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Incumbent Worker Demonstration Program

    Billing Code: 4510-30

    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

    Employment and Training Administration

    Job Training Partnership Act, Title III, Demonstration

    Program: Incumbent Worker 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 ability of the workforce development system to partner with employers, training providers and others to develop incumbent worker training programs which promote retention, as documented by continued employment at the employer-of-record; upgrading the skills of incumbent workers; increasing the firm's or firms' or sector's or industry's profitability; and enabling workers to become more competitive in the marketplace.

    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 $9 million will be available for funding demonstration projects covered by this solicitation.

    DATES: The closing date for receipt of proposals is March 1, 1999 at 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).

    ADDRESSES: Applications shall be mailed to: U.S. Department of Labor; Employment and Training Administration; Division of Acquistion and Assistance; Attention: Mamie D. Williams, Reference: SGA/DAA 99-002; 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Room S-4203; Washington, DC 20210.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions should be faxed to Mamie D.Williams, Division of Acquistion and Assistance. Telephone (202) 219-8739 (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 guidelinges 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 evaluation applications. Part V discusses the demonstration program's monitoring, reporting and evaluation.

    Part I. Background

    A. Authority

    Section 323(a) (6) 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). In addition, section 324 of the Act allows for demonstration projects that provide assistance to new entrants in the workforce and incumbent workers. Demonstration program grantees must comply with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations in setting up and carrying out their programs.

    B. Purpose

    Employers and employees alike are facing increasing challenges in their efforts to remain competitive. Increased competition, along with other factors such as the reductions in the defense industry have resulted in significant downsizing of workforces. The increasing adoption of technology has resulted in the realization that the skills of many workers are redundant and must be upgraded in order for them to be able to compete in the current economy.

    Many organizations have seen the need to train and re-train existing members of their workforce to enable the companies, as well as the employees, to remain competitive. These organizations have invested in employer-based training to upgrade the skills of the current workforce. Some of this training is conducted in-house by company employees. Other training is contracted out to local training providers such as community colleges and private trade schools. Some firms, who may not have the capacity or resources to develop additional employer-based training, have foregone training altogether but are finding that without it employees will be unable to progress to the next level, resulting in a workforce that is unable to keep up with the demands of the ever-changing marketplace. In addition, it has been documented by a number of studies that a small percentage of workers are the recipients of the majority of the training, leaving a large gap in the number of workers receiving sufficient training to remain competitive.

    While in general the term "incumbent worker training" may be used to denote any existing efforts on the part of employers to provide training to currently-employed workers in order to help keep these employees employed, the term will be used in the solicitation to describe efforts to keep firms and workers competitive by keeping workers employed, averting layoffs, upgrading workers' skills, increasing wages earned by employees, and improving employees' employability.

    The purpose of this demonstration is to test the ability of the nation's workforce development system to partner with employers, training providers and others to train and re-train incumbent workers in the nation's workforce. The U.S. Department of Labor has specific goals for the incumbent worker training demonstration. They are:

      1. To support projects that further job retention and career development for improved economic self-sufficiency for employed workers including those most vulnerable to job loss;

      2. To increase the capacity of the workforce development system to support incumbent worker training;

      3. To support projects that increase the capability of companies to access and retain skilled workers;

      4. To gain an increased understanding on "return on investment," particularly through outcome measures;

      5. To increase training capacity and understanding of incumbent worker training by employers.

    C. Demonstration Policy

    1. Grant Awards

    DOL anticipates awarding a total of $9,000,000 to ten to twelve grants in two categories, with individual grant amounts varying depending upon the type of grant awarded. It is anticipated that awards will be made by April 30, 1999. Award decisions will be published on the Internet at ETA's Home Page at http://www.doleta.gov.

    2. Allowable Activities

    Allowable activities include, but are not limited to, those listed under sections 314(c) and 314(d) of the Job Training Partnership Act. They include basic readjustment services such as assessment of educational attainment and interests and aptitudes. Job development and placement activities are prohibited, as they are the responsibility of the employer in incumbent worker training situations. Training for workers may include basic education such as basic math, grammar, and English as a Second Language training, and skill training to upgrade existing skills, or to provide new skills.

    Funds provided through this demonstration may be used to provide supportive services, if appropriate based upon the needs of the workers, e.g., they are necessary to enable the individual who is eligible for training, but cannot afford to pay for such supportive or services to participate in the training program. Supportive services may be provided if appropriate to the needs of the workers. Such services are defined in Section 4(24) of JTPA. (Use ETA's web site reference above to view.) Needs-related payments may not be provided with grant funds.

