Topics Of Interest
Department of Education Releases New Data on Career Training Programs
The Department of Education has released new data on career training programs. This new data, which covers career training programs at public, for-profit and non-profit schools, show that five percent of them - all located at for-profit colleges - do not meet any of three key requirements of the Department's Gainful Employment regulation. Eventually, these for-profit programs could lose access to federal student aid if they cannot improve performance.
EPA Awards Grants under Urban Waters Program to Organizations in 32 States and Puerto Rico; Recipients to Promote Environmental Education and Training
The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $2.7 million to 46 organizations in 32 states and Puerto Rico to help restore urban waters, support community revitalization and protect Americans' health.
EPA's Urban Waters program funding supports communities' efforts to access, improve and benefit from their urban waters and the surrounding land. Urban waters include canals, rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers, estuaries, bays and oceans in urbanized areas. The grants range from $30,000 to $60,000 for projects across the country, including in a number of underserved communities. Recipients will promote the restoration of urban waters through community engagement and outreach, water quality monitoring and studies, and environmental education and training.
Registration Opens for National Clean Energy Workforce Education Conference (November 13 - 15)
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), Inc. has, opened registration for the fifth national conference on workforce education in energy efficiency and renewable energy. The Clean Energy Workforce Education Conference is expected to draw 500 participants to Albany, NY - bringing together the nation''s most innovative educators who are training today's clean energy workforce. Over three days, they will offer the latest information and insight on instructional strategies, curricula development, credentialing and best training practices. The national conference will be held at the Albany Marriott on November 13-15, 2012.
Three plenary sessions, over 60 breakout presentations, and five pre-conference technical workshops will fuel participants with a breadth of facts, ideas, and best instructional models under way at community colleges, technical high schools, skill centers, trades and industry training centers across the country.
JFF Announces Multistate Initiative Designed to Create New 'Pathways to Prosperity" for High School Students
Jobs for the Future (JFF) has announced the launch of the Pathways to Prosperity Network, a collaboration between the Pathways to Prosperity Project the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), JFF, and six states focused on ensuring that many more young people complete high school, attain a postsecondary credential with currency in the labor market, and launch into a career while leaving open the prospect of further education. To accomplish this goal, participating states will deeply engage with employers and educators to build career pathways systems for high school-aged students. Each state will be led by a coalition of key public and private sector leaders committed to mobilizing and sustaining political and financial support for the agenda and addressing legislative or regulatory barriers that inhibit progress. The work will initially focus on one or two key regional labor markets within each state, but the long-term goal is to create a statewide system of career pathways that can serve a majority of students.
States that have joined together to form the Pathways to Prosperity Network are Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolin, and Tennesse. Participating states have engaged JFF to provide technical assistance to help them carry out this work. JFF and HGSE are seeking private funds to support the development of the network, beginning with a two-day institute at Harvard this fall for state and regional teams.
The Pathways to Prosperity framework includes the following elements of a pathways system:
- Employers committed to providing learning opportunities at the workplace and supporting the transition of young people into the labor market;
- Career pathways with clear structures, timelines, costs, and requirements linking and integrating high school and community college curricula and aligning both with labor market needs;
- An early and sustained career information and advising system strong enough to help students and families make informed choices about educational career paths; and
- Local or regional intermediary organizations to provide the infrastructure and support for the development of such pathways.
Corporation for National and Community Service Invites Public Comments on the Development of a Training and Technical Assistance Strategy and Disability Inclusion Programming for All Programs
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has announced today it is inviting public comments concerning the development and implementation of a unified training and technical assistance (TTA) strategy and disability inclusion programming for all
CNCS programs. CNCS notes “the new budget environment requires a more focused and outcome-oriented strategy for TTA and disability programming. Our desired
outcomes for TTA center on performance measurement and management, member/volunteer development and impact, as well as assisting programs in meeting requirements related to fiscal and program compliance. For disability inclusion, our goal is to increase the numbers of people with disabilities serving in national service programs. Stakeholder feedback on the most effective way to address these outcomes will be helpful to CNCS as we plan and prepare for this work.”
CNCS will accept comments in writing or in person at a listening session at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Chicago, June 19, 2012. It will also hold two conference calls before the end of the comment period.
