Skip to content
  ETA Home   Workforce Professionals>    

Topics Of Interest



Month
  
   Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec

 

-
(Aug 27 2015)   Intersection between TANF and Refugee Cash Assistance Services: HHS/ACF Seeks Comment on Proposed Data Collection 
 
-
(Aug 27 2015)   BLM Announces Funding Opportunity for Youth and Young Adults to Work with Qualified Youth Conservation Corps 
 
-
(Aug 27 2015)   Department of Education Invites Applications under "Vocational Rehabilitation Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center" Program; States and Public or Nonprofit Agencies Eligible to Apply; Proposals Due September 24 
 
-
(Aug 27 2015)   ETA Releases "2014 Significant Measures of State UI Tax Systems" Report 
 
-
(Aug 27 2015)   Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship to Meet September 22 – 23 
 
-
(Aug 27 2015)   National Reporting System for Adult Education: Department of Education Announces Tests Suitable for Use 
 
-
(Aug 26 2015)   Renewable Energy Sector: National Renewable Energy Laboratory Explores Ways to Use Public Funds to Catalyze Private Investment in Solar Energy 
 
-
(Aug 26 2015)   Department of Education Announces Funding Opportunity --Technical Assistance Center for Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Program Evaluation and Quality Assurance 
 
-
(Aug 26 2015)   SBA Announces Open September Meetings of "Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development" and "Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs"; Veteran Entrepreneurship Policy and Programs under Consideration 
 
-
(Aug 26 2015)   Innovation Summit 2015: Models of Innovation (October 26 - 28) 
 
-
(Aug 26 2015)   Appalachian Apps: Transforming the Region's Economy (October 14 - 15) 
 
-
(Aug 26 2015)   HHS Seeks Nominations to the Health Information Technology Policy Committee and the Health Information Technology Standards Committee 
 
-
(Aug 24 2015)   Department of Commerce Announces Competition for $10 Million in Grants to Advance Innovation; Funding Available under i6 Challenge and "Seed Fund Support Grants"  
 
-
(Aug 21 2015)   OMB Announces Availability of the Circular A-133 Supplement 
 
-
(Aug 21 2015)   President Obama Announces New Commitments from Investors, Companies, Universities, and Cities to Advance Inclusive Entrepreneurship at First-Ever White House Demo Day 
 
-
(Aug 21 2015)   ETA Publishes Sixty-Day Notice for the Financial Report (Form 9130) 
 
-
(Aug 10 2015)   OMB Seeks Public Comment on Adapting the Proposed NAICS Updates for 2017 Recommended by the Economic Classification Policy Committee  
 
-
(Aug 10 2015)   STEM: NSF Announces Funding Opportunity under "Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers" 
 
-
(Aug 10 2015)   U.S. Manufacturing Council to Consider Recommendations on Improving Image of Manufacturing as Career Path at August 19 Meeting 
 
-
(Aug 10 2015)   HHS/ACF Seeks Comment on Proposed New Data Collection - Trafficking Victim Assistance Program Data 
 
-
(Aug 10 2015)   VA Launches New No-Cost Training Programs; Programs Designed to Help Transitioning Servicemembers and Veterans Develop New Skills and Credentials; Applications Accepted as of August 17  
 
-
(Aug 10 2015)   Federal - State Effort to Reduce the Practice of Misclassification of Employees 
 
-
(Aug 10 2015)   MDRC Launches Center for Applied Behavioral Sciences 
 
-
(Aug 6 2015)   NSF Announces Funding Opportunity under the "Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST)" Program; Announces Awards under the "Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research" 
 
-
(Aug 6 2015)   Department of Education Invites Postsecondary Schools to Participate in "Experimental Sites Initiative"; Focus on Eligible Incarcerated Youth; JFF Issues New Brief "Supporting Second Chances" 
 
-
(Aug 6 2015)   ETA Publishes Thirty Day Notice on the Information Collection to Support an Evaluation of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training (TAACCCT) Grants Program 
 
-
(Aug 6 2015)   USDA Announces First Private Sector Investments through U.S. Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund; Announces $18.1 Million to Help Rural Businesses Create Jobs 
 
-
(Aug 4 2015)   Census Bureau Outlines Plans for the "Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs" 
 
-
(Aug 3 2015)   OMB Advances Effective Date for Guidance for Reporting and Use Concerning Recipient Integrity and Performance Final Rule 
 
-
(Aug 3 2015)   HHS Awards $38 Million to Improve Coordinated Health Information Sharing; Selects Grantees to Update Training Materials under the HITECH-Funded Workforce Development Program 
 
-
(Aug 3 2015)   Legal Services Corporation Discusses ETA Support for Agricultural Data 
 

 

Description

 

Intersection between TANF and Refugee Cash Assistance Services: HHS/ACF Seeks Comment on Proposed Data Collection


The Administration for Children and Families has proposed a data collection to better “understand the intersection between TANF and Refugee Cash Assistance services.”

The goal of this project is to help ACF better understand how the variety of systems that assist refugees collaborate to promote common goals of self-sufficiency and employment, and how refugees' experiences might differ depending on the structure of the state (or local) program arrangements. To achieve this goal, this study aims to document what states are doing to help refugees gain self-sufficiency; if and how states are integrating RCA, TANF, and associated services to better meet the needs of refugees; and what data is collected currently, or might be collected in the future, to better understand refugee resettlement services and suggest future areas for inquiry.

The proposed data collection activities will collect data about state policies and practices; how TANF, RCA, and associated services are provided; the respective roles of the various agencies and organizations in serving participants; how the agencies and organizations integrate services internally and/or collaborate with other organizations; refugee populations served; approaches to addressing the particular barriers refugees face; promising practices and strategies for assisting refugees; gaps in services; local labor market conditions; and experiences of refugees accessing services through these programs.

ACF’s August 14 FEDERAL REGISTER notice provides the opportunity to comment on proposed new information collection activities for this study:

• The survey of state refugee coordinators and Wilson-Fish program coordinators will be administered to state refugee coordinators in each state and the District of Columbia. The survey will collect information about state policies and practices.

• The four site visit interview guides will collect information about how TANF, RCA, and associated services are provided; the respective roles of the various agencies and organizations in serving participants; how the agencies and organizations integrate services internally and/or collaborate with other organizations; approaches to addressing the particular barriers refugees face; promising practices and strategies for assisting refugees; gaps in services; data maintained by programs serving refugees; and local labor market conditions.

• The focus group guide will collect information from program participants about the services they received, how they were delivered, their experiences attempting to achieve self-sufficiency within a rapid timeframe, and the challenges they have faced.

 

BLM Announces Funding Opportunity for Youth and Young Adults to Work with Qualified Youth Conservation Corps


Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has pledged that the Department of the Interior (DOI) will provide 100,000 work & training opportunities to young people within its bureaus and through public-private partnerships over the next four years. As a high-priority goal the Bureau of Land Managment – National Operation Center (NOC) will continue its efforts to provide work and training opportunities to youth and young adult to gain land management experience by working with land managers on various projects. BLM NOC has been very successful in providing opportunities throughout the United States, which educate and inspire the next generation of conservation leaders. (In FY2014 BLM utilized qualified youth conservation corps to carry out appropriate conservation projects on public lands throughout the United States. Some of the projects accomplished were: Trail Maintenance Project, Sensitive Species Project; Range Conservation Projects; River Restoration Project; Assessment, Inventory and Monitoring Projects; and Watershed Restoration Project and Sensitive Species Project.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced on August 12 youth funding available to work with qualified youth conservation corps for the purposes of introducing youth and young adults to careers in the BLM and assist in fulfilling our mission. BLM is interested in working with youth and young adults to complete conservation projects that enhance the classroom learning by providing them opportunities to gain experience, learn about public lands, further their understanding and appreciation of natural and cultural resources, and pique their interest in natural resource careers. Young men and women who participate in the rehabilitation and restoration of our nation’s natural, cultural, historic, archaeological, recreational, comprehensive environmental field studies and service programs that advance ecological literacy, conservation, and environmental research in the areas of public land restoration, forestry, range, trail work and scenic treasures will gain an increased appreciation and understanding of our public lands and of the value of public service, and are likely to become life-long advocates for those values. The NOC is seeking to develop a partnership with Youth Conservation Corps to assist in providing internship programs that support conservation project

Eligible applicant types are qualified youth or conservation corps. The term “qualified youth or conservation corps” means any program established by a State or local government, by the governing body of any Indian tribe, or by a nonprofit organization subject to 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3) of the tax code (26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3)) and (A) is capable of offering meaningful, full-time, productive work for individuals between the ages of 16 and 25, inclusive, in a natural or cultural resource setting; (B) gives participants a mix of work experience, basic and life skills, education, training, and support services; and (C) provides participants with the opportunity to develop citizenship values and skills through service to their community and the United States.