    Grant funds may be used to reimburse employers for extraordinary costs associated with on-the-job training of program participants, if appropriate and justified. Applicants must justify the use of grant funds for training that an employer is in a position to pay for and would have provided in the absence of the requested grant. Grant funds may not be used to pay salaries for program participants or for acquisition of production equipment. Applicants may budget funds to work with technical experts or consultants to provide advice and develop more complete project plans after a grant award. The level of detail in the project plan may affect the amount of funding provided.

    3. Specific Outcome Goals

    For all projects, the specific outcome goals are as follows:

      (1) to develop incumbent worker training programs for current employees;

      (2) to develop partnerships with other entities in the development of the training program including other firms within the same industry; other firms within the same sectors; local training institutions; and/or intermediary organizations such as unions, service delivery areas, states, substate regions, etc.

      (3) to develop incumbent worker training programs which result in one or more of the following:

        - to promote retention as documented by continued employment at the employer-of-record for specified period of time;

        - to improve workers' basic and transitional skills;

        - to upgrade skills of workers;

        - to maintain or increase wage levels;

        - to increase the firm's/ or firms'/ or sector's/ or industry's profitability;

        - to update workers' obsolete skills;

        - to enable workers to become more competitive in the marketplace.

      (4) to develop a training program which continues to be sustainable within firms and local areas after the period of the federal grant ends;

      (5) to document efforts toward achieving lifelong learning;

      (6) to develop and document efforts toward replicating the incumbent worker training effort elsewhere within the workforce development system;

      (7) to disseminate information on lessons learned throughout the workforce development system.

    In addition to the above, the following specific outcome goals apply to large firms or industries:

      - to develop incumbent worker training programs which result in one or more of the following:

      - to promote retention as documented by continued employment at the employer-of-record for specified period of time by focusing on non-managerial workers most vulnerable to layoffs or those who would face barriers to reemployment at a similar wage if they were laid off;

      - to develop interventions for employees most "at risk" of job loss;

    2. Types of Projects

    Two types of projects will be funded under this Solicitation for Grant Application (SGA): incumbent worker training for small and medium-size firms or regional sectors and incumbent worker training for large firms or industries. Applications for each type of project will be considered against other applications in the same category.

      A. Incumbent Worker Training for Small and Medium-size Firms or Regional Economic and Industry Sectors or Regional Industries

      Many small and medium-size firms (those with 500 or fewer employees) may be unable to offer incumbent worker training solely with their own resources, but in combination with federal dollars may be able to develop incumbent worker training programs that result in one or more of the goals enumerated above. Many small firms may not have the capacity to apply for or administer a grant in isolation, but in combination with other firms in the same regional sector

      may be able to offer a more broad-based training effort that strengthens that regional sector. This type of project may only assist workers and firms with 500 or fewer employees.

      Eligible Applicants: For projects providing incumbent worker training for small and medium-sized employers or regional economic and industry sectors or regional industries, the eligible applicant must be an intermediary organization, which will work with a number of small and medium-size employers and coordinate their training activities. Such intermediary organizations may include a state, another public entity, a training institution, such as a community college, a manufacturing extension center funded through the Department of Commerce's Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program, a substate grantee (SSG), or a local workforce board or private industry council. Federal funds may not be used to duplicate or supplant other funding available. Any intermediary organization capable of fulfilling the terms and conditions of this solicitation may apply.

      Under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, Section 18, an organization described in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue code of 1986 which engages in lobbying activities shall not be eligible for the receipt of Federal funds constituting an award grant or loan. This is a risk-free Federal program: therefore, all for-profit organizations that apply will not be able to receive a fee if awarded a grant.

      Eligible Participants: Eligible participants for proposed projects include employed workers who are vulnerable to layoffs, who have low skills, those who are new entrants to the workforce, those in need of basic skills, those with obsolete skills, those who would face significant barriers to re-employment if laid off, and/or those who lack skills necessary to advance in the organization.

      Maximum Amounts Available: A maximum of $1,000,000 per project proposal, with no more than $100,000 in participant-related costs per individual firm. A total of $6,000,000 will be allocated for this activity.