Click here for additional background and the conference call logistics for June 25 and June 28.
Guide to Leading Policies, Practices & Resources: Supporting the Employment of Veterans and Military Families
The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University, in collaboration with a large cross section of the nation’s leading employers of veterans and military family members has recently released the publication Guide to Leading Policies, Practices & Resources: Supporting the Employment of Veterans and Military Families.
The Guide represents a response to calls for a shared resource for American employers, both large and small, to adopt a strategic and sustainable approach to the advancement of veterans in the civilian workforce, and serves to advance employment and economic opportunities for veterans and their families.
The authors characterize the Guide as “the product of a collaborative effort of the IVMF and the more than 30 private sector employers and supporting organizations, plus many more, whose activities are reflected throughout the report, that agreed to share best practices, lessons learned and innovations tied to the recruitment, assimilation, retention and advancement of veterans in the workforce.”
Veteran Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP)
Community Services Block Grant: HHS/ACF/OCS Announces Funding Opportunity to Expand Training and Technical Assistance Network
The Office of Community Services (OCS) within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has announced that competing applications will be accepted for a cooperative agreement to expand the existing Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) Network. This cooperative agreement will support an ongoing State, regional, and National T/TA Strategy for collaboration, capacity-building, and exemplary practice in the CSBG program and among State Community Action Agency Associations, hereafter referred to as State Associations.
This two-year cooperative agreement will fund 11 Regional Performance and Innovation Consortia (RPIs) to serve as regional focal points and lead the development of a comprehensive and integrated system of T/TA capacity-building activities. Each Regional Performance and Innovation Consortia (RPIC) will coordinate regional T/TA activities among State Associations with the central mission of ensuring that all CSBG-eligible entities are able to meet high-quality performance standards and utilize evidence-informed service approaches to address the identified needs of low-income people in communities.
It is expected that the RPIs will institute a regional approach for T/TA coordination and information dissemination; foster efforts that promote the primary mission of the RPIs; and work in partnership with OCS and established national CSBG technical assistance centers focused on performance management, risk mitigation and quality improvement, legal compliance, as well as two new Centers of Excellence focused on Results Oriented Management and Accountability (ROMA) Next Generation practices and organizational performance standards.
Each RPIC must meet the following requirements regarding allocation of funds:
- Minimum Distribution to State Associations - The lead grantee for each RPIC will collaborate with State Associations to support technical assistance focused on performance management, organizational excellence, and evidence-informed practice. The lead grantee for each RPIC will be required to provide at least 40 percent of grant funds, through contracts, to other State Associations in the grantee''s defined geographic region. Participating State Associations will be required to provide a letter of support from the State CSBG Lead Agency and demonstrate membership, or letters of support, from the majority of CSBG-eligible entities in the State.
- Minimum Allocation for Performance Management Efforts - Each RPIC will be required to demonstrate that at least 25 percent of the total Federal funds among the consortia of State Associations will support the regional input and implementation of a national ROMA Next Generation performance effort. Key activities will include: 1) obtaining and providing regional input on performance management requirements and expectations; 2) participating in national work groups; 3) facilitating and providing training on performance standards and measurement techniques; and 4) assisting State Associations and CSBG-eligible entities to utilize the ROMA cycle to analyze community needs assessment data, set challenging service goals, identify evidence-informed service plans, and document outcomes.
Each RPIC will establish partnerships with State Associations through contracts supported by the ACF award it receives. It is anticipated that the RPIs' role in the partnerships with State Associations will be to serve as a fiscal agent and provide technical assistance, including assisting State Associations in planning RPIC-funded activities administered in their defined geographic area. Recipients of ACF awards (i.e., RPIs) are accountable for the Federal grant funds received, including those dispersed to project partners, and responsible for the oversight of the various projects, programs, and activities supported by this award.
Recovery Act: ETA Requests States to Submit Spending Plans for Shares of the $500 Million Special Distribution
The Employment and Training Administration has issued Training and Employment Guidance Letter 32-11.
This TEGL requests states to submit spending plans for their shares of the $500 million Special Distribution provided under the Recovery Act.
