Billing Code 4510-30-M

                       DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

              Employment and Training Administration
                     DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 

             Office of Vocational and Adult Education

AGENCIES: Employment and Training Administration, Labor.

          Office of Vocational and Adult Education, Education.

ACTION: Notice of availability of funds and solicitation for

grant applications (SGA) for engaging employers in State and

local School-to-Work (STW) systems through efforts undertaken by

industry groups and trade associations.



Labor and Education jointly invite proposals for approximately

3 - 5 new awards in FY 1998, as authorized under section 403 of

the School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994 (the Act).  These

awards will provide support to industry groups and trade

associations to undertake outreach, technical assistance, and

other activities to engage and to build the capacity of employers

to participate in STW systems.  As a result of the products

developed and activities carried out, awardees will be asked to

provide clear, quantifiable evidence that they are significantly

increasing the numbers of employers in their industry who are

participating in STW activities.

DATES: Applications for grant awards will be accepted commencing

(date of publication).  The closing date for receipt of

applications is (45 days from date of publication), at

4 P.M., (Eastern Time) at the address below.  Telefacsimile (FAX)

applications WILL NOT BE HONORED.

ADDRESSES:  Applications shall be mailed to:  U.S. Department of

Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Division of

Acquisition and Assistance, Attention:  Ms. Laura Cesario,

Reference:  SGA/DAA 98-003, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Room

S-4203, Washington, D.C., 20210.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  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  Award notifications will also be

published on this Home Page.


I. Purpose.  To invite proposals to support industry and trade

associations to undertake outreach, technical assistance, and

other activities to engage and to build the capacity of employers

to participate in STW systems. 

II.  Background.  The School-to-Work Opportunities Act was signed

into law by the President on May 4, 1994.  Jointly administered

by the Departments of Labor and Education, this Act is a new

approach to education that seeks to better prepare all American

youth for careers in high skill, high wage jobs and to strengthen

the linkages between what is learned in school with work.  Under

the Act, venture capital grants are provided to States and local

communities to undertake systemic reform. Grants are for a

limited duration with the Federal investment declining over time.

These investments are intended to support the one-time costs of

States and local communities to restructure learning experiences

for all students.  The Act also provides a set-aside of funds for

national activities to support School-to-Work system-building

nationwide.  These funds are used for technical assistance and

capacity building, for outreach, and for research and evaluation.

Section 403 of the Act, relating to training and technical

assistance, specifically directs the Secretaries to "work in

cooperation with ....employers and their associations. . .to

increase their capacity to develop and implement effective

School-to-Work programs."

III. Statement of Work.  Employer Participation in STW. Changes

in our economy, technology and global competition are driving

forces behind efforts to improve the academic performance and

career preparedness of today's youth.  Among its purposes, the

National School-to-Work Opportunities Act was enacted to:

"utilize workplaces as active learning environments in the

educational process by making employers joint partners with

educators in providing opportunities for all students to

participate in high-quality, work-based learning experiences."

Work-based learning is one of the three key components within a

STW system (school-based learning and connecting activities are

the other two).  Thus, employer participation is critical for the

implementation and sustainability of STW systems.

Employers participate in STW systems through a number of

different activities involving students, teachers and with State

and local governing bodies.  The Employer Participation Model,

published by the National Employer Leadership Council, outlines

more than 50 different opportunities for employer involvement in

STW.  States and local communities are actively working to engage

employers in becoming partners and active participants within

their STW systems.  

Status of Employer Investments. Prior to this year, the two

Departments through the National School-to-Work Office have made

a number of investments to support employer knowledge and

participation in aspects of emerging STW systems. A major

investment included support for the establishment and development

of the National Employer Leadership Council (NELC), the mission

of which has been to enlist the leadership of highly visible CEOs

of major companies in order to promote STW at the highest levels

of corporate business.  Another significant investment included

one through an existing ETA grant to the National Alliance of

Business (NAB).  The purpose of this project was to promote

participation in STW through ETA's workforce development

infrastructure featuring a partnership comprised of NAB, NELC,

the Association of Private Industry Councils, and the National

Employer Council.  The National STW office also invested in

outreach activities and specific publications targeted to

business entities and employers.  Additional investments have

been made in the research and evaluation area to collect data on

employer participation.  Such data has been collected from three

sources: 1.) the National Employer Survey conducted by the

University of Pennsylvania's Center on Educational Quality of the

Workforce, 2.) the School to Work progress measure system, and

3.) The Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Longitudinal Survey

of Youth Data Collection.