The closing date for applications is May 31, 2016 (Individual project have their own cut-off dates.)

 

Department of Education Invites Applications under "Vocational Rehabilitation Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center" Program; States and Public or Nonprofit Agencies Eligible to Apply; Proposals Due September 24


The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services within the Department of Education has recently announced it is inviting applications under the Vocational Rehabilitation Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center program. OSERS intends to award a single cooperative agreement up to $3,500,000. Applications are due by September 14.

Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act), as amended by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) makes grants to States and public or nonprofit agencies and organizations (including institutions of higher education (IHEs)) to support projects that provide training, traineeships, and technical assistance (TA) designed to increase the numbers of, and improve the skills of, qualified personnel, especially rehabilitation counselors, who are trained to: Provide vocational, medical, social, and psychological rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities; assist individuals with communication and related disorders; and provide other services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act.

Eligible applicants are States and public or nonprofit agencies and organizations, including Indian tribes and IHEs.

Click here. for additional background and application requirements.

Click here for the corresponding "statement of priority" and OSERS’ summary of comments received on the original June 17, 2015 FEDERAL REGISTER notice containing the priority.

 

ETA Releases "2014 Significant Measures of State UI Tax Systems" Report


The Employment and Training Administration’s Office of Unemployment Insurance has advised that the the 2014 Significant Measures of State UI Tax Systems Report is . now available on the OUI data page..
 

Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship to Meet September 22 – 23


The Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship will hold an open meeting of the Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship (ACA) on Tuesday, September 22, 2015 and Wednesday, September 23, 2015. The meeting will convene over a day and a half.

In order to promote openness, and increase public participation, webinar and audio conference technology will be used throughout the meeting. Webinar and audio instructions will be posted prominently on the Office of Apprenticeship homepage: http://www.dol.gov/apprenticeship. Members of the public can attend the meeting in-person or virtually. Members of the public that will attend the meeting in-person are encouraged to arrive early to allow for security clearance into the Frances Perkins Building.

The purpose of the meeting is to focus on apprenticeship expansion and employer engagement efforts in order to seek advice from the ACA on industry issues and how best to increase Registered Apprenticeships across the country. The agenda will cover the following topics:

• Employer Engagement and Apprenticeship Expansion
• American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) Grants
• The ApprenticeshipUSA Initiative
• Sectors of Excellence in Apprenticeship
• Apprentice to Journey worker Ratios
• Competency Based Apprenticeship Models
• Increasing Opportunities in Registered Apprenticeship and Policy Updates
• Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
• Office of Apprenticeship and State Apprenticeship Agency Partnerships
• Other Matters of Interest to the Apprenticeship Community
• Public Comment
• Adjourn

The meeting will begin at approximately 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, September 22, 2015, at the U.S. Department of Labor, Frances Perkins Building, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210, and will continue until approximately 5:00 p.m. The meeting will reconvene on Wednesday, September 23, 2015, at approximately 9:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time at the U.S. Department of Labor, Frances Perkins Building, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210 and adjourn at approximately 5:00 p.m. Any updates to the agenda and meeting logistics will be posted on the Office of Apprenticeship's homepage: http://www.dol.gov/apprenticeship.

More / attendance logistics …

 

Back to Top Back To Top

National Reporting System for Adult Education: Department of Education Announces Tests Suitable for Use


The Department of Education today has recently announced the tests determined to be suitable for use in the National Reporting System for Adult Education (NRS).

The Department also clarifies that, to provide for the transition from the performance accountability system for the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFL A) program under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) to the performance accountability system for AEFLA as reauthorized by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), this announcement will remain effective until June 30, 2017.

Click Here for the full text of the notice.

 

Renewable Energy Sector: National Renewable Energy Laboratory Explores Ways to Use Public Funds to Catalyze Private Investment in Solar Energy


In 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) launched the SunShot Initiative, designed to lower the cost of solar energy to competitive levels by 2020. In June 2013, the Obama administration outlined three major goals related to climate change in "The President’s Climate Action Plan:"

• Cut Carbon Pollution in America • Prepare the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change • Lead International Efforts to Combat Global Climate Change and Prepare for its Impacts (Executive Office of the President 2013).

Among the initiatives to cut carbon pollution is to unlock long-term investment in clean energy innovation because meeting these goals will require expanded availability of capital for project deployment through numerous financial innovations. Since 2013, several innovations—particularly yieldcos, green bonds, and securitization—have opened new avenues for investment in renewable energy (RE) projects, a welcome development for the industry.

Distributed RE systems, specifically residential and commercial solar assets, represent a promising means of increasing U.S. clean energy penetration. Distributed systems are, however, currently limited to a narrow band of end-use customers who own their properties (homes and/or commercial real estate) and have demonstrably high credit. For the residential sector, these are customers with high FICO scores; for commercial customers, systems are generally available to those who own or have long-term leases on free-standing buildings and have rated credit (generally, national brands) or can readily provide investors with a reasonable assurance of payback. The majority of other residential dwellings and commercial properties, including multi-tenant housing (apartments, condominiums), retail, and office properties, are largely untapped markets, even in states where solar deployment is economic and thriving.

Opening these markets to solar deployment will require specific innovations, or credit enhancements, to offset some of the perceived risk of nonpayment. Credit enhancements are available from both the private and public sectors and come in many forms. Importantly, credit enhancements can leverage relatively small levels of public sector investment to open wide-scale private sector capital deployment.

A new paper from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory explores the concept of credit enhancement as a means of leveraging private investment in the distributed solar sector. It discusses how these instruments are currently and could be further employed in private sector financings and securitizations, as well as in the public sector. To conclude, the paper overviews “warehouse” structures designed to aggregate solar projects to enable third-party project pooling (typically by large banks) and possibly securitization, which previous NREL work has identified as a means to opening low-cost debt to a wide array of solar deployment.

 

Department of Education Announces Funding Opportunity --Technical Assistance Center for Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Program Evaluation and Quality Assurance


The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services within the Department of Education is inviting applications under the “Technical Assistance Center for Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Program Evaluation and Quality Assurance.”

This program is designed to (a) develop new types of training programs for rehabilitation personnel and to demonstrate the effectiveness of these new types of training programs for rehabilitation personnel in providing rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities; and (b) develop new and improved methods of training rehabilitation personnel, so that there may be a more effective delivery of rehabilitation

The Department intends to award a single cooperative agreement up to $500,000.

Eligible Applicants are States and public or nonprofit agencies and organizations, including Indian tribes and IHEs. Applications are due by September 10.

