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Labor Organization Adjustment Assistance (SGA 98-001)

Billing Code: 4510-30-M

Department of Labor

Employment and Training Administration

Job Training Partnership Act, Title III, Demonstration Program: Labor Organization Adjustment Assistance

AGENCY: Employment and Training Administration, Labor.

ACTION: Notice of availability of funds and solicitation for grant application (SGA).

SUMMARY: All information required to submit a proposal is contained in this announcement. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Employment and Training Administration (ETA), announces a demonstration program to test the ability of labor organizations to develop innovative approaches for providing accelerated skills development and/or enhancement of job skills already possessed by affected workers to increase their prospects of transitioning to new or related occupational job opportunities. The program is to be funded with Secretary's National Reserve funds appropriated through Title III of the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA). This notice describes the process that eligible applicants must use to apply for demonstration funds, the subject area for which applications will be accepted for funding, how grantees are to be selected, and the responsibilities of grantees. It is anticipated that up to $3 million will be available for funding approximately 6 demonstration projects covered by this solicitation with no project being awarded more than $500,000.

DATES: Applications for grant awards will be accepted commencing (insert date of publication). The closing date for receipt of applications will be January 7, 1998, at 2:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) at the address below.

ADDRESSES: Applications shall be mailed to: Division of Acquisition and Assistance, Attention: Denise Roach, Reference: SGA/DAA 98-001, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-4203, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210.

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

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: This announcement consists of five parts. Part I describes the authorities and purpose of the demonstration program and identifies demonstration evaluation and oversight policy. Part II describes the application process and provides detailed guidelines for use in applying for demonstration grants. Part III includes the statement of work for the demonstration projects. Part IV identifies and defines the selection criteria which will be used in reviewing and evaluating applications. Part V describes the reporting requirements.

Part I. Background

A. Authorities

Section 323(a)(b) of the Job Training Partnership Act authorizes the use of funds reserved under Part B of Title III for demonstration programs. The Department requires that applicants for grants comply with all Federal and State laws and regulations in setting up their programs.

B. Purpose of the Demonstration

As authorized under Title III of JTPA, the Dislocated Worker Program provides a wide range of employment and training services to eligible dislocated workers to help them find and qualify for new jobs. Many of these jobs will be in occupations different from workers' pre-layoff occupations and require affected workers to learn new skills and knowledge where the "skills gap" is substantial. In other instances the "skills gap" could be minimal and require only enhancement of workers' existing skills to increase their transferability to related occupations. Strategies which maximize the utilization of workers' current skills and/or reduce the length of training required for the acquisition of new skills should not only expand but also facilitate a more rapid transition to new employment opportunities.

This demonstration will test whether labor organizations as institutions knowledgeable about and focused on the maintenance of their members' skills and/or knowledgeable about emerging technologies and occupations can be successful providers of the above strategies either directly or by playing the principal role in the design and implementation of innovative approaches and strategies for meeting the skills needs of this target population. Projects funded through this solicitation are to provide reemployment and retraining services -- as described in Sections 314(c) and 314(d) of JTPA -- to dislocated workers who may need and benefit from the receipt of these services. Participants must be eligible under Sections 301(a)(1)(A), (B), or (C) of JTPA AND be members of the target population for which the project is designed. For purposes of this demonstration, appropriate target populations include those workers who have been represented through collective bargaining by the demonstration project grantee labor organization or its partnering labor organizations and who have been terminated or laid off within 90 days of the closing date of this solicitation or within 150 days subsequent to the grant award. Up to 15 percent of the target population may include represented workers who have been longer-term unemployed for three (3) months or longer and whose lay-offs occurred prior to the 90 day period indicated above.

The demonstration projects must ensure that the services and service mix provided will achieve the following program goals: 1) at least 74 percent of project participants will find employment within 90 days after leaving the project, 2) the post-program wage at 90 day follow-up is at least 96 percent of the wage at dislocation on average, and 3) at least 70 percent of the project participants will rate the services received as "extremely" or "very" valuable.

C. Evaluation

Under a separate announcement, DOL will select and fund a separate evaluation contractor to: 1) provide technical assistance to grantees in establishing appropriate data collection methods and processes; and 2) conduct an independent process evaluation of the demonstration projects. Grantees will be expected to make available participant records and access to personnel, as specified by the evaluation contractor.