      B. Incumbent Worker Training for Large Firms or Industries or Regional Sectors

      Large firms or industries may have greater resources to develop and administer incumbent worker training programs, but may also have greater needs. In this case the federal funds may supplement the training efforts developed by large firms or industries to accomplish one or more of the goals enumerated above.

      Eligible applicants: Eligible applicants for projects providing incumbent worker training for large employers or industries or regional sectors include employers with greater than 500 employees, or groups of large employers, or an intermediary organization such as a state, another public entity, a training institution, such as a community college, a substate grantee (SSG), a manufacturing extension center funded through the Department of Commerce's Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program, or a local workforce board or private industry council, who would work with a number of large employers or industries or sectors and coordinate their training activities. Employers are encouraged to partner with other employers or organizations to make maximum use of available funding. Federal funds may not be used to duplicate or supplant other funding available.

      Any organization capable of fulfilling the terms and conditions of this solicitation may apply.

      Under Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, Section 18, an organization described in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue code of 1986 which engages in lobbying activities shall not be eligible for the receipt of Federal funds constituting an award grant or loan. This is a risk free Federal program: therefore, all for profit organizations that apply will not be able to receive a fee if awarded a grant.

      Eligible participants: Eligible participants for proposed projects include non-managerial workers most vulnerable to layoffs and/or those who are low-waged, low-skilled, or those who would face significant barriers to reemployment at a similar wage if they were laid off, e.g., new entrants to the workforce, those in need of basic skills, and those with obsolete skills. Applicants must demonstrate that the incumbent workers are non-managerial employees.

      Maximum Amount Available: A maximum of $1,000,000 per grant with no more than $250,000 in participant-related costs per individual firm. A total of $3,000,000 will be allocated for this activity.

    3. Coordination

    All applicants are required to demonstrate partnership relationships with publicly-funded local workforce organizations such as workforce investment boards, one-stop career centers, and private industry councils. Where appropriate, partnerships should also included trade unions, manufacturing extension programs, economic development organizations, training institutions, and other local stakeholders. Any efforts proposed in isolation will not have the maximum impact on building capacity within that region or industry and are not likely to be funded.

    In order to maximize the use of public resources and avoid duplication of effort, applicants must 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. Projects linking or collaborating with an existing USDOL funded One-Stop/Career Center initiative and/or local JTPA Substate Grantee located within a project area fulfill this requirement.

    4. Cost Sharing/Match

    Incumbent worker training should be a collaborative effort between private and public resources. The Department of Labor will not bear the entire cost of incumbent worker training through demonstration funding. It will be a shared expense, with DOL contributing a portion of the costs and the employer and/or other partners contributing the rest. Activities conducted should be eligible both for the match (or cost sharing) and the federal funds. Participating employers are expected to pick up the costs of some of these activities.

    There has been considerable discussion about the contributions to be made by the employer to publicly-financed incumbent worker training. The impact of cost sharing or match or the ability to cost share or match differs, depending upon such factors as the size of the workforce, the type of industry or sector being impacted, whether workers belong to a union or not, and the current financial state of the industry or firm. What may be seen as a sacrifice on the part of one employer may seem superfluous to another employer.

    Those items eligible to be considered part of the cost-sharing or match are described in section III.C., "Collaboration and Cost Sharing/Match."

    5. Period of Performance

    The period of performance shall be 24 months from the date of execution by the Government.

    6. Option to Extend

    DOL may elect to exercise its option to extend these grants 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. Contents

    An original and 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" (Appendix B). 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

    Part II, the technical proposal shall demonstrate the applicant's capabilities in accordance with the Statement of Work in Part III of this solicitation. A grant application shall be limited to twenty (20) 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. Each application shall include the Checklist provided as Appendix C, a Time line outlining project activities, and an Executive Summary not to exceed two pages. NO COST DATA OR REFERENCE TO PRICE SHALL BE INCLUDED IN THE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL.

    B. 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 must be received at the designated place by 4:00 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 that fail to adhere to the above instructions will not be honored.

    C. 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.

    D. 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, each application should include:

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

    (2) other information that the applicant believes will address the evaluation 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 incumbent 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. Project Design

    This section should explain how firms and individuals within the target population will be identified for the project. Describe the assessment that will be conducted for participating firms and individuals. Describe how the type(s) of training planned for project participants will be determined, the types of training anticipated for participants, and the opportunities available upon completion of assessment and training services. Provide the documentation on which such descriptions are based. Include information about the number and type of jobs available which require updated skills not yet possessed by planned participants, wage information, and the information on specific sets of skills, knowledge or duties (including any industry-sponsored standards or certifications) necessary to perform the jobs. Identify sources of the occupational information or data used. Identify the types of training necessary and how they are appropriate to the company(ies) or firm(s) or sector(s). Anecdotal data should not be used.