Click here for application requirements

Click here for the statement of priority

 

SBA Announces Open September Meetings of "Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development" and "Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs"; Veteran Entrepreneurship Policy and Programs under Consideration


The Small Business Administration has announced a September 10 meeting at SBA headquarters for the Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development to discuss the recommendations identified by the to further enable veteran entrepreneurship policy and programs. In addition, the Task Force will allow public comment regarding the focus areas. The meeting will take place between 9:00 a.m. and noon.

The Task Force is established pursuant to Executive Order 13540 and focused on coordinating the efforts of Federal agencies to improve capital, business development opportunities and pre-established Federal contracting goals for small business concerns owned and controlled by veterans (VOB's) and service-disabled veterans (SDVOSB'S).

The Task Force coordinates administrative and regulatory activities and develop proposals relating to "six focus areas":

  1. Access to capital (loans, surety bonding and franchising);
  2. Ensure achievement of pre-established contracting goals, including mentor - protégé and matching with contracting opportunities;
  3. Increase the integrity of certifications of status as a small business;
  4. Reducing paperwork and administrative burdens in accessing business development and entrepreneurship opportunities;
  5. Increasing and improving training and counseling services; and
  6. Making other improvements to support veteran's business development by the Federal government.

Advance notice of attendance is requested. Anyone wishing to attend and/or make a presentation to the Task Force must contact Cheryl Simms (cheryl.simms@sba.gov) by September 1, 2015 to be placed on the agenda. More ...

On September 9 (the day before), SBA will also host the Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs at headquarters. The Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs serves as an independent source of advice and policy recommendation to the SBA Administrator.

The purpose of this meeting (between 9:00 a.m. and noon) is to finalize preparations for the 2015 Annual Report to SBA's Administrator, Associate Administrator for Veterans Business Development, Congress, and the President and to discuss current and future programs for veterans' small business owners. For information regarding our veterans' resources and partners, please visit www.sba.gov/vets.

The meeting is also open to the public, however, advance notice of attendance is requested. Anyone wishing to attend and/or make a presentation to the Advisory Committee must contact Cheryl Simms (cheryl.simms@sba.gov) by September 1, 2015 to be placed on the agenda. More ..

 

Innovation Summit 2015: Models of Innovation (October 26 - 28)


Case Western Reserve University will host Innovation Summit 2015: Models of Innovation to explore the opportunities and challenges of various models of innovation at the global scale.

On Oct. 26-28, corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, academic experts and policy makers nationally will examine how diverse regions and industries leverage their strengths to fuel new companies, products, technologies and ideas.

Trends such as the maker movement, startup accelerators and community building are helping cultivate ecosystems of innovation that can improve economic opportunity and education, and create cultural amenities. Regions from Silicon Valley to a revitalized Rust Belt - as well as various industries - have created differing models that capitalize on these opportunities.

The summit will explore the impact of these models and how they can be replicated. The summit also will give attendees an opportunity to explore the first phase of Case Western Reserve University's think[box], one of the world's largest university-based innovation and entrepreneurship centers. The complex is the center of a dynamic innovation model that is helping to transform Cleveland.

During the summit's three-day agenda, speakers and sessions will explore such topics as:

  • The common themes of innovation that extend beyond sector and technological boundaries
  • The impact of geographic regions on innovation
  • The changing face of manufacturing, healthcare and energy nationally
  • The challenges and growth areas of financing early-stage ventures
  • How social entrepreneurship and grassroots groups are impacting innovation in our neighborhoods
  • Hot-topic, sector-specific breakout sessions running all day on Tuesday include: health care, design, social entrepreneurship and sustainability, education, capital markets, corporate innovation, advanced energy, additive manufacturing, the Internet of Things, university-industry partnerships and innovations in the legal sector.

    Conference webpage / agenda / registration Follow @cwru and #cwruinnovation on Twitter for additional event details.

     

    Back to Top Back To Top

    Appalachian Apps: Transforming the Region's Economy (October 14 - 15)


    From the Appalachian Regional Commission:

    Appalachian communities are working to invest their resources strategically to help build a stronger economic future. An important part of this process is applying lessons learned from successful programs throughout the Region. These strategic applications—"apps"—can help communities shape their development efforts for more impactful and sustainable results that will transform Appalachia's economy.

    The Appalachian Regional Commission's October 2015 Appalachian Apps: Transforming the Region's Economy conference will showcase effective approaches to addressing key development issues facing the Region's communities today. Concurrent sessions will focus on local models for increasing access to broadband; supporting employer-driven workforce development; and engaging the Region's next generation of leaders. Conference plenary sessions will bring together government and industry leaders to explore how current initiatives and emerging opportunities can also play an important role in shaping local economic development programs. See the conference agenda to learn more.

    Join your colleagues in Somerset, Kentucky, to learn strategies your community can use to build a stronger future! The conference will be held Wednesday, October 14-Thursday, October 15, at the Center for Rural Development, 2292 South Highway 27, Somerset, Kentucky 42501 (606.677.6000).

    Register now! The early registration rate is available through September 25. Online registration ends October 6.

     

    HHS Seeks Nominations to the Health Information Technology Policy Committee and the Health Information Technology Standards Committee


    HHS also announced today (August 10) it is seeking applications to the Health Information Technology Policy Committee (HITPC) and the Health Information Technology Standards Committee (HITSC). The HITPC is charged to provide recommendations to the National Coordinator on a policy framework for the development and adoption of a nationwide health information technology infrastructure that permits the electronic exchange and use of health information as is consistent with the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan and that includes recommendations on the areas in which standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria are needed.

    The HITSC is charged to provide recommendations to the National Coordinator on standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for the electronic exchange and use of health information for purposes of adoption, consistent with the implementation of the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan, and in accordance with policies developed by the Health IT Policy Committee.

    Applications must be received by September 11.

    The HITPC will be seeking applications for the following area of expertise:
    • Consumer/Patient Representative

    The HITSC will be seeking applications for the following areas of expertise:

    • Technical Expertise, Small Innovative Provider
    • Technical Expertise, CIO
    • Health Plans Representative
    • Technical Expertise, Health IT (2)
    • Purchaser/Employer Representative
    • Long-term Care Representative
    • Ancillary Healthcare Worker Representative

    For more information about the HITPC please visit: http://www.healthit.gov/facas/health-it-policy-committee

    For more information about the HITSC please visit: http://www.healthit.gov/facas/health-it-standards-committee.
    More .../ nomination process

     

    Department of Commerce Announces Competition for $10 Million in Grants to Advance Innovation; Funding Available under i6 Challenge and "Seed Fund Support Grants"


    U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker has recently announced the launch of the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) $10 million funding opportunity for the 2015 Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program competition to spur innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the nation. Under this program, EDA is soliciting applications for two funding opportunities: the i6 Challenge, which funds organizations that help innovators and entrepreneurs turn innovations, ideas, intellectual property, and research into viable, sustainable companies, and Seed Fund Support Grants (previously Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds), which funds regionally-focused seed capital funds that provide early-stage capital to innovation-based startups with a potential for high growth. This is the second RIS competition; EDA’s 2014 i6 and Seed Fund Support Grant awardees were announced in March 2015.

    This year’s program includes $10 million in funding for the following programs:

    • i6 Challenge ($8M): Launched in 2010 as part of the Startup America Initiative, the i6 Challenge is a national competition based on the most impactful national models for startup creation, innovation, and commercialization. In an effort to promote and support inclusion, EDA expects to award up to $2.5 million of the total $8 million to projects that provide services to rural areas, and applicants who create specific outreach plans to populations and communities that are underrepresented in innovation and entrepreneurship. Projects that propose specific, quantitative metrics to measure the effectiveness of those plans will receive special consideration.