In addition, DOL will establish, for each demonstration project site, an oversight group made up of federal, State, and substate staff.

D. Definitions

Unless otherwise indicated in this announcement, definitions of terms used herein shall be those definitions found in the Job Training Partnership Act, as amended, particularly at Section 4 and Section 301.

Part II. Application Process --- All Information Required To Submit a Proposal Is Contained in This Announcement

A. Eligible applicants

Eligible applicants for demonstration projects funded under this announcement are labor organizations which:

1) provide exclusive representation to the target population to be served through collective bargaining agreements in effect at the time of the effective date of worker layoff or termination; and 2) that can demonstrate the ability to deliver the services proposed and to ensure the integrity of the funds requested. NOTE: With respect to item 1, an eligible applicant may be a labor organization which provides exclusive representation to a portion of the target population and which is willing to administer grant funds in partnership with other labor organizations that provide exclusive representation to the other respective portions of the target population to be served. In these circumstances, the offeror must demonstrate through letters of support from the other labor organizations that the latter will participate in the grant activities to be performed.

B. Contents

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

1. FINANCIAL PROPOSAL - The Financial Proposal, Part I, shall contain the SF-424, "Application for Federal Assistance" (Appendix No. 1), and SF 424-A, "Budget" (Appendix No. 2). The Federal Domestic Assistance Catalog number is 17.246. An applicant shall indicate on the SF-424 the type of organization for which it qualifies under the eligibility criteria in Part II, section A. of this solicitation. The budget shall include on separate pages: a cost analysis of the budget, identifying in detail the amount of each budget line item attributable to administrative costs and costs for one or more of the following categories: basic readjustment services [Section 314(c)(1-14, 16-18) of JTPA], supportive services [Section 314(c)(15)], and retraining services [Section 314(d)] requested through this grant [Note: Other Title III cost categories not mentioned are specifically excluded from grant expenditures, e.g. rapid response assistance and needs-related payments]; an identification of the amount of each budget line item which will be covered by other funds (if applicable), and the sources of those funds (including other Title III funds, employer funds, in-kind resources, secured and unsecured loans, grants, and other forms of assistance, public and private); and a justification for the average cost of service per placement. The latter is to be computed by dividing the number of proposed participants of the target population who will be employed within 90 days after leaving the project into the total Federal funds requested.

Grant funds may cover only those costs which are appropriate and reasonable. Federal funds cannot be used to provide training which an employer is in a position to, and would otherwise, provide, nor can they be used to provide salaries for program participants. Federal funds may not be used for acquisition of production equipment. The only type of equipment that may be acquired with Federal funds is equipment necessary for the operation of the grant. In the instance of a purchase, the cost of the equipment is to be prorated over the projected life of the equipment to determine the cost to the grant. USE OF GRANT FUNDS TO PURCHASE EQUIPMENT WITH A UNIT COST OF $5,000 OR MORE REQUIRES SPECIAL REVIEW AND APPROVAL FROM DOL PRIOR TO PURCHASE.

Applicants may budget limited amounts of grant funds to work with technical expert(s) to provide advice and develop more complete project plans.

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

C. Submission

Grant applications will be evaluated carefully by a panel convened by the Department after the closing date of this solicitation. Incomplete or non-responsive proposals may be returned without evaluation. An application will be reviewed based upon the overall responsiveness of the application's content to the submission requirements and to the selection criteria found in Part IV, taking into consideration the extent to which funds are available.

D. Hand-Delivered Proposals

Proposals should be mailed at least five (5) days prior to the closing date for the receipt of applications. However, if proposals are hand-delivered, they shall be received at the designated place by 2 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. Failure to adhere to the above instructions will be a basis for a determination of nonresponsiveness.

E. Late Proposals

Any proposal 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 the U.S. Postal Service registered or certified mail not later than the fifth calendar day before the date specified for receipt of the application (e.g., an offer submitted in response to a solicitation requiring receipt of applications 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 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 either by the U.S. Postal Service registered or certified mail is the U.S. postmark both 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 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 employees 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 proposal 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 postmark on both the envelope and wrapper and on the original receipt from the U.S. Postal Service. "Postmark" has the same meaning as defined above. 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.