    Company, industry, or sector or other local labor market information can be used to document needs. Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) available through a variety of web sites can be used as a source of documentation. In addition, State Occupational Information Coordinating Committee (SOICC) and JTPA Substate Grantee local job training plans may also be considered. If training is needed for retention of workers, provide documentation that this is the case. If opportunities are not available for at-risk workers within the firm, but are available outside of the firm with additional training, please provide this documentation.

      (1) Purpose. Describe the specific purpose or purposes of the proposed project.

      (2) Target population. Describe the proposed target population for the project and how this population was identified. If that population is limited to one or more subgroups of the incumbent 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 incumbent workers with the target population's characteristics in the project area(s).

      (3) Outreach and recruitment. Describe how eligible incumbent workers and firms 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.

      (4) Eligibility determination. Describe the criteria and process to be used in determining the appropriateness and eligibility of participating firms and the eligibility of potential participants in the project.

      (5) 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 in participating firms. Explain how the selection criteria relate to the specific purpose of the proposed project.

      (6) Services to be provided. Describe the services to be provided from the time of selection of participants through the completion of training. Define the end of the service strategy. Describe any services to be provided after training or re-training. The descriptions shall provide a clear understanding of the services that will be necessary for participants to receive training, to retain or upgrade their jobs or job skills, including services not funded under the grant. Define whether the services to be provided are part of a retention strategy or other strategy for the worker and/or the company(ies). Grant-funded activities should, at a minimum, include assessment and training services. Identify policies to demonstrate when supportive services are appropriate for individual participants.

      Identify any assessment tools proposed to be used before or after services are provided to identify the needs of both the companies and the workers. Describe how training will be customized to account for transferable skills, previous education, and particular circumstances of the target population and the skill needs of the employer(s). 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.

      (7) Firm selection and participant flow. Provide flowcharts with time indications to illustrate how the project will work with firms and participating individuals to ensure access to necessary and appropriate services. Describe the sequence of services and the criteria to be used to determine the appropriateness of specific services for particular firms and individual participants. Define the end of the service strategy.

      (8) Relationship to prior experience. Show how the applicant's prior experience in working with incumbent workers affects or influences the design of the proposed project.

    B. Planned Outcomes

    A description of the project outcomes and of the specific measures, and planned achievement levels, that will be used to determine the success of the project. These outcomes and measures may include, but are not limited to:

      (1) The number of participants projected: to be enrolled in services, to successfully complete services through the project, to retain their jobs after specified periods of time, to learn new skills which will assist them in retaining or upgrading their current positions or in moving to a new job, to be "placed" into new, enhanced jobs, or jobs in another occupational class or another occupation, if appropriate, either with the same company or another company;

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

      (3) Wages of participants prior to training and after training;

      (4) As part of the targeted outcome for wage after training, each project should benchmark the average weekly wage in the relevant sector or industry in the labor market in which each project will operate;

      (5) Customer satisfaction with the project services, and of critical points in the service delivery process for both employers and participating individuals;

      (6) Planned average cost per participant (amount of the grant request divided by the number of program-related training recipients); and

      (7) Employer-specific outcome measures that are relevant to the purpose of these grants, including measures related to participants' use of knowledge and skills learned during project-related training;

      (8) Other additional measurable, performance-based outcomes which are relevant to the project and which may be readily assessed during the period of performance of the project, such as cost effectiveness of services and comparison with other available service strategies, an increase in the firms' profitability, or the improved ability of workers to become more competitive in the marketplace . [Note: An explanation of how such additional measures are relevant to the purpose of the demonstration program shall be included in the application.]

    DOL may conduct additional studies during and after the completion of the projects examining such factors as long-term wage gains, retention, and labor market needs. Participating companies must agree to make such information available to DOL for at least a two-year period following the completion of the grant. Other information may be gathered by using Bureau of Labor Statistics data. DOL may contract with a qualified organization to conduct these follow-up studies.