    • Seed Fund Support Grants ($2M): These cluster grants provide funding for technical assistance to support feasibility, planning, formation, or launch of cluster-based seed capital funds that are offered to innovation-based, growth-oriented start-up companies in exchange for equity. Funds must include job creation in their consideration for issuing capital, and funds that reach out to underrepresented communities and populations and measure the effectiveness of that outreach will receive special consideration.

    Applicants are encouraged to refer to the Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) for examples of both the i6 Challenge and Seed Fund Support Grants. There is no requirement for applicants to submit proposals for more than one of the funding opportunities under this program. Funding for both programs is available to all communities regardless of level of distress.

    Eligibility, matching-fund requirements, application and submission deadlines, and other information can be found in the FFO for the program.

    In the coming weeks, EDA will conduct a webinar to discuss the 2015 RIS Program FFO. Interested parties should check the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship website for forthcoming details.

    Launched in 2014, the Regional Innovation Strategies Program started under the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act of 2010. The 2014 grantees have begun to kick off the activities outlined in their applications. For more information on the Regional Innovation Strategies Program, visit: http://www.eda.gov/oie/ris/.

     

    OMB Announces Availability of the Circular A-133 Supplement


    Through a July 14 FEDERAL REGISTER notice, the Office of Management and Budget has announced the availability of the OMB Circular A-133 Supplement. The notice also offers interested parties an opportunity to comment on the 2015 Supplement.

    The 2015 Supplement supersedes the 2014 Supplement and will apply to audits of fiscal years beginning after June 30, 2014. All comments on the 2015 Supplement must be in writing and received by October 31, 2015. Late comments will be considered to the extent practicable. OMB received no comments on the 2014 Supplement.

    The 2015 Supplement is available online on the OMB home page at https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/a133_compliance_supplement_2015.

     

    President Obama Announces New Commitments from Investors, Companies, Universities, and Cities to Advance Inclusive Entrepreneurship at First-Ever White House Demo Day


    Today (August 4), President Obama hosted the first-ever White House Demo Day focused on inclusive entrepreneurship, welcoming startup founders from diverse walks of life and from across the country to showcase their innovations. The President will announce new public- and private-sector commitments that promise to provide more Americans with the opportunity to pursue their bold, game-changing ideas.

    America’s entrepreneurial economy is the envy of the world. But, we need to do more to make sure that we are tapping our full entrepreneurial potential – drawing on talented Americans from all backgrounds and locations.

    Just three percent of America’s venture capital-backed startups are led by women, and only around one percent are led by African-Americans. At present, only about four percent of U.S.-based venture capital investors are women. And, capital for innovative startups is predominantly available in just a few places, making high-growth business creation a challenge outside of a handful of metro hubs.

    To maintain our lead as the best place on the planet to start and scale a great company, we must ensure that vibrant startup ecosystems emerge in every corner of America, and that all Americans, including those underrepresented in entrepreneurship like women and people of color, are both encouraged and able to fully contribute their entrepreneurial talents.

    The Administration announcements being made today include, among others:

    • Announcing 116 winners of two Small Business Administration prizes that promise to unleash entrepreneurship in communities across the country: the Growth Accelerator Fund for startup accelerators, incubators, and other entrepreneurial ecosystems; and the President’s “Startup in a Day” initiative that will empower mayors to cut red tape for local entrepreneurs.

    • Scaling up the National Science Foundation I-Corps program with eight new and expanded Federal agency partnerships, introducing hundreds of entrepreneurial scientist teams across the country to a rigorous process for moving their discoveries out of the lab and into the marketplace.

    The independent commitments being announced today include, among others:

    • Expanding the response to the President’s TechHire initiative with 10 new cities and states working with employer partners on new ways to recruit and place applicants based on their skills, create more accelerated tech training opportunities, and invest in innovative placement programs to connect trained workers with entrepreneurial opportunities and well-paying jobs.

    • Over 40 leading venture capital firms with over $100 billion under management, including Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, and Scale Venture Partners, committing to specific actions that advance opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

    • Institutional investors committing over $11 billion to emerging managers, including CalPERS and the New York City Pension Funds.

    • Over 100 engineering deans committing to attract and retain a diverse student body, building the pipeline for the next generation of American engineers and entrepreneurs.

    • Over a dozen major technology companies announcing new actions to ensure diverse recruitment and hiring, including Amazon, Box, Microsoft, Xerox, and others committing to adopt variations on the “Rooney Rule” to consider diverse candidates for senior executive positions.

      Click here for the fact sheet with details on all activities underway or to be undertaken by Federal agencies.

     

    Back to Top Back To Top

    ETA Publishes Sixty-Day Notice for the Financial Report (Form 9130)


    The Employment and Training Administration has published the sixty-day notice for the Financial Report (Form 3190) in the August 4 FEDERAL REGISTER. Comments are due by October 5.

    Summary The Employment and Training Administration awards approximately $8 billion in formula and discretionary grants each year to an average of 1,000 recipients. Financial reports for each of these grants must be submitted quarterly on the financial report form ETA-9130. Recipients include but are not limited to: State Employment Security Agencies which are comprised of three components: Wagner Peyser Employment Service, Unemployment Insurance program, and Trade Program Grant Agreements; as well as Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Youth, Adult, and Dislocated Worker programs; National Dislocated Worker Grants; National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP); Indian and Native American programs; the Senior Community Service Employment Program; Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act discretionary grants; and H-1B Job Training Grants.

    Financial reporting requirements for Federal programs prescribed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have changed with the implementation of the Uniform Guidance, which went into effect on December 26, 2014, replacing numerous previously applicable Circulars. These changes affect both the ETA-9130 reporting form and its instructions. However, they do not affect the collection burden, but instead only update certain key terms and definitions.

    Additionally, with the passage of WIOA, there are numerous new statutory requirements that impact financial reporting, including but not limited to new and/or revised limitations and baselines that require the addition of new and modification of existing reporting line items on ETA-9130 Financial Reports, as outlined in this TEGL. Other reporting line items have been added and removed in an effort to streamline Federal financial reporting and make form ETA-9130 more closely resemble the SF-425 (OMB 0348-0061), which is the standard financial reporting form for Federal grant recipients.

    ETA has utilized the data collected to assess the effectiveness of ETA programs and to monitor and analyze the financial activity of its grantees. Grantees are provided with pre-designed software to reflect the requirements of ETA Form 9130 so that the required data will be reported electronically. ETA strives to reduce reporting time for our recipients. Several sections of the 9130 have pre-filled line items or automatically calculated line items, which is convenient and time saving for our recipients.

    This data collection format permits ETA to evaluate program effectiveness and to monitor and analyze financial activity, while complying with OMB efforts to streamline Federal financial reporting.

    Also see this ETA webpage:

    Renewal: Federal Financial Report ETA-9130 (OMB 1205-0461) This page also provides a link to the FEDERAL REGISTER notice, the supporting statement, the ETA-9130 edits summary, and links to all forms and instructions.

     

    OMB Seeks Public Comment on Adapting the Proposed NAICS Updates for 2017 Recommended by the Economic Classification Policy Committee


    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has announced it is seeking public comment on the advisability of adopting the proposed North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) updates for 2017 recommended by its Economic Classification Policy Committee (ECPC), comprised of representatives of the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Census Bureau. The ECPC recommends an update of the industry classification system to clarify existing industry definitions and content, recognize new and emerging industries, and correct errors and omissions. To ensure consideration of comments on the adoption and implementation of the NAICS revisions detailed in this notice, please submit all comments in writing as soon as possible, but no later than October 5, 2015.

    The revised NAICS would be employed in relevant data collections by all U.S. statistical agencies beginning with reference year 2017.

