Topics Of Interest
Department Awards Eleven Grants to Provide Job Training to Veterans; VA Provides Update on Applications Approved Under the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program
The Department of Labor has recently awarded grants totaling $11.53 million through the Veterans'' Workforce Investment Program to provide an estimated 5,500 veterans with job training and skills development services.
Eleven grants were awarded on a competitive basis to state and local workforce investment boards, local public agencies and nonprofit organizations, including faith-based and community organizations, in 10 states. These agencies are familiar with the areas and populations to be served, and have demonstrated that they can administer effective programs.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has approved more than 36,000 applications for the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), a new training and education program for unemployed Veterans to upgrade their skills for in-demand jobs.
At the current approval rate, VA expects to fill all 45,000 available slots for the fiscal year 2012 phase of the program before the Sept. 30 deadline, and will continue processing new applications for the 54,000 slots available in fiscal year 2013.
The program, a provision of the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, which was passed by Congress and signed by the President in November 2011, is managed by VA and the Department of Labor (DOL) and allows qualifying Veterans to receive up to 12 months of education assistance equal to the full-time Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty rate, currently $1,473 per month.
The goal of VRAP is to train a total of 99,000 Veterans over the next two years in more than 200 job skills that DOL has determined are the most sought-after by employers.
"Sustainability Manufacturing Curriculum: Greening the Future by Education Tomorrow's Workforce" Now Available
As sustainable manufacturing takes hold across the country, the demand for employees who are trained to identify opportunities for improving process efficiencies and preventing environmental wastes will explode. While some job candidates have a basic knowledge of lean manufacturing techniques, few realize how environmental wastes and pollution prevention relate to lean initiatives.
Developed under the E3: Economy, Energy and the Environment initiative, the Sustainable Manufacturing Curriculum: Greening the Future by Educating Tomorrow's Workforce is intended for educators at high schools, career and vocational institutes, community colleges and trade schools.
The curriculum is made up of three modules: Environmental Sustainability, Lean Manufacturing and Pollution Prevention, and Energy and Carbon. Each module includes a slide presentation and a facilitator's guide complete with handouts, activities, quizzes, and facilitator's notes. The facilitator's guide also uses visually engaging icons to assist educators in appropriately conveying the material to the students.
The curriculum is designed so that educators have the flexibility to incorporate these modules into their existing course material or parceled by topic. Each module requires approximately three hours of classroom time requiring up to nine hours implement the entire curriculum. The curriculum modules were built with flexibility in mind. They include many discussion questions and activities allowing for variable times to implement in the classroom. Educators can and should pick and choose which topics, discussion questions, and activities best fit their classroom needs.
Click here to view the modules and marketing materials.
FEMA Announces Cooperative Agreement Opportunity to Assist Communities in Building Resilence
The risk and potential impact of man-made and natural disasters is a continuing challenge to local communities as they strive to develop a collective local ability to withstand the impact of these events in a manner that will minimize losses, accelerate recovery, and protect the welfare of community stakeholders. FEMA proposes to leverage the funds allocated to a cooperative agreement opportunity announced yesterday to enable the implementation of an innovative program designed to apply the principle of community engagement in new ways to help build the Nation''s resilience to disasters.
The recipient shall collaborate with FEMA to accomplish two major objectives. First, the recipient will help FEMA establish a new structural mechanism for engaging with local communities to build resilience. The recipient will encourage local communities to engage in creative activities that enhance disaster resilience by building on and addressing local interests, abilities, and needs. Second, the recipient will implement and manage a signature national challenge program, called the Community Resilience Challenge Awards Program. This program will be designed to stimulate, support, and expand the scale of existing successful community activities and to encourage local residents to design new collaborative initiatives that will enhance community resilience.
While posted to grants.gov yesterday, it appears FEMA is allowing only a week's window for submission. Applications are due by August 21.
Only nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS status, other than institution of higher education, are eligible to apply for the identified $975,000 in funding.
Department of Education Releases Guide Designed for Incarcerated Individuals and Those on Community Supervision - 'Take Charge of your Future, Get the Education and Training You Need.'
The Department of Education has recently posted a new publication on its website--Take Charge of Your Future, Get the Education and Training You Need.
The Department notes, in part:
This Guide is designed for people who are incarcerated and for those on community supervision (probation and parole). It will help you get started-or continue-on the path to further education and training. Earning a high school credential, getting a certificate or license in a career technical field, or earning an associate or bachelor''s degree will help you advance in your career, and, ultimately, life. You'll have more to offer employers, and you'll improve your chances of getting and keeping a good job-and earning promotions. You'll increase the amount of money you can earn, gain new skills, and make new contacts. In fact, 2010 U.S. Census figures show that people with higher levels of education earn more money. On average, people with four-year college degrees who worked full time earned $57,026 a year, compared to $44,086 for those with an associate degree, $34,197 for high school grad-uates, and $27,470 for high school dropouts.
This Guide is designed so that you can go through it from start to finish, or just read or print out the chapters that you need most. It covers the steps involved in setting goals, getting organized, finding employment, and pursuing your education, from a high school credential to a college diploma. It also provides advice about getting money to pay for your education. It won't answer every question, but it will direct you to resources where you can get your questions answered and get more information. The Guide does not provide information on services in specific states, but, wherever possible, it suggests a way to find that information.