F. 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 or by an applicant or an authorized representative thereof, if the representative's identity is made known and the representative signs a receipt for the proposal before an

award.

G. Period of Performance

Grant awards will be made for a 17 month period. Project operators must be prepared to deliver services within 60 days following award. The delivery of services will be for a period of 12 months. Grantees will be allowed up to 90 days subsequent to the termination of service delivery for collecting follow-up information on individual completers and the preparation of final project reports.

H. Funding

DOL has set aside up to $3 million to be disbursed for 6 projects, contingent upon resources being available for this purpose. It is expected that no project will be awarded more than $500,000. 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.

I. Page Count Limit

Applications are to be limited to thirty-five (35) double-spaced, single side, 8.5 inch x 11 inch pages with one 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.

J. Cost Limitations

Demonstration grants are not subject to the cost limitations for Title III grants at Section 315 of the JTPA. However, any offeror proposing administrative costs that exceed 15 percent of the budget and/or supportive services that exceed 25 percent of the funds requested in the application shall provide a narrative justification.

Part III. Statement of Work

Each application should follow the format outlined here. For every section, A through F, the application should include: (1) information that responds to the requirements in this part; (2) information that indicates adherence to the provisions described in Parts I and II of this solicitation; and (3) other information the offeror believes will address the selection criteria identified in Part IV.

A. Target Population

Describe the dislocated worker target population, including the size, location, and needs of this population relative to the services being provided.

Indicate the beginning and end dates of the collective bargaining agreement(s) under which the target population was covered at the time of the workers' layoff or termination and the labor organization(s) and company(ies) who were the parties to the agreement(s).

B. Components of the Labor Organization Adjustment

Assistance Demonstration

Describe the major elements of the demonstration project, including how the project works in terms of the individual worker getting access to the reemployment and retraining services which the individual needs. Specifically:

How will new job openings and opportunities in demand occupations for the project participants be identified and developed?

What services will be covered by the reemployment and retraining program? Describe the mechanisms to be used to ensure appropriate outreach and recruitment. Explain how these services are relevant to the target population to be served. Explain how these services will focus on utilizing a participant's current (pre-layoff) skills for placement and/or retraining purposes. [Note: Such services must be authorized under Sections 314(c) and 314(d) of JTPA and comply with applicable federal regulations at 20 CFR 627 and 631.]

How will the reemployment and retraining service needs of the individual worker be determined? What will be the sequence of services provided and the criteria/decision points used to determine the appropriateness of specific services for individual participants? By way of illustration, include a flowchart indicating the sequence of services provided, the decision points which determine the services to be provided to a participant, and the expected duration of each service component.

How will qualified providers of reemployment and retraining services be determined if they are used?

How will a participant's continuing participation in the program be monitored? At what point(s) will termination occur?

What information will be available to the worker to identify and evaluate alternative employment opportunities? How will this information be developed? How will the worker be able to access this information?

How will the components described in this subpart relate to the demonstration purpose of testing innovative approaches for maximizing the utilization of workers' current skills for entry into new or related demand occupations?

C. Administration and Management

Identify the management structure for the project and describe the means to ensure accountability for funds as well as performance.

Provide a description of the process and procedures to be used to obtain feedback from participants and other appropriate parties on the responsiveness and effectiveness of the services provided. The description should include an identification of the types of information to be obtained, the method(s) and frequency of data collection, and how the information will be used in implementing and managing the project. Specific references should be made to collecting information needed to determine: 1) the achievement of project outcomes as indicated in section E (including 90 day follow-ups of participants to determine demonstration program goal achievement) and 2) the reporting of participants, outcomes, and expenditures. Indicate what methods, e.g. surveys, focus groups, will be used to collect feedback information.

Describe the applicant's past experience in the management of projects similar to that being proposed.

D. Use of existing services and resources

Identify specific sources and amounts of other funds, if any, which will be used in addition to funds provided through this grant to implement the project. Include:

1) information on any non-JTPA resources committed to this project, including employer funds, secured and unsecured loans, grants, and other forms of assistance, public and private; and 2) a description of the relationship of the proposed project to the ongoing assistance to dislocated workers through the formula-funded JTPA Title III-A program in the service area and those procedures to be used to ensure non-duplication of services between the formula-funded Title III-A program and the project. Describe any other coordination of resources and agencies that may be undertaken.