    The OMB August 4 notice:

    1. Summarizes the background for the proposed revisions to NAICS 2012 in Part I,
    2. contains a summary of public comments in Part II,
    3. includes a list of title changes for NAICS industries that clarify, but do not change, the existing content of the industries in Part III, and
    4. provides a comprehensive listing of proposed changes for national industries and their links to NAICS 2012 industries in Part IV.

    OMB published a notification of intention to revise portions of NAICS in a May 22, 2014, Federal Register notice. That notice solicited comments on the advisability of revising the NAICS 2012 structure for 2017:

    1. To identify new and emerging industries,
    2. to solicit comments on the desirability of maintaining a print manual,
    3. to review the structure of the oil and gas extraction industries,
    4. to solicit additional comments on the treatment of manufacturing units that outsource transformation, and
    5. to make any required changes for errors and omissions in NAICS 2012. The deadline for submitting comments was July 21, 2014.

    After considering all proposals from the public, consulting with U.S. data users and industry groups, and undertaking extensive discussions with Statistics Canada and Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Estadstica y Geografa (INEGI), the ECPC--in collaboration with INEGI and Statistics Canada--developed recommendations for revisions to NAICS for 2017 that would apply to all three North American countries. These revisions focus on improving the description of current industries, identifying new and emerging industries, and recommending changes to industry content based on research and implementation experience.

    The ECPC recommends that NAICS United States 2017 incorporate changes as shown in Parts III and IV of the August 4 notice.

    Following an extensive process of development and discussions by the ECPC, with maximum possible public input, OMB seeks comment on the advisability of revising NAICS to incorporate the changes published in this notice. The revised NAICS would be employed in relevant data collections by all U.S. statistical agencies beginning with reference year 2017. Statistics Canada and INEGI are recommending acceptance of the proposed NAICS revisions for industry classification in the statistical programs of their national systems and are seeking comments in their respective countries. Representatives of the three countries will hold further discussions to consider public comments that they receive.

     

    STEM: NSF Announces Funding Opportunity under "Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers"


    References: Federal funding opportunities; HEA and WIOA emphasis on acquisition of STEM skills; STEM pedagogy; ETA grants-in-aid with STEM focus or component; business and industry partnerships and engagement; Training and Employment Notice 23-07: Building and Sustaining an Educated and Prepared STEM Workforce; STEM Workforce Challenge; NSB's "Revisiting the STEM Workforce"; OVAE and WB STEM initiatives; Department of Labor's blog post "7 Things to Know if You are Thinking about a STEM Career"; STEM Jobs ...

    From the STELAR Team:

    The National Science Foundation has just posted a new solicitation (NSF 15-599) for the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program!

    The URL for the NSF ITEST solicitation is: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15599/nsf15599.htm

    ITEST is a program that promotes PreK-12 student interests and capacities to participate in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and information and communications technology (ICT) workforce of the future. To achieve this objective, ITEST supports the development, implementation, and selective spread of innovative strategies for engaging students in experiences that:

    1. increase student awareness of STEM and ICT careers;
    2. motivate students to pursue the education necessary to participate in those careers; and/or
    3. provide students with technology-rich experiences that develop their knowledge of related content and skills (including critical thinking skills) needed for entering the STEM workforce.

    ITEST projects may adopt an interdisciplinary focus on multiple STEM domains, focus on a single domain, or focus on one or more sub-disciplines within a domain. ITEST projects must involve students, and may also include teachers. The ITEST program is especially interested in broadening participation of students from traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM fields and related education and workforce domains. Projects that actively engage business and industry partners to better ensure that PreK-12 experiences foster the knowledge and skill-sets needed for emerging STEM-related occupations are strongly encouraged.

    ITEST supports two project types: Strategies projects and SPrEaD (Successful Project Expansion and Dissemination) projects. Strategies projects support the design, implementation, and testing of innovative educational experiences that support the objectives of the ITEST program. SPrEaD projects support the wider and broader testing and dissemination of promising strategies to generate evidence and greater understanding of contextual factors that operate to enhance, moderate, or constrain anticipated project impacts. All ITEST projects may include activities designed to inform judgments regarding the feasibility of implementing strategies in typical learning environments associated with formal classrooms, out-of-school settings, or combinations of such environments. The ITEST program also invites proposals for an ITEST Resource Center to provide technical assistance to projects and provide assistance with the outreach activities of the ITEST program.

    Full Proposal Deadline: November 13, 2015.

    To learn more about the ITEST program or to access proposal development resources, visit our website: http://stelar.edc.org.

    We will share more information about changes to the solicitation in the coming weeks. Alternatively, feel free to contact us at stelar@edc.org if you have any specific questions.

     

    U.S. Manufacturing Council to Consider Recommendations on Improving Image of Manufacturing as Career Path at August 19 Meeting


    The Department of Commerce has announced that the United States Manufacturing Council will hold its third meeting of the current members' term by teleconference on Wednesday, August 19, 2015. The call will be conducted between noon and
    1:00 p.m. (EST).

    The purpose of the meeting is for Council members to review and deliberate on recommendations developed by the Workforce subcommittee looking at issues of improving the image of manufacturing as a career path and developing skilled workers for consideration by the Manufacturing Council.

    The agenda may change to accommodate Council business. The final agenda will be posted on the Department of Commerce Web site for the Council at http://trade.gov/manufacturingcouncil, at least one week in advance of the meeting.

     

    HHS/ACF Seeks Comment on Proposed New Data Collection - Trafficking Victim Assistance Program Data


    Reference: Training and Employment Guidance Letter 09-12 (Human Trafficking: The Role of the Public Workforce System in the Delivery of Services and Referrals to Victims of Trafficking)

    The Administration for Children and Families within the Department of Health and Human Servces has recently announced it is seeking comment on a proposed new data collection -- Trafficking Victim Assistance Program Data.

    ACF intends to award cooperative agreements in fiscal year 2015 to approximately three organizations that will ensure national coverage. The awarded organization must provide comprehensive case management and referrals to qualified persons, either directly through its own organization or by partnering with other organizations through contracts or both.

    Persons qualified for services under this grant are victims of a severe form of trafficking in persons who have received certification from HHS; potential victims of a severe form of trafficking who are actively seeking to achieve HHS certification; family members with derivative T visas, and minor dependent children of foreign victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons or potential victims of trafficking.

    To help measure each grant project's performance and the success of the program in assisting participants, to assist grantees to assess and improve their projects over the course of the project period, and to fulfill instructions for a consolidated report to several committees of the House of Representatives, ACF proposes to collect information from TVAP grant project participants through the grantees on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, including participant demographics (age, sex, and country of origin), type of trafficking experienced (sex, labor, or both), immigration status during participation, types of health screening and medical services received, the names of the entities providing medical services, and the amount of money expended on each type of medical service provided.

    This information will help ACF assess the project's performance in assisting victims of trafficking and will better enable TVAP grantees to meet the program objectives and to monitor and evaluate the quality of case management services provided by any subcontractors. ACF will also include aggregate information in reports to Congress to help inform strategies and policies to assist victims of human trafficking.

    OMB is required to make a decision concerning the collection of information between 30 and 60 days after (the August 4) publication of this document in the Federal Register. Therefore, a comment is best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication. Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent directly to the following: Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project, Email: OIRA_SUBMISSION@OMB.EOP.GOV, Attn: Desk Officer for the Administration for Children and Families.

    More ...

     

    Back to Top Back To Top

    VA Launches New No-Cost Training Programs; Programs Designed to Help Transitioning Servicemembers and Veterans Develop New Skills and Credentials; Applications Accepted as of August 17


    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today (August 5) launched two new no-cost training programs, Accelerated Learning Programs (ALPs) and VA Learning Hubs, to help transitioning Servicemembers and Veterans from all eras learn skills, earn credentials, and advance in civilian careers following separation from service.