Department of Education Seeks Comment on Proposed New Information Collection - Perkins Discretionary Grant Performance Report
The Department of Education has proposed a new information collection - the Perkins Discretionary Grant Performance Report.
The Department is inviting public comment by October 15.
The Perkins Discretionary Grant Performance Report form and instructions will be used by grantees to meet Department of Education deadline dates for submission of performance and financial reports for the Office of Vocational Adult Education office (OVAE) Division of Academic and Technical Education (DATE) discretionary grant programs, as required by the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR 34 CFR 74.51, 74.52, 75.118, 75.253, 75.590, and 80.40).
The Perkins Discretionary Grant Performance Report will be used by OVAE discretionary grant recipients in lieu of the ED 524B Grant Performance Report and instructions because the ED 524B is not compatible with OVAE-DATE'''''s new Perkins Information Management System. Recipients of multi-year discretionary grants must submit interim performance reports, usually annually, for each year funding has been approved in order to receive a continuation award.
The annual performance report should demonstrate whether substantial progress has been made toward meeting the approved goals and objectives of the project. OVAE also requires recipients of "forward funded" grants that are awarded funds for their entire multi-year project up-front in a single grant award to submit an annual performance report. The Perkins Discretionary Grant Performance Report will be used for interim and final performance reporting. In both the annual and final performance reports, grantees are required to provide data on established performance measures for the grant program (e.g., Government Performance and Results Act measures) and on project performance measures that were included in the grantee's approved grant application, in order to demonstrate project success, impact and outcomes. The Perkins Discretionary Grant Performance Report form will also be used by grant recipients for other interim reporting such as quarterly or semi-annual performance and/or financial reporting
CNCS Announces Funding Available to Engage Older Americans in High-Impact Service
Please note that the 2013 RSVP competition will target grantmaking on six focus areas: disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and veterans and military families. CNCS has identified $16 million in funding for this cycle with the anticipation of 270 awards. Faith-based organizations and Indian tribes are among those entitles eligible to apply. Applications are due October 11. Remaining TA calls are scheduled for August 27, August 28, September 18, September 26, and October 2.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) launched its 2013 RSVP grant competition yesterday, encouraging nonprofits and public agencies across the country to learn how RSVP can help them increase their impact by engaging volunteers 55 years and older in service.
RSVP, one of three signature programs in Senior Corps, is a proven, flexible, and successful program with 40 years of experience in harnessing the skills and experience of older Americans in meeting critical community needs. The program helps nonprofits, higher education institutions, Indian tribes, and public agencies expand their impact by engaging experienced and committed volunteers.
The bipartisan 2009 Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act required national service programs to focus on a core set of critical challenges and to demonstrate impact through use of standardized performance measures. The legislation also required competition for RSVP beginning in fiscal year 2013.
In alignment with the Serve America Act and the agency's Strategic Plan, the 2013 RSVP competition will target grantmaking on six focus areas: disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and veterans and military families. RSVP sponsors funded under the competition will report their progress using the CNCS performance measures, helping ensure they will be positioned for greater impact in the future.
RSVP volunteers help organizations expand services, build capacity, develop partnerships, leverage resources, create sustainable projects, and recruit and manage other volunteers. Grant funding partially covers expenses to operate a RSVP project, such as staffing, supplies, volunteer stations, and training of staff and members. Projects may use RSVP grant funds to conduct volunteer recruitment and recognition and to reimburse volunteers for service-related travel.
Eligible applicants include faith-based and secular nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, state education agencies, Indian tribes, and local government entities including counties and cities. The draft 2013 RSVP funding notice, FAQs, and other information is available here.
RSVP funding opportunities are available in 264 specific geographic regions in 41 states across the country. See Appendix A for the list of geographic areas where funding is available.
The grant award covers a three-year project period. CNCS generally makes an initial award for the first-year of operation with continuation funding in years two and three contingent on satisfactory performance, compliance, and availability of funds. Letters of intent are due on Monday, September 10, 2012, and the deadline for applications is Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Successful applicants will be notified in March 2013.
CNCS will host six technical assistance calls to answer questions about this funding opportunity, including information on RSVP, how to apply, and the new performance measures. Calls will take place on August 2, August 27, August 28, September 18, September 26, and October 2. Call details and registration information is available here.
In addition, the Senior Corps Virtual Conference on August 14-16 will highlight the new performance measures for Senior Corps grantees, providing information to help organizations create effective measures to demonstrate impact in communities. The virtual conference is free and open to the public.
VA Offers Update on the Third Anniversary of the Post-9/11 GI Bill
August marks the third anniversary of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and since it was implemented Aug. 1, 2009, the Department of Veterans Affairs has provided educational benefits to 773,000 Veterans and their family members.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays tuition and fees on behalf of Veterans or eligible dependents directly to the school in which they are enrolled. Eligible participants also receive a monthly housing allowance and up to $1000 annually for books and supplies. The program also allows eligible Servicemembers to transfer their benefits to their spouses and/or children.