Section 2003(g) under Subtitle A of the Assistance for Unemployed Workers and Struggling Families Act provided each state a share of $500 million based on a state’s proportionate share of Federal Unemployment Tax Act taxable wages paid in 2007. States were to use the funds for the following purposes:
• Implementing and administering the provisions of state law that qualify the state for Unemployment Compensation (UC)
Modernization incentive payments;
• Improving outreach to individuals who might be eligible by virtue of these provisions;
• Improving UC benefit and tax operations, including responding to increased demand for UC; and
• Staff-assisted reemployment services for UC claimants.
Excerpts from the TEGL:
Critical objectives of the Recovery Act were to preserve and create jobs, promote economic recovery, and assist those most impacted by the recession. To achieve these objectives, expenditure of the funds made available under the Recovery Act is necessary, and, as a result, expenditures have been closely tracked and reported to the Office of the Vice President for assessment of their economic impact. States received their shares of the $500 million distribution approximately three years ago; as of May 5, 2012, approximately $232.9 million (about 47 percent) had been expended. Nine states, however, have not expended any of the funds. The slow rate of expenditure concerns the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Office of the Vice President, and the Department of Labor (Department) since it signals the funds are not being actively used to promote economic growth. Hence there is great interest in states’ plans for expenditure of the funds.
In its report dated September 30, 2010, the OIG raised concerns about expenditure of these funds as it found that 22 states had no specific time frame for using the funds or the time frame was not determinable. One of the recommendations of the report was for the Department to: Request detailed spending plans from the states for the $500 million of administrative funds, and for those states without adequate plans, provide assistance, as appropriate, to help ensure these funds are spent as intended.
In order to understand when the remaining funds from the $500 million distribution will be expended thereby promoting economic recovery and job creation, and to comply with the OIG recommendation, states must submit plans for expenditure using the attached OMB approved (Approval No.: 1205-0154) ETA 8403A form as the collection instrument for the plans. We have established a target date of September 30, 2013 for expending the funds remaining from the $500 million distribution. Plans not meeting the target date should include reasons for passing that date; such plans will be evaluated for acceptability on a case-by-case basis. States not adhering to expenditure plans based on Treasury data related to withdrawals from state accounts established for the $500 million distribution may be requested to submit revised plans. Department staff is available to provide assistance to states needing help to ensure the funds are expended as intended.
Section 2142(a) of P.L. No. 112-96 requires that states provide reemployment services and reemployment and eligibility assessments (RES/REA) to certain individuals receiving emergency UC. Section 2142(c)(2)(C) authorizes funding in the amount of $85 for activities listed under Section 2142(a)(2) and included in the list of activities are staff-assisted reemployment services. Hence states with funds remaining from the $500 million distribution may use those funds to supplement the $85 per individual being provided for RES/REA activities.
The TEGL asks that State administrators should further distribute this advisory, and the attached form, to appropriate staff and submit the ETA 8403A through the appropriate Regional Office to the National Office by June 30, 2012.
Plans must reflect the status of the $500 million as of May 31, 2012, and should include: 1) a description of the goods and services acquired for amounts already expended and the amount expended; 2) the amount obligated but not expended, a description of the goods and services for which the funds have been obligated, a time line for expenditure; and, 3) the amount of funds unobligated and unexpended, a description of the goods and services to be acquired with these funds, and a timeline showing the plan for obligation and expenditure. For those states that have expended all of the funds, a description of the goods and services purchased is all that is required and that information should be entered in the “Funds Expended to Date” section of the ETA 8403A form. Administrators should ensure plans reflect proper and expeditious use of the funds and clearly address any current or prospective issues that might affect the timeline for expenditure of these funds.
NSF Seeks Comments on Program Accountability Data Collections Focused on STEM Education and Workforce
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced it is requesting establishment of program accountability data collections that describe and track the impact of NSF funding that focuses on the Nation's science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and STEM workforce.
The Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), a unit within NSF, promotes rigor and vitality within the Nation's STEM education enterprise to further the development of the 21st century's STEM workforce and public scientific literacy. EHR does this through diverse projects and programs that support research, extension, outreach, and hands-on activities that service STEM learning and research at all institutional (e.g., pre-school through postdoctoral) levels in formal and informal settings; and individuals of all ages (birth and beyond). EHR also focuses on broadening participation in STEM learning and careers among United States citizens, permanent residents, and nationals, particularly those individuals traditionally underemployed in the STEM research workforce, including but not limited to women, persons with disabilities, and racial and ethnic minorities.
The scope of this information collection request will primarily cover descriptive information gathered from education and training projects that are funded by NSF. NSF will primarily use the data from this collection for program planning, management, and audit purposes to respond to queries from the Congress, the public, NSF's external merit reviewers who serve as advisors, including Committees of Visitors (COVs), the NSF's Office of the Inspector General and as a basis for either internal or third-party evaluations of individual programs.
Click here for additional background and instructions for obtaining the collection and submitting comments. Comments are due by August 6.
USDA Announces Funding Availability under Rural Business Opportunity Grant Program and the Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program
The Department of Agriculture has announced the availability of grant funding through the Rural Business Opportunity Grant Program (RBOG) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012.
The primary objective of the program is to improve the economic conditions of rural areas. Assistance provided to rural areas under this program includes the following:
- Rural business incubators
- Technology-based economic development
- Feasibility studies and business plans
- Long-term business strategic planning
- Leadership and entrepreneur training
Public bodies, nonprofit corporations, institutions of higher education, Indian tribes on Federal or State reservations and other Federally Recognized Native American Tribes or tribal groups, and rural cooperatives may apply.
Approximately $2.37 million is available in reserved and unreserved funding and will be distributed as follows:
- 1,140,610.78 is reserved for projects benefitting Federally Recognized Native American Tribes (Native American) in rural areas
- $1,230,020 is unreserved.
Applications for unreserved funding are limited to $50,000 or less. Applications for reserved funding have no limit.
Applications are due by August 6, 2012.
Click here for full background and application instructions.
The Department also announced the availability of funding under the Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program.
The primary objective of the RCDG program is to improve the economic condition of rural areas by assisting individuals or entities in the startup, expansion or operational improvement of rural cooperatives and other business entities. Grants are awarded competitively on an annual basis to Rural Cooperative Development Centers who in turn provide technical assistance to individuals and entities.
Approximately $5.8 million is available. Applications are limited to a maximum of $175,000 and matching funds are required. The grant period is limited to a one-year timeframe.
Applications are due by August 6, 2012.
Click here for full background and application instructions
ETA Issues Application Instructions to Eligible States for WIA Section 503 Incentive Grants
The Employment and Training Administration has issued Change 10 to Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) 20-01.
This TEGL This guidance updates the procedures the eligible states should follow to apply for WIA Section 503 Incentive Grants.
The list of states eligible to receive incentive grant awards based on PY 2010 performance, and the amounts of the awards for which they are eligible appeared in the May 25, 2012 FEDERAL REGISTER. Eligibility for a Section 503 incentive grant award was determined by state performance under WIA Title IB and AEFLA programs.
Bank of America Charitable Foundation Invites Nonprofits to Submit Funding Proposals for Local Programs to Support Workforce Development and Education
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation announced today that it is inviting U.S. nonprofit organizations to submit funding proposals for local programs that address the nation's high unemployment rate. The company will invest $15 million in workforce development and educational programs connecting individuals to employment success. This funding is part of the company's three-year $50 million goal announced at the White House last summer to support workforce development and education initiatives leading to economic self-sufficiency through employment.
Bank of America is also announcing funding for two additional programs helping to connect young people to employment that will give them valuable skills and experience.
- Bank of America's Summer Youth Employment Initiative is a partnership with city summer youth programs in coordination with the U.S. Conference of Mayors to provide 800 at-risk teens with summer jobs at local nonprofits and businesses in 18 communities across the country.
- Bank of America's Student Leaders program, now in its 9th year, provides 225 community-minded high school juniors and seniors across the U.S. with a paid eight-week internship at local nonprofit organizations this summer. Student Leaders also attend a weeklong Bank of America Student Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. in July.
For more information on nonprofit programs and services that may qualify, or to submit an application for grant funding, please visit www.bankofamerica.com/foundation. Grant applications will be accepted June 4 through July 2, 2012.