    ALPs and Learning Hubs are part of VA’s Veterans Economic Communities Initiative (VECI), promoting education and employment opportunities for Veterans through integrated networks of support in 50 cities. VA launched the VECI program in response to President Obama’s August 2014 challenge to help Veterans and families integrate with their communities and find meaningful jobs that can lead to economic success. Under VA Secretary Robert McDonald’s MyVA transformation, VECI is now in place in cities across the United States.

    ALPs offer transitioning Servicemembers and Veterans the opportunity to build on their world-class training and technical skills gained through their military service, and earn certifications in high-demand fields.

    VA is piloting ALPs this summer with seven courses focusing on building skills and certifications needed to advance in high-demand careers in information technology (IT), as part of the President’s TechHire initiative. Each ALP course is offered at no cost and includes free referral and support services.

    The first ALP cohort includes seven courses covering a range of IT-related topics, including:

    • Coding/Programming Boot Camps;
    • 80+ IT Certifications in Hardware, Software, Networking, Web Services, and more;
    • Network Support Engineer Job Training and Certification;
    • Cybersecurity Training and Certification;
    • IT Help Desk Job Training; and
    • IT Boot Camps for Desktop Support and Windows Expertise.

    Transitioning Servicemembers and Veterans from any era are invited to apply to their choice of courses. Applications will be accepted starting August 17, 2015 - seats in the pilot cohort are limited; applicants are encouraged to apply early. ALPs do not involve use of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Students are able to participate in these programs while also pursuing other programs of study using Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. Visit the ALP website to learn more about each program and apply.

    VA is also launching Learning Hubs in 27 cities across the country this year in partnership with the American Red Cross, The Mission Continues and Coursera, an online education platform.

    Transitioning Servicemembers and Veterans can take advantage of both online and in-person study. Each week, online course modules will be completed outside the classroom while class sessions, led by Learning Hub facilitators, provide opportunities to discuss course materials with peers, hear from subject matter experts, and network. Upon completion of the program, Servicemembers and Veterans may elect to receive one free verified certificate issued by Coursera.

    For more information about the VECI or to learn more about VA ALPs and Learning Hubs, contact VeteranEmployment.vbaco@va.gov.

     

    Federal - State Effort to Reduce the Practice of Misclassification of Employees


    Officials from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Idaho Department of Labor have signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding intended to protect employees' rights by preventing their misclassification as independent contractors or other non-employee statuses. Under the agreement, both agencies may share information and coordinate law enforcement.

    The MOU represents a new, combined federal and state effort to work together to protect the employees' rights and level the playing field for responsible employers by reducing the practice of misclassification. Idaho is the latest state agency to join this effort with the U.S. Labor Department. Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming agencies have signed similar agreements.

    More information on misclassification and the effort are available at http://www.dol.gov/misclassification/.

     

    MDRC Launches Center for Applied Behavioral Sciences


    From MDRC

    Policymakers and administrators are increasingly using evidence about human behavior to improve the design of social services. People — who often rely on intuition instead of reason, make inconsistent choices over time, and can be overloaded by information — are the clients who receive services, the staff who provide them, and the policymakers who create them. Behavioral science demonstrates that even small hassles can create significant barriers that prevent those in need of services from receiving them.

    The Center for Applied Behavioral Science (CABS) is a new initiative that combines MDRC's expertise in social programs with insights from behavioral science. Projects that are affiliated with CABS develop innovative, low-cost interventions to improve the effectiveness of social and education programs and the experiences of the families and individuals receiving these services. Interventions are based on research from behavioral science, including behavioral economics, social psychology, cognitive psychology, and organizational behavior. Problems tackled by the Center address relevant policies in human services programs, educational settings, and employment training programs.

    Many projects under CABS are evaluated using rigorous research methods that include random assignment. Several cases include rapid-cycle evaluation, where initial analyses of findings from one round of testing quickly informs a next round of experimentation. The Center also provides agencies with advice and technical assistance to build better programs and design effective interventions, as well as providing knowledge-building and educational trainings to practitioners to apply techniques to their current and future initiatives.

    Projects in CABS are supported by a variety of public and private funders, including the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation and the Office of Child Support Enforcement, both part of the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; NYC Center for Economic Opportunity; W.K. Kellogg Foundation; and the Robin Hood Foundation.

     

    NSF Announces Funding Opportunity under the "Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST)" Program; Announces Awards under the "Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research"


    The National Science Foundation has posted a new solicitation for the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program. The solicitation is available at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15599/nsf15599.htm

    Synopsis of Program:

    ITEST is a program that promotes PreK-12 student interests and capacities to participate in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and information and communications technology (ICT) workforce of the future. To achieve this objective, ITEST supports the development, implementation, and selective spread of innovative strategies for engaging students in experiences that:

    • increase student awareness of STEM and ICT careers;
    • motivate students to pursue the education necessary to participate in those careers; and/or
    • provide students with technology-rich experiences that develop their knowledge of related content and skills (including critical thinking skills) needed for entering the STEM workforce.

    ITEST projects may adopt an interdisciplinary focus on multiple STEM domains, focus on a single domain, or focus on one or more sub-disciplines within a domain. ITEST projects must involve students, and may also include teachers. The ITEST program is especially interested in broadening participation of students from traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM fields and related education and workforce domains. Projects that actively engage business and industry partners to better ensure that PreK-12 experiences foster the knowledge and skill-sets needed for emerging STEM-related occupations are strongly encouraged.

    ITEST supports two project types: Strategies projects and SPrEaD (Successful Project Expansion and Dissemination) projects. Strategies projects support the design, implementation, and testing of innovative educational experiences that support the objectives of the ITEST program. SPrEaD projects support the wider and broader testing and dissemination of promising strategies to generate evidence and greater understanding of contextual factors that operate to enhance, moderate, or constrain anticipated project impacts. All ITEST projects may include activities designed to inform judgments regarding the feasibility of implementing strategies in typical learning environments associated with formal classrooms, out-of-school settings, or combinations of such environments. The ITEST program also invites proposals for an ITEST Resource Center to provide technical assistance to projects and provide assistance with the outreach activities of the ITEST program.

    Full Proposal Deadline: November 13, 2015

    For additional information on ITEST, also see: http://stelar.edc.org

    The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) is a program designed to fulfill the National Science Foundations’ mandate to promote scientific progress nationwide. Twenty-five states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam are currently eligible to compete for EPSCoR funding. Through this program, NSF establishes regional partnerships with government, higher education, and industry that effect lasting improvements in a state's or territory's research infrastructure and research and development capacity, and hence, its academic competitiveness.

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) has recently announced the award of four jurisdictions with grants ranging from $6 million to $20 million through its Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program for the production of world-class research and scientific resources.

    The Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) Track-1 cooperative agreements will bolster science and engineering academic research infrastructure on the Island of Guam and in three states: Arkansas, Louisiana and West Virginia. Each award will support fundamental research, education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, as well as workforce development in areas relevant to the jurisdictions' economic and other vital interests.

    Each award is organized into research themes that are aligned with jurisdictional science and technology plans. An overarching theme across the four awards is to develop the scientific foundation and workforce capacity for transitioning towards a knowledge-based economy. The awards also focus on finding ways to apply information science and data analytics.

    Arkansas and Louisiana are developing innovative approaches for producing technologically relevant materials that can advance localized commercialization and manufacturing economies. Water resource sustainability is a central theme for two jurisdictions--West Virginia, which will focus on inland freshwater systems, and Guam, which will focus on coastal ecosystems. West Virginia is also developing gravitational wave astrophysics research infrastructure.