There is preliminary information that supports the notion that

the investments made to date on employer participation are having

a modest impact, and that there is an extremely long way to go

before employer participation can be considered at scale and

sufficiently sustainable.  The recently released evaluation of

STW work systems conducted by Mathematica Policy Research

revealed that employers are playing an active role in local

partnerships, participating widely in governing boards and in

about a quarter of the cases are actually chairing these bodies.

They are offering varied forms of work based learning

opportunities, hosting teacher internships and contributing to

curriculum development.  However, according to the Mathematica

report, partnerships face major challenges to recruit large

numbers of employers.  The report concludes that "Employer

recruiting will have to expand participation manyfold beyond 1996

levels if the goals States are setting for workplace activity are

to be realized."

Other research such as the National Employer Leadership Survey

conducted by the Center on Educational Quality of the Workforce

suggests that employers, under the right circumstances are more

than ready and eager to participate in STW programs.  However, as

key stakeholders, contributors to and major beneficiaries of STW,

they will require more clear linkages and more focused attention

than has been typically occurring.  It is also clear that other

stakeholders, particularly educators, need to be better connected

and attuned to employer perspectives.

These reports and past experience with national employer

investments obviously suggest that stronger and more strategic

employer investments will be necessary if the entire STW system

can really be brought to scale and confidently sustained.

Industry focus. On June 18, 1997, the National Advisory Council

for STW Opportunities held its third meeting.  Advisory Council

members were asked to consider and provide their input to the two

Departments on key issues surrounding sustainability of the STW

initiative.  Employer participation was identified as a key area

of consideration.  Among the suggestions made by Council members

was for the Departments to make strategic investments with

industry associations to conduct outreach and develop the

capacity of employers to participate in STW systems.

The Departments agree that engaging employers by industry sectors

and through industry groups and trade associations has the

potential to capture a critical mass of STW business partners. 

In addition, when industries are partners with education they can

be engaged in the design of portable, industry recognized

credentials that certifies that a student has mastered skills at

least as challenging as skill standards endorsed by the National

Skill Standards Board or those developed under an approved State

plan.  Through the resources of several industry-specific

business associations, affiliate networks of national and State

trade associations can link to small and large employers and use

the associations' infrastructures to develop the capacity of

employers to participate in local STW partnerships. 

Industries which already have a solid base of employer

participation to build upon, provide jobs that lead to high wage

careers for students; or are projected to grow are considered to

be of high priority by the Departments for making strategic


The Mathematica national evaluation report and occupational and

industry outlook data prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

(BLS) data, identify industries that show significant potential

for building employer participation in STW.  Mathematica's

national evaluation report provides baseline information on

leading industries in which students have paid workplace

experiences through jobs obtained either outside of school or

through school.  The data was collected through student surveys 

in eight states and identified the following industries as the

leading employers of students:  retail trade; manufacturing,

transportation, and utilities; finance, insurance, and real

estate; automotive repair; health service; and education, public

administration and legal/social services.  BLS data on growth

industries and occupations and on industries expected to need a

high number of replacement workers confirm that these are the

leading industries for job opportunities and growth.

Employer Investment Categories.  Reaching a critical mass of

employer participation and sustaining the effort will require

that both private and public sector employers are knowledgeable

enough to want to participate, that there is research - both hard

evidence and anecdotal examples - to demonstrate the conditions

under which there is return on the investment when they

participate, that employer participation is easily facilitated,

that other stakeholders are ready and knowledgeable enough to

partner with employers, that employers are able to influence

other institutions for mutual benefit, that employers help infuse

STW into other systems, and that investments in employer

participation grow and leverage other resources. Based on lessons

learned from previous investments, results of research and

evaluative data gathering, and the degree of employer

participation required for bringing STW to scale, activities for

employer engagement can be clustered around the following broad

investment categories.
     1.   Products and activities that enable employer participation

and build a knowledge base of employers.

This includes but is not limited to those activities that

address barriers to participation, provide more information to

employers, organize employer events, highlight effective and best

practices, and generally provide outreach to the employer


     2.   Educating other stakeholders about business need and

business culture.

Educators especially need a better grounding on how to work

effectively in partnership with employers.  Previous experience

tells us that employer involvement becomes tenuous when they are

in a ready posture to participate but schools and others are not

ready to engage employers.

     3.   Employers influencing institutions.

There are multiple and complex institutional entities that

necessarily interact with business in STW.  Policies and

practices of these institutions are often out of line with

business and industry need and are often inadvertently misaligned

with economic trends that affect their own effectiveness.  Thus,

there is a need for business influence on not only education, but

other initiatives.

