth after the demonstration has ended? Will school funds be provided?

The technical proposal should also include letters of commitment from the local chief elected official and the Governor, and the letter of commitment signed by appropriate officials (Appendix C).

CLOSING DATE: All applications must be received at the specified location by May 12, 1997 at 2:00 PM (Eastern Time). Applications must be mailed no later than five (5) days prior to the closing date for the receipt of applications. However, if proposals are hand-delivered, they must be received at the designated place by 2:00 PM, Eastern Time on the closing date for receipt of applications. All overnight mail will be considered to be hand-delivered mail. Telegraphed and/or faxed proposals will be found to be nonresponsive and will not be honored. Proposals that fail to adhere to the above instructions will not be considered.

LATE PROPOSALS:

Any proposal received at the office designated in this 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 no later than the fifth calendar day before the closing date specified for receipt of applications; 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 proposals. The term "working days" excludes weekends and U.S. Federal holidays.

The only acceptable evidence to establish the date of mailing of a late proposal sent by U.S. Postal Service registered or certified mail or Express Mail Next-Day Service--Post Office to Addressee is the U.S. postmark on the envelope or wrapper; or by the date entered by the post office receiving clerk on the mailing label; and on the original receipt from the Postal Service. Both postmarks must show a legible date or the proposal shall be processed as if it had been mailed late. 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.

WITHDRAWAL OF PROPOSALS:

Proposals may be withdrawn by written notice or telegram (including mailgram) received at any time before award. Proposals 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 V - EVALUATION CRITERIA:

Prospective offerers are advised that the selection of grantee(s) for award is to be made after careful evaluation of proposals by a panel within DOL. Each panelist will evaluate the proposals for acceptability against the factors enumerated below. The panel results are advisory in nature and not binding on the ETA Grant Officer:

(1) Need in target neighborhood, as measured by its poverty rate in the 1990 Census (10 Points)

(2) Plan and capacity for conducting project. (30 Points)

(3) Level of investments of schools and other public sector partners. (25 Points)

(4) Level of investments (matching funds) of private sector partners, including commitments for private-sector jobs. (15 Points)

(5) Current school-to-work program and plans for next year's school-to-work program in target area high school. (10 Points)

(6) Dropout prevention plans. (10 Points)

Applicants are advised that discussions may be necessary in order to clarify any inconsistencies in their applications. The final decision on awards will be based on what is most advantageous to the Federal Government, taking into account factors such as geographic diversity, mix of EZs and ECs, and demographic characteristics. The Government may elect to award grant(s) without discussions with the offerers. In such situations, an award based on the offerer's signature on the SF-424 constitutes a binding offer.

Signed at Washington, D.C., this day of April, 1997.

Janice E. Perry, Grant Officer

Employment and Training Administration

Appendices

1. Appendix A -- "Application for Federal Assistance" (SF-424)

2. Appendix B -- "Budget Information"

3. Appendix C -- "Letter of Commitment"

Ms. Janice E. Perry

Grant Officer

U.S. Department of Labor - ETA

200 Constitution Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20210

Attention: Ms. Brenda Banks

Dear Ms. Perry:

The Service Delivery Area (SDA) hereby applies for funds to become a demonstration site for the Department of Labor's (DOL) Opportunity Area Initiative. As a condition of award, we agree to provide a 1 to 1 match during each year of the grant. These matching funds can come from a variety of private and public sources -- including other federal funds -- as long as we can demonstrate that these are investments over and above what is currently being spent in the target area. We also agree to a good faith effort to continue initiatives started under this grant on a permanent basis. In particular, we agree to:

(1) Implement a school-to-work program in the target area high school.

(2) Provide private sector commitments for a specified number of career-track jobs for target area youth.

(3) Provide the state and local public sector investments as specified in the proposal.

(4) Develop dropout prevention programs in target area middle schools and high schools.

(5) Establish a college bound program for target area youth funded through a public/private partnership.

(6) Implement a comprehensive sports and recreation program for target area youth.

Sincerely,

SDA Director Director of EZ/EC Coalition

Superintendent of Schools Corporate Representative

Director, School-to-Work Partnership