    EPSCoR projects focus on fostering success and productivity among early-career scientists and engineers. Each award highlights the importance and benefits of ensuring inclusion of diverse populations through dedicated programs tailored to engage underrepresented minorities. The names of the institutions managing the awards, the names of the principal investigators overseeing the research, and a summary of each award are provided below.

    ARKANSAS--Arkansas Economic Development Commission (Gail McClure)

    Ten Arkansas institutions of higher education are collaborating on a state-wide Center for Advanced Surface Engineering (CASE) to enable discovery, design, fabrication, and testing of multi-functional surfaces. The CASE research and educational activities encompass material-science needs in agriculture, medicine, and industry. Applications include manufacturing, food packaging, forestry, aerospace, defense, and energy systems. CASE researchers will develop novel lubrication materials to improve machinery efficiencies and performance for advanced manufacturing. Other planned research outcomes include permeable food packing materials that can be fine-tuned for specific applications and selective filtration materials that can be used to mitigate product contamination. The project will strengthen the STEM workforce using a variety of innovative approaches to train students, teachers, researchers, and practitioners in surface science, material fabrication, and surface characterization techniques. It also emphasizes the development of expertise in technology commercialization, entrepreneurship, and manufacturing.

    GUAM--University of Guam (Terry Donaldson)

    The University of Guam will evaluate how marine ecosystems and fragile coral reefs respond and adapt to environmental and climate stressors. The island of Guam (3,800 miles from Hawaii and 6,000 miles from the U.S. mainland) will function as a living laboratory to investigate the sustainability of marine coastal environments under changing sea levels, sea-surface temperatures, and water quality conditions in the Western Pacific. Genomic and transcriptomic data on marine organisms and biological samples will be catalogued and curated in a biorepository that will serve as a resource for comparing coral ecosystems from different parts of the world. The biorepository will also be used to track changes that occur in Micronesia and develop insights into factors that affect ecosystem resiliency. The project will deploy sensor network in Pago Bay to collect marine environmental and water quality data. It will also provide enhanced Internet connectivity and cyberinfrastructure improvements. The project's STEM education, workforce development, and outreach activities will incorporate scientific discoveries into regional teaching programs, Citizen Science, and graduate education.

    LOUISIANA--Louisiana Board of Regents (Michael Khonsari)

    The Consortium for Innovation in Manufacturing and Materials (CIMM) will coordinate advanced manufacturing research, education, and workforce development across the state of Louisiana. The research team will investigate metallic liquids, alloys, surface coatings, and microstructures in the context of metal-forming processes and powder synthesis. Experimental results and simulation tools will be applied to analyze specifications and performance of engineered products. Results from this interdisciplinary research effort will foster the design and fabrication of new structures, devices, and systems. The project team will also develop feature replication technologies for producing laser 3-D printed metal structures. CIMM will promote faculty training, curriculum reform, and advancement of project-based active learning for students at two- and four-year academic institutions. CIMM activities will provide opportunities to innovate manufacturing approaches through partnerships with industries.

    WEST VIRGINIA- West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (Jan Taylor)

    The West Virginia EPSCoR Track-1 project will support basic and applied research in water resources and gravitational wave astrophysics. The water resources research, coordinated through the Appalachian Freshwater Initiative (AFI), will investigate water supplies that are impacted by mining activities, wastewater discharges, or agricultural runoff. The AFI will examine water quality stressors under a range of watershed management and climate change scenarios. Gravitational wave research will focus on early universe cosmology and galaxies. The research team will also explore relativity, gravity, and compact objects in the local universe. The tools and models developed through this project will provide valuable inputs towards solving astrophysics challenges related to low-frequency gravitational waves and electromagnetic models. The project will also bolster the STEM workforce by providing specialized training in data mining, water quality monitoring, signal processing, and electronics design techniques. This project will build and strengthen international linkages and partnerships through collaborative research projects.

     

    Department of Education Invites Postsecondary Schools to Participate in "Experimental Sites Initiative"; Focus on Eligible Incarcerated Youth; JFF Issues New Brief "Supporting Second Chances"


    The Department of Education published a notice in the August 3 FEDERAL REGISTER inviting postsecondary educational institutions to participate in experiments under the "Experimental Sites Initiative (ESI)."

    Under the ESI, the Secretary has authority to grant waivers from certain title IV HEA statutory or regulatory requirements to allow a limited number of institutions to participate in experiments to test alternative methods for administering the title IV HEA programs. The alternative methods of title IV HEA administration that the Secretary is permitting under the ESI are designed to facilitate efforts by institutions to test certain innovative practices aimed at improving student outcomes and the delivery of services.

    Under this experiment, participating institutions will provide Federal Pell Grant funding to otherwise eligible students who are incarcerated in Federal or State penal institutions.

    Also note: Jobs for the Future (JFF) has also recently released "Supporting Second Chances: 3 Priorities to Ease Prisoner Reentry." Click here for the blog and access to the new brief.

     

    Back to Top Back To Top

    ETA Publishes Thirty Day Notice on the Information Collection to Support an Evaluation of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training (TAACCCT) Grants Program


    The Employment and Training Administration published an August 3 FEDERAL REGISTER notice regarding an information collection to support an evaluation of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training (TAACCCT) Grants Program. The data collection will obtain information about the program from TAACCCT grant recipients through a survey of colleges receiving funds under the first three rounds of TAACCCT grants and site visits to selected round 2 and 3 grantees.

    More specifically, an Internet based survey will collect data from colleges about TAACCCT activities, especially around program development and capacity building at community colleges, and the changes that occurred because of the TAACCCT grant. Site visits will collect more in-depth qualitative data on - 3 - the TAACCCT grants via semi-structured interviews with program coordinators, faculty, and industry and employer partners, as well as focus groups with students participating in the TAACCCT-funded programs.

    Click here for the docket/display version of the full announcement. Comments are due by September 3.

    Also see: August 1, 2014 FEDERAL REGISTER Notice

     

    USDA Announces First Private Sector Investments through U.S. Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund; Announces $18.1 Million to Help Rural Businesses Create Jobs


    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week announced the first round of investments in rural infrastructure projects through the U.S. Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund. Through the Fund and its expanded public-private partnerships, USDA has facilitated the investment of nearly $161 million in private capital 22 critical water and community facilities projects in 14 states, maximizing the impact of USDA''s own investments in job-creating rural infrastructure projects across the country.

    Strong, secure infrastructure-roads and bridges, but also internet access and community facilities like hospitals and schools-improves connectivity and access to information, moves products to market, and makes communities competitive and attractive to new businesses and investments.

    Investments include 11 community facilities projects in Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wisconsin, including building new nursing homes, constructing new preschool and day care facilities, constructing a new facility for a rural ambulance service that covers a 685 square mile area in South Dakota, and building or upgrading two new critical access hospitals in rural Illinois and North Carolina. In addition, the Fund invested in 11 critical water projects in California, Kansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas. Projects include upgrades to existing water systems and the construction of a new reservoir. At least 38 additional critical infrastructure projects are in the pipeline for investment.

    The U.S. Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund is part of a broader effort across the Department to rethink how to best leverage private sector resources to revitalize and reenergize the rural economy.

    More ...

     

    Census Bureau Outlines Plans for the "Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs"


    The Census Bureau has recently published its thirty-day notice regarding a new data collection with its projection of reaching 290,000 entrepreneur respondents. The PDF version of the notice can be found here.

    The Bureau notes: "Tabulation of the financing questions will offer insight into the type of funding acquired and used by women-, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses. The 2014 ASE module will allow for a better understanding of the innovation and research and development activities conducted by entrepreneurs."