     4.   Advocating for Intermediaries.

The process of connecting schools with employers and students

with employers can be time consuming and challenging given the

institutional and cultural barriers described above.  One

successful approach has been the use of intermediary

organizations that connect the two.  Demonstrating and 

researching the features of intermediary relationships that are

particularly effective in linking schools and employers will be

especially valuable to bringing STW to scale.  As one report

states:  "Employers want a reliable intermediary much more than

they want incentives." 

     5.   Research.

Anecdotal stories of success and effectiveness are useful, but

lack wide scale generalization.  Research is needed that

empirically demonstrates the benefit of employer participation in

STW and those variables likely to contribute to effective

employer involvement and employer return on investment.

     6.   Building employer capacity.

There is a need to address industry specific needs as well as to

tie STW participation into each industry's evolving skill

standards.  There are a host of other ways in which to flexibly

address employer needs as agents of STW implementation.

While the intensity and mix of activities that will lead to scale

and sustainability of employer participation is best determined

on an industry-by-industry basis, the Departments believe that it

is beneficial to all industries involved to coordinate efforts

across industries to share lessons learned, discuss common issues

and share related products.  The Departments expect that

successful applicants will coordinate activities and share


IV. Application Process.  

Eligible Applicants:  Any industry or trade association or a

nonprofit organization in partnership groups.  Potential

applicants however, should note the Departments' priority in

supporting industry groups that can demonstrate that they have a

strong base of STW participation to build upon, are in growth

industries, or have high potential for providing jobs that

provide career pathways for new job entrants.  High priority

industries include:  retail trade; manufacturing, transportation

and utilities; finance, insurance and real estate; automotive

repair; health service; and education, public administration and

legal/social services.  In preparing the proposal, please use the

following headings and respond to the information in each of the

following categories.

1.  Industry and Project. Identify the industry, sponsoring

association (or nonprofit organization) and title of the

proposal.  Provide information on the number and percentage of

industry and mix (large and small) employers that will be 

represented by this proposal.

2.  Project Proposal.  Provide a detailed work plan that includes

a description of the proposed activities, with accompanying time

lines, and the target audiences for these activities.  The

offeror should demonstrate how the proposed work plan will

contribute to bringing STW to scale and how it will lead to

sustainability.  Indicators demonstrating whether the work plan

is likely to help bring STW to scale include:

                    showing the impact/usefulness at the national, state,

          and local levels and demonstrating an "outreach" effort

          to enhance this impact.

                    articulating how the planned activities will build

          linkages between the business and education communities

          in measurable ways, including and especially through

          the use of intermediary organizations.

                    connecting to emerging industry recognized skill


                    identifying opportunities/activities/materials for

          teacher's professional development in the area of

          employer engagement.

                    identifying innovative approaches to work based

          learning that can accommodate any student.

Indicators showing whether the plan demonstrates

sustainability after the federal investment has ended include:

                    providing a realistic plan for institutionalizing the

          endeavor beyond merely a specific project level.

                    extracting and documenting the common lessons

          applicable to other interested entities within a

          targeted industry, occupation or sector.  
                    identifying both federal and non-federal funding

          sources that amplify and outlast the federal


                    describing in business terms how it is a solution to a

          business problem or address a business need.

                    identifying clear roles for major stakeholder groups

          such as industry, organized labor, educators, parents

          and students.

3.  Connecting to related initiatives and entities.  The offeror

should demonstrate how its proposed plan of activities will build

upon existing or create new coalitions that maximize business

involvement and participation in STW; and/or connect with other

entities with similar experiences and interests to identify

related products, resources, funding and interests in order to

take advantage of activities in the larger arena of STW

implementation; and/or involve the public and private sectors in

ways that capitalize on, and connect to, existing,

infrastructures and overall workforce development systems; and/or

connect to existing industry skill standards development efforts,

including the work of the emerging Voluntary Partnerships funded

by the National Skill Standards Board.

4.  Results.  The offeror should provide specific and

quantifiable outcomes that are anticipated from the proposed plan

of activities.  In identifying outcomes, the offeror should also

explain how it will collect data, document results and use these

results in ongoing working relationships with members.

5.  Capability.  The offeror should demonstrate the capability of

the organization and the key staff assigned to undertake the work

plan, including examples of prior related efforts that

demonstrate success in providing outreach and capacity building

of member firms.

V.  Application Submittal.  Applicants must submit an original

and three (3) copies of their proposal.  The applications shall

be divided into two distinct parts:  Part I - which contains

Standard Form (SF) 424, "Application for Federal Assistance,"

(Appendix A) and "Budget Information Sheet," (Appendix B).  All

copies of the SF 424 MUST have original signatures of the

designated fiscal agent.  Applicants shall indicate on the SF-424

the organization's IRS status.  The Catalog of Federal Domestic

Assistance number is 17.249.  In addition, the budget shall

include--on a separate page(s)--a detailed cost break-out of each

line item on the Budget Information Sheet.  Part II shall contain

the program narrative that demonstrates the applicant's plan and

capabilities in accordance with the evaluation criteria contained

in this notice.  Applicants must describe their plan in light of

each of the Evaluation Criteria.  No cost data or reference to

price shall be included in this part of the application.