    C. Collaboration and Cost Sharing/Match

    Describe the nature and extent of collaboration and working relationships between the applicant and publicly-funded local workforce organizations such as workforce investment boards, one-stop career centers, and private industry councils, training institutions, and other local stakeholders in the design and implementation of the proposed project. In addition, describe partnerships with trade unions, manufacturing extension programs, economic development organizations, if applicable. Include services to be provided through resources other than grant funds under this demonstration. Applicants are encouraged to commit matching funds to the implementation and management of their proposed programs. Matches may be in the form of cash or in-kind contributions. These may include but are not limited to such contributions as the development of training modules; payment of tuition costs for training; support for child care or transportation; provision of staff time at no cost to the project; release time in order for employees to obtain training during their regularly-assigned work hours; replacement costs for workers to cover times when employees are in training; training space; the cost of paying the training providers to develop and/or provide training; the cost of staff time to coordinate training; actual cash contributed to sustain the training efforts; the purchase of training equipment and supplies; and any other justified and approved training-related expenses such as the cost of training managers, keeping in mind maintenance of effort.

    Sources of matching funds may include but are not limited to employers, employer associations, labor organizations, and training institutions. 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.

    Match is encouraged on a 50/50 basis--50 percent of the cost of the grant to be provided by the applicant or other entity and 50 percent by the grant. These percentages are guidelines that may be waived for extenuating circumstances described in the application by the applicant.

    Provide evidence which ensures the collaboration described can reasonably be expected to occur, such as letters of agreement or formally established advisory councils. Because a core purpose of this demonstration program involves the publicly funded workforce system, the applicant shall describe working relationships with local Substate Grantee(s) and One-Stop Career Center entities where present. Describe activities that may be undertaken to link activities to program interventions under this grant to employer, industry, or curriculum/learning centers currently designing and developing occupational/job skill standards and certifications. Collaboration should focus on linking employers involved in grant activities with any employer, industry, or trade and worker association that has already developed or is developing skill standards certifications.

    Documentation of consultation on 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.

    D. Innovation

    Describe any innovation in the proposed project, including (but not limited to) innovations in concepts to be tested, services, delivery of services, training methods, job development, or job retention strategies. Explain how the proposed project is similar to and differs from the applicant's prior and current activities. Describe how successful activities and processes will be institutionalized within participating firms, partners, and local areas.

    E. 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 determine the achievement of project outcomes as indicated in section D of this part; and report on participants, outcomes, and expenditures.

    (3) Monitoring and Reporting.

      (a) Describe how the project will keep records of its activities, as required in 20 CFR 631.63 and 29 CFR Parts 95 and 97 as appropriate, which will include information such as the following:

      (b) Benchmarks. Provide a timeline of benchmarks covering the period of performance of the project. Include a monthly schedule of planned start-up events; a quarterly schedule of planned participant activity, showing cumulative numbers of participating firms, enrollments, participation in training and other services, terminations and quarterly cumulative expenditure projections.

      (c) Participant progress. Describe how a participant's and a firm's continuing participation in the project will be monitored.

      (d) Project performance. Identify the information on project performance that will be collected on a short-term basis (e.g., weekly or monthly) 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 available through DOL-supported initiatives.

      (e) 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.

    F. 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).

    G. 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 awards 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.

    A. Target Population (15 points).

    The description of the characteristics of the target group of firms and individuals to be served is clear and meaningful, and sufficiently detailed to determine the potential participants' service needs. Employer commitment and readiness are demonstrated either through direct evidence or a rigorous assessment process. Sufficient information is provided to explain how the number of firms served and incumbent workers to be enrolled in the project was determined. The service plan supports the number of planned enrollments. The target population is appropriate for the specific purpose of the proposed project.

    B. Service Plan and Cost (30 points).

    (a) The scope of services to be provided is consistent with the demonstration program and project purposes and goals.

    (b) 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 opportunities available after training relative to targeted wages and job openings;

      (3) the match between documented demand skills and the training planned;

      (4) the documentation provided specifying that training meets or is developed based on industry driven skill standards or certifications;

      (5) the length of program participation planned.

    (c) Documentation and reliability of skills needs within participating firms and/or labor markets is based upon recognized, reliable and timely sources of information.

    (d) The project service plan for incumbent worker training is a complementary component to the provision of other forms of assistance to participating firms.

    (e) 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/collaboration with other entities, including the One-Stop Career Center System. The impact of innovation on costs is explained clearly in the proposal and is reasonable.