    The Bureau notes:

    In an effort to improve the timely measurement of business dynamics in the United States, the U.S. Census Bureau plans to conduct a new annual survey focused on employer businesses. The new survey will be known as the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs (ASE) and will collect information on characteristics of businesses and business owners. The survey was going to be called the Annual Survey of Business Owners, but that name was changed to fit the survey's focus on assessing entrepreneurial business practices and demographics.

    The ASE will be a supplement to the Survey of Business Owners and Self-Employed Persons (SBO), which provides economic and demographic characteristics for businesses and business owners by gender, ethnicity, race, and veteran status every 5 years. The ASE is an intercensal program. The ASE will help assess the health of the economy and provide detailed statistics on businesses and business owners more frequently. The ASE is a joint effort funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), and the Census Bureau. On behalf of the Secretary of Commerce, the MBDA may enter into this agreement with the Census Bureau to establish a means for the development, collection, summation, and dissemination of information that will be helpful to persons and organizations throughout the nation in undertaking or promoting the establishment and successful operation of minority business enterprises. The Census Bureau will collaborate with the Kauffman Foundation, the MBDA, and other agencies to ensure the ASE is as robust and effective as possible.

    The Census Bureau will collect data starting with the 2014 reference year, with corresponding estimates released in 2016.

    Estimates will include number of firms, sales/receipts, annual payroll, and employment by gender, ethnicity, race, and veteran status. The ASE includes questions from the 2012 SBO long form SBO-1 with additional questions to collect data on entrepreneurs' access to capital. The ASE will introduce a new module each year focusing on an important component related to business growth. Proposed module topics include innovation, research and development, technological advances, Internet usage, management and business practices, exporting practices, and globalization. The 2014 ASE module covers innovation and research and development. The survey will be a sample of 290,000 employer businesses stratified by metropolitan statistical area (MSA), state, frame, and age of business. By oversampling young businesses, this survey will help assess the impact young firms have on the growth of the economy. Additionally, the survey will implement a longitudinal component that will allow the growth of the firms in the sample to be tracked and analyzed over time.

    This collection will allow the Census Bureau to collaborate on the implementation of a key National Academies recommendation for improving the measurement of business dynamics in the U.S. economy, which recommended: "The Census Bureau Survey of Business Owners (SBO) should be conducted on an annual basis. The survey should include both a longitudinal component and a flexible, modular design that allows survey content to change over time. In addition, the Census Bureau should explore the possibility of creating a public-use (anonymized) SBO or a restricted access version of the data file."

    The additional sources of capital and financing questions will provide information on the financial trends and financial challenges faced by entrepreneurs. Tabulation of the financing questions will offer insight into the type of funding acquired and used by women-, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses. The 2014 ASE module will allow for a better understanding of the innovation and research and development activities conducted by entrepreneurs. Additionally, it will allow for an assessment on the competitiveness of businesses by ownership characteristics. The longitudinal component will help track and assess the growth of firms in the sample over time. This will also allow for research into the changes to the characteristics of businesses over time.

     

    OMB Advances Effective Date for Guidance for Reporting and Use Concerning Recipient Integrity and Performance Final Rule


    The Office of Management and Budget announced on July 30 that it is advancing the effective date for the Guidance for Reporting and Use of Information Concerning Recipient Integrity and Performance final rule which published on July 22, 2015. The new effective date will be July 30, 2015, and the applicability date will remain January 1, 2016. More ...

     

    HHS Awards $38 Million to Improve Coordinated Health Information Sharing; Selects Grantees to Update Training Materials under the HITECH-Funded Workforce Development Program


    As part of the Administration's efforts to create an interoperable learning health system that achieves better care, smarter spending and healthier people, the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) this week announced twenty awardees for three health information technology (health IT) grant programs totaling about $38 million.

    The grants build on programs funded from the Health Information Technology and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), part of the American Recovery and Revitalization Act (ARRA) of 2009. These grants will further HHS's efforts to improve the way providers are paid, improve and innovate in care delivery, and share information more broadly to providers, consumers, and others to support better health care decisions while maintaining privacy.

    The three cooperative agreement programs are:

    • Advance Interoperable Health Information Technology Services to Support Health Information Exchange - This two-year cooperative agreement program has awarded $29.6 million to support the efforts of 12 states or state designated entities to expand the adoption of health information exchange technology, tools, and services; facilitate and enable the send, receive, find, and use capabilities of health information across organizational, vendor, and geographic boundaries; and increase the integration of health information in interoperable health IT to support care processes and decision making. The organizations selected to participate in this program include:

      • Arkansas Office of Health Information Technology
      • California Emergency Medical Services Authority
      • Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing
      • Delaware Health Information Network
      • Illinois Health Information Exchange Authority
      • Nebraska Department of Administrative Services
      • New Hampshire Health Information Organization Corporation
      • New Jersey Innovation Institute
      • Oregon Health Authority
      • Rhode Island Quality Institute
      • South Carolina Health Information Partners, Inc.
      • Utah Health Information Network
    • The Community Health Peer Learning Program - This two-year cooperative agreement grant award was made to AcademyHealth to work with 15 communities around population health strategies. Communities working with AcademyHealth under this program will be required to identify data solutions, accelerate local progress, disseminate best practices and learning guides, and help inform national strategy around population health challenges. The grant for this program totals $2.2 million.
    • The Workforce Training Program - This two-year cooperative agreement program has awarded seven grantees $6.7 million to update training materials from the original Workforce Curriculum Development program funded under HITECH. In addition to updating training materials, the goal of this program is to train incumbent health care workers to use new health information technologies in a variety of settings, including: team-based care environments, long-term care facilities, patient-centered medical homes, accountable care organizations, hospitals, and clinics. This workforce program will focus on the four key topic areas of: population health, care coordination, new care delivery and payments models, and value based and patient centered care. The organizations selected to participate in this program include:
      • University of Alabama at Birmingham
      • Bellevue College, Bellevue, Washington
      • Columbia University, New York City, New York
      • Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
      • Normandale Community College, Bloomington, Minnesota
      • Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon
      • The University of Texas Health Science (Houston)

    More information on all of ONC's programs and initiatives can be found at www.HealthIT.gov.

     

    Back to Top Back To Top

    Legal Services Corporation Discusses ETA Support for Agricultural Data


    The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) provides special population grants to effectively and efficiently fund civil legal aid services to address the legal needs of agricultural workers and their dependents through grants entitled "Basic Field—Migrant." The funding for these grants is based on data regarding the eligible client population to be served. LSC has obtained from the U.S. Department of Labor new data regarding this population that are more current than the data LSC has been using and that better reflect the population to be served. On February 3, 2015, LSC sought comments on the use of that data for grants beginning in January 2016 and related issues. Based on the comments received, LSC will not use the data for 2016 grants. LSC will make public additional information underlying the new data, contract with the Department of Labor for assistance addressing issues raised in the comments, consider development of revised data, and seek public comment on any revised data and a revised implementation plan. Implementation would begin January 2017.

    Click here for the July 27 FEDERAL REGISTER notice with full background.

    Excerpts:

    ... The United States Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA), collects data regarding agricultural workers for federal grants serving the needs of the American agricultural worker population. The U.S. Census Bureau does not maintain data regarding agricultural workers. LSC has contracted with ETA to obtain more current data regarding the agricultural worker population served by these grants. ETA has provided LSC with these data, including state-by-state breakdowns. The changes in data will result in changes in funding levels for these grants ...

    ... Management has contracted with ETA to obtain expert review of the issues regarding source data and methodology raised by the comments. Management will publish on the Matters for Comment page of www.lsc.gov additional information regarding the source data and methodology. Management will also determine whether ETA can provide revised data based on some of the considerations raised in the comments. Based on this review and any other relevant information, LSC will publish for comment any revised data and a proposal for implementation. Implementation would begin January 2017 ...