Applicants MUST limit the program narrative section to no more

than 30 double-spaced pages, on one side only.  This includes any

attachments.  Applications that fail to meet the page limitation

requirement will not be considered.

VI.  Late Applications.  Any application received after the exact

date and time specified for receipt at the office designated in

this notice will not be considered, unless it is received before

awards are made and it - (a) 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 application

submitted in response to a solicitation requiring receipt of

applications by the 20th of the month must have been mailed/post

marked by the 15th of that month); or (b) Was sent by the U.S.

Postal Service Express Mail Next Day Service to addresses not

later than 5:00 P.M. at the place of mailing two working days

prior to the date specified for receipt of applications.  The

term "working days" excludes weekends and Federal holidays.  The

term "post marked" 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 or affixed on the date of mailing by an employee of the

U.S. Postal Service.

VII.  Hand Delivered Proposals.  It is preferred that

applications be mailed at least five days prior to the closing

date.  To be considered for funding, hand-delivered applications

must be received by 4:00 P.M., (Eastern Time), on the closing


Failure to adhere to the above instructions will be a basis for a

determination of nonresponsiveness.  Overnight express mail from

carriers other than the U.S. Postal Service will be considered

hand-delivered applications and MUST BE RECEIVED by the above

specified date and time.

VIII.  Funding Availability and Period of Performance.  The

Departments expect to make up to 5 awards with a maximum total

investment for these projects of $6 million.  The period of

performance will be for 24 months from the date the grant is

awarded.  The Departments may, at their option, provide

additional funds for a third year at a lower level of funding,

depending upon fund availability and performance of the awardee.

IX.  Review Process.  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 the grants 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.  Awards will

be those in the best interest of the Government.  


1.  The extent to which the organization represents a critical

mass of employers within a growth industry .  (25 Points)

                         .    Is this the lead organization for the industry ?

                         .    Is this a growth industry?

                         .    Is this an industry in which there is already

                significant participation in work place

                experiences for teachers and/or students?

                         .    Does the industry offer jobs that provide pathways

                to high wage careers?

                         .    Is the industry and/or lead organization currently

                involved in the development and use of skill

                standards within education and training systems?
2.  The extent to which the proposed plan will leverage the

infrastructure of a national industry or trade association in

order to reach a critical mass of employers who will participate

in and benefit from STW. ( 25 Points)

                         .    Is the plan specific as to the activities proposed

                and how these activities will result in broad

                employer participation?

                         .    Does the proposal clearly demonstrate how the

                activities proposed will bring employer

                participation in STW systems to scale?

                         .    Does the plan clearly demonstrate how the

                organization plans to build upon existing venues

                for reaching member firms?

                         .    Are the outcomes proposed specific and realistic?
3.  The extent to which the proposal addresses the system-

building elements of STW.  (25 Points)

                         .    Is it clear how other critical stakeholders will

                be involved at the State and local levels?

                         .    Does the proposal address how the activities will

                connect with State and local STW system


                         .    Does the proposal include how this project will

                relate to other industry associations and

                business coalitions?

                         .    Does the proposal address the activities that

                connect employers with schools at the local level

                and how these activities will be accomplished?

                         .    Does the proposal address how the activities will

                connect and leverage other national initiatives

                which promote industry involvement in the

                development and use of skill standards?

4.  The extent to which the proposed plan is likely to produce

sustainable employer engagement in STW after the federal

investment has ended.  (25 Points)

                         .    Is there evidence of non-grant funding that

                amplifies the federal investment and that is

                likely to contribute to sustaining the project's


                         .    Is the proposal specific as to the business needs

                and problems that the proposed activities are

                designed to address?

X.  Reporting Requirements.  Applicants selected as grantees will

be required to provide the following information:

A.  To facilitate exchange of information, the Departments expect

to convene grantees for meetings of approximately one-day

duration on a quarterly basis.  It is anticipated that half the

meetings will be in Washington, D.C., and the remaining at

locations to be determined.

B.  Semi-annual progress reports in a format to be determined.

C.  Standard Form 269, Financial Status Report Form, on a

quarterly basis.

D.  Final Project Report.

Signed at Washington, D.C., this 2nd day of December 1997.

Janice E. Perry

Grant Officer


Appendix A:  Application for Federal Assistance, SF Form 424

Appendix B:  Budget Information Sheet