    (f) Identification is provided of the specific sources and amounts of other funds which will be used, in addition to funds provided through this grant, to implement the project. The application must include information on any non-JTPA resources committed to this project, including employer funds, grants, and other forms of assistance, public and private. Value and

    level of external resources being contributed, including employer contributions, to achieve program goals will be taken into consideration in the rating process.

    C. Management (20 points).

    The applicant (as a part of a collaborative approach) has experience working with or has partnered with organizations skilled in assessing training needs and developing training. The management structure and management plan for the proposed project will ensure the integrity of the funds requested. The project work plan 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. In addition, review by appropriate labor organizations, where applicable, is documented.

    The proposal includes a method of assessing customer feedback for both participants and employers involved, and establishes a mechanism to take into account the results of such feedback as part of a continuous system of management and operation of the project.

    D. Collaboration (20 points).

    The proposal includes evidence of direct participation by JTPA Substate Grantees and the One-Stop Career Center System (where present) in the planning and management of this grant. Evidence of involvement by actual or prospective participating employers whose positions are targeted under the grant is present. Evidence of coordination with other programs and entities for project design or provision of services may also be provided. Evidence is presented that ensures cooperation of coordinating entities, as applicable, for the life of the proposed project. Relationship to a regional and/or State plan for economic and workforce development is clearly articulated. 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.

    E. Innovation (10 points).

    The proposal demonstrates innovation in the concept(s) to be tested, the project's design, and/or the services to be provided. "Innovation" refers to the degree to which such concept(s), design and/or services are not currently found in incumbent worker programs. 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. The proposal identifies potential benefits for other workforce development programs resulting from this grant.

    F. Sustainability (5 points)

    The proposal provides evidence that, if successful, activities supported by the demonstration grant will be continued after the expiration date of the grant, using other public or private resources. The proposal identifies active planning or other developmental activities for incumbent worker training that will build on and benefit from this project. These may be within participating firms or in external activities.

    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 Application for Federal Assistance (Standard Form) SF-424 constitutes a binding offer.

    Part V. Monitoring, Reporting and Evaluation

    A. Monitoring

    The Department shall be responsible for ensuring effective implementation of each competitive grant project in accordance with the Act, the Regulations, the provisions of this announcement and the negotiated grant agreement. Applicants should assume that at least one on-site project review will be conducted by Department staff, or their designees. This review will focus on the project's performance in meeting the grant's programmatic goals and participant outcomes, complying with the targeting requirements regarding participants who are served, expenditure of grant funds on allowable activities, collaboration with other organizations as required, and methods for assessment of the responsiveness and effectiveness of the services

    being provided. Grants may be subject to their additional reviews at the discretion of the Department.

    B. Reporting

    DOL will arrange for or provide technical assistance to grantees in establishing appropriate reporting and data collection methods and processes taking into account the

    applicant's project management plan. An effort will be made to accommodate and provide assistance to grantees to be able to complete all reporting electronically.

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

      1. Monthly and Quarterly Progress Reports

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

      3. Participant and firm-based reporting (to be developed).

      4. Final Project Report including an assessment of project performance. This report will be submitted in hard copy and on electronic disk utilizing a format and instructions to be provided by the Department.

    C. Evaluation

    DOL will arrange for or conduct an independent evaluation of the outcomes, impacts, and benefits of the demonstration projects. Grantees must agree to make available records on participants and employers and to provide access to personnel, as specified by the evaluator(s) under the direction of the Department.

    Signed at Washington, DC this 10th day of December , 1998.

    JANICE E. PERRY

    Grant Officer

    Appendices

    1. Appendix A--Application for Federal Assistance (Standard Form 424)

    2. Appendix B--Budget Information

    3. Appendix C--Application Checklist

    Appendix C

    Review Guide for State Incumbent Worker System Building Proposals

    State:_______________________________________________________

    Regional Contact:______________________________________________

    Regional Review Completed by:___________________________________

    Date:________________________________________________________

    Content Yes No Remarks
    Does the proposal contain the name of the State and the name of a contact person?
    Does the proposal contain the signature of the Governor or the Authorized Designee?
    Does the proposal contain the date of submission?
    Does the proposal contain the time period covered?
    Has the proposed been coordinated with the State JTPA liaison?
    OVERVIEW
    Does the proposal describe the State's current activities in the incumbent worker field?
    Does the proposal describe the State's goals for this effort?
    STRATEGY FOR STATEWIDE EFFORTS
    Does the proposal describe what will be necessary for a broad-based strategy Statewide for incumbent worker training, how much this effort will cost, and what funds have already been committed to this effort?
    Does the proposal describe how this effort will include planning for the selection of organizations, firms, or sectors to participate in incumbent worker activities and who will represent them in the planning and implementation processes?
    Review Guide page 2
    State___________________________