E. Outcomes

Identify project outcomes and the specific measures, and planned achievement levels, that will be used to determine the success of the project.

These outcomes and measures should include, but are not limited to:

The number of participants to be enrolled in services, those successfully completing services through the project, and those to be placed into new jobs including (to be separately identified) those obtaining new jobs utilizing a high degree of their previous job skills;

Measurable effects of the services provided to project participants as indicated by gains in individuals' skills, competencies, or other outcomes;

Average wages of participants prior to and at completion of project;

Customer satisfaction with the project, and at critical points in the service delivery; and

Other additional measurable, performance-based outcomes that are relevant to the proposed intervention and which may be readily assessed during the period of performance of the project. [NOTE: An explanation of how such additional measures are relevant to the purpose of the demonstration program shall be included in the application.]

The proposal must also describe how outcomes achieved by individuals served by the project are to be related to the numerical demonstration program goals identified in Part I, section B.

F. Replicability

Describe the information to be provided on project activities that will allow other parties to replicate the proposed project. Discuss the applicability of the project to other dislocated worker programs.

Part IV. Evaluation criteria

Prospective offerors are advised that the selection of grantee(s) for award is to be made after careful evaluation of proposals by a panel selected by DOL. Panelists will evaluate the proposals for acceptability based on the various factors enumerated below. The panel results are advisory in nature and not binding on the Grant Officer.

Evaluations will be made on the basis of both what the proposed offeror intends to do during the grant period, and on the usefulness of the demonstration after the end of the grant period.

A. Technical Evaluation (80 points)

Services and Target Group. (35 points) The responsiveness of the services to be provided, including the degree to which the services appear to meet the needs of the target population. The extent to which the services to be provided focus on and are innovative in utilizing participants' current (pre-layoff) skills. The demonstrated relationship between the services to be provided and the jobs into which participants are to be placed. The scope of the project in terms of the number of participants to be served. (Relates to information requested in Part III, sections A, B, and E.)

Management Structure. (15 points)

The extent to which the management structure ensures accountability for performance, monitors customer satisfaction, and includes procedures for continuous quality improvement. The ability of the management structure to determine the extent to which the planned project outcomes and demonstration program goals have been met by the project. (Relates to information requested in Part III, section C.)

Coordination and Linkages; Utilization of Resources. (10 points)

The extent to which the project will use other existing public and private resources including employer and union-funded assistance, avoid duplication of services with the formula-funded Title III-A program, and coordinate its services with other appropriate State and local organizations. (Relates to information requested in Part III, section D.)

Demonstrated Experience. (10 points)

Experience in the oversight and operation of projects requiring management capabilities and experience similar to the proposed project. (Relates to information requested in Part III, section C.)

Replicability. (10 points)

The completeness of the information to be provided on project activities that will allow others to replicate the project. The likelihood that the approach may be applicable to a broad range of dislocated worker programs across the country. (Relates to information requested in Part III, section F.)

B. Cost Evaluation (20 points)

The cost effectiveness of the project as indicated by the relationship of proposed costs to number of participants to be served, the range of services to be provided and the planned outcomes, as compared to other service strategies available for Title III grantees. The extent to which the budget is justified and supports the planned outcomes.

Applicants are advised that discussions may be necessary in order to clarify any inconsistencies in their applications. Applications may be rejected where the information required is not provided in sufficient detail to permit adequate assessment of the proposal. The final decision on the award will be based on what is most advantageous to the Federal Government as determined by the ETA Grant Officer.

Part V. Reporting requirements

Applicants selected as grantees will be required to provide the following reports:

A. Monthly and Quarterly Progress Reports

B. Standard Form 269, Financial Status Report Form, on a quarterly basis.

C. Final Project Report including an assessment of project performance.

Signed at Washington, D.C., this 24th day of October, 1997.

Janice E. Perry

Grant Officer, Employment and Training Administration

APPENDICES

No. 1 - Application for Federal Assistance (Standard Form 424)

No. 2 - Budget Form - Non Construction Programs (Standard Form 424-A)

Attachment No. 1

Application for Federal Assistance (Standard Form 424)

Attachment No. 2

Budget Form - Non Construction Programs (Standard Form 424A)

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