    Content
    Yes No Remarks
    STAKEHOLDERS TO BE TARGETED
    Does the proposal identify the organizations in the State which are already working on incumbent worker training?
    Does the proposal describe what stakeholders will be included in the planning process and their relevance to this effort?
    NEEDS FOR INCUMBENT WORKER TRAINING
    Does the proposal describe what already exists in the area of privately-funded and publicly-funded efforts and what organizations are already working together on this effort? Does the proposal describe how these needs were determined?
    Does the proposal describe the goals for the planning effort in the area of need identification? Are training needs documented? Does the proposal indicate who will be eligible for the training?
    TRAINING PROVIDERS
    Does the proposal identify potential issues related to selection of training providers and does it describe how the plan will address these issues?
    OUTCOME GOALS
    Does the proposal address how specific outcome goals for incumbent worker training will be determined and how achievement of goals will be measured?
    MANAGEMENT OF PROJECTS
    Does the proposal describe how the project will be managed, with the name of the project manager and the organization?
    Review Guide page 3
    State___________________________

    Content
    Yes No Remarks
    Does the proposal address how the planning activity will address the management of prospective incumbent worker training projects?
    BUDGET
    Does the proposal describe how much money is budgeted for this effort, including specific line items as contained in standard form 424A?
    Does the proposal describe each line item, with the basis for each cost? Does the proposal identify any non-system building grant funds devoted to the effort?
    TIME LINE
    Does the proposal describe which activities will take place during the project's period of performance to complete the State plan?
    EVALUATION
    Does the proposal describe how this demonstration project will be evaluated?
    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
    Does the proposal provide any additional information to explain the State's plan for Incumbent Worker Training?

    Appendix C

    Application Checklist

    Please complete and submit this checklist with your application. It should be used as a quick reference of key provisions of the

    Solicitation and whether or not these provisions have been included, complied with or addressed. This document is not intended to be comprehensive or address every aspect of the solicitation.

    Organization Applying_______________________________.

    Contact Person______________________________________.

    Phone Number______________________________________.

    Date submitted______________________________________.

    Application Process

    Please check below:

    ___Application is 20 pages or less.

    ___Attachments limited to 10 or fewer.

    ___An original and three copies submitted.

    ___SF424 (Appendix A) included.

    ___Budget Information Sheet (Appendix B) included.

    ___Checklist (Attachment C) included.

    ___Implementation schedule (Attachment D) included.

    ___Executive Summary of two pages or less included.

    Financial and Technical Provisions

    Provide page number below:

    ___Target Population identified, with supportive documentation.

    ___Manufacturing industry's(ies') jobs targeted are described and SIC codes are listed.

    ___Role and involvement in the project of employers experiencing skill shortages discussed and documented.

    ___Role of the local JTPA Substate Grantee for dislocated worker programs and One-Stop/Career Center system discussed and documented.

    ___Number and type of targeted jobs and requisite skill sets for employment addressed.

    ___Specific skill standards and certification for targeted occupations identified and discussed.

    ___Sources and credibility of labor market/job data cited.

    ___Approach to identifying and recruiting eligible participants included.

    ___Eligibility determination approach discussed.

    ___Process in selecting eligible participants discussed.

    ___Job placement strategy included.

    ___Sequence of services and activities to be provided discussed.

    ___Flowchart of participant services included.

    ___Applicants' prior experience with dislocated workers addressed.

    ___All project outcomes and measures of success specified in Part III D addressed.

    ___Method of assessing impact of coordination included.

    ___Coordination with other entities discussed.

    ___Innovation and impact of the project discussed.

    ___Management structure and staffing plan addressed ___Organizational chart and relationships included.

    ___Mechanism to ensure financial accountability discussed.

    ___Basis for applicant's administrative authority addressed.

    ___Applicant's Method/System to collect, track, manage, report, and utilize data on the project's progress and performance addressed.

    ___Ability to collect and submit SPIR data indicated.

    ___Benchmarks to indicate planned implementation schedule included.

    ___Method to obtain feedback from participants and employers discussed.

    ___Past experience in Federal demonstration grant projects discussed.

    ___Project's sustainability addressed.