The program provides a wide range of educational options, including undergraduate and graduate degrees, vocational/technical training, on-the-job training, flight training, correspondence training, licensing and national testing programs, entrepreneurship training, and tutorial assistance. All training programs must be approved for GI Bill benefits.
FTA Announces Plans to Fund National Center for Mobility Management
The Federal Transit Administration has released an Announcement of Funding Opportunities (Announcement) to promote mobility management--a customer-focused approach to transportation service delivery. FTA, under its National Research Program, plans to fund a National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM) which will carry-out activities to further mobility management and to improve and enhance the coordination of Federal resources for human service transportation.
In recognition of the fundamental importance of human service transportation and the continuing need to enhance coordination, Executive Order 13330 (February 24, 2004) was issued on Human Service Transportation Coordination, establishing the Federal Interagency Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility (CCAM). The Executive Order directed multiple Federal departments and agencies to work together to ensure that transportation services are seamless, comprehensive and accessible.
The Secretaries from the Departments of Transportation (DOT), Health and Human Services, Labor, Education, Interior, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, and Veterans Affairs; the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration; the Attorney General; and the Chairperson of the National Council on Disability are members of the CCAM.
FTA intends to fund the NCMM at $1,800,000 for the first year. FTA may extend funding for this Center for up to five (5) years; however, subsequent funding will depend upon: (1) Decisions and program priorities established by the Secretary of Transportation related to the implementation of provisions set forth in Section 20012, Technical Assistance and Standards, of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21); (2) future appropriations; and (3) annual performance reviews. Furthermore, additional funding may be provided to the NCMM by other CCAM members to support mobility management and coordinated transportation priorities.
The Announcement includes the Request for Proposals (RFP) which describes the priorities established for the NCMM, as well as the application process and criteria upon which proposals will be evaluated. The full Announcement is available on the FTA's Web site at: http://www.fta.dot.gov/grants/13077.html and on the United We Ride Web site at: http://www.unitedweride.gov. The funding opportunity RFP is posted in the FIND module of the government-wide electronic grants Web site at http://www.grants.gov.
National Science Foundation Seeks Digital Government Strategy; Comments Include Availability of Data from the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is working to make agency data and services more useful and dynamic, key goals of the recent Digital Government Strategy, and is seeking the public''s input to decide what information should be first in line for expanded openness.
The Digital Government Strategy, announced on May 23, 2012, sets forth a bold plan to give citizens and an increasingly mobile federal workforce access to high quality, digital government information, data and services, and also build an information technology (IT) infrastructure that supports digital government in the 21st century. Ultimately, the Digital Strategy aims to enable more efficient and coordinated delivery of digital information across all federal agencies.
NSF is asking the public to help it prioritize which data sets, or digital collections of information, to open more broadly through the use of interactive search and display functionality. The foundation has set up a new website, nsfdigitalstrategy.ideascale.com, to allow everyone to vote for collections of information that are under consideration for expanded access. Broader access would be achieved through the use of technologies known as APIs. An API, or Application Programming Interface, is a type of code used by one computer or device to access or retrieve information from another computer or device. Web developers can use APIs to join previously unrelated data from disparate online sources, enabling government information to be viewed and "mashed up" in new and innovative ways.
The public can provide feedback on which NSF data sets it considers to be of highest value until Aug. 22. Please note that one comment received to date concerns the availability of the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission data.
Additional information about NSF and the Digital Government Strategy, including updates on data set priorities will be available on a new website, NSF Digital Strategy
Departments of Defense and Interior Sign Memorandum of Understanding in Support of Renewable Energy Partnership Program
Departments of Defense and Interior Sign Memorandum of Understanding in Support of Renewable Energy Partnership Program The Department of the Interior and the Department of Defense are teaming up to strengthen the nation's energy security and reduce military utility costs, according to an August 6, 2012 release.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that encourages appropriate development of renewable energy projects on public lands withdrawn (set aside) for defense-related purposes, and other onshore and offshore areas near military installations.
The MOU sets out the guiding concepts for the Renewable Energy Partnership Plan, the departments' roles and responsibilities under the agreement, and how they will work together to carry out the initiative. A major goal of the partnership is to harness the significant proven solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy resources on or near DoD installations across the country.
Click here for the news release.
Click here for the Memorandum of Understanding
Click here for descriptions of Employment and Training Administration energy-related grants
SBA Seeks Comments on Information Collection Associated with 'Entrepreneurial Development Impact Study; August 13 Webinar to Present 'A Review of the Federal Government's Entrepreneurial Initiatives"
The Small Business Administration has announced it is seeking comments on the information collection associated with an "Entrepreneurial Development Impact Study." SBA anticipates an annual response of 12,468 small business clients and "prospective entrepreneurs and other student of enterprise."
SBA notes, in part:
Part of the Government Performance Results Act (GPRA) mandated evaluation of (our) business counseling and training programs and Small Business Administration strategic plan is to examine the impact of counseling and information services on nascent, start- up and in-business clients.
The survey will measure effects on counseling and information transfer on the respondent's evaluation of the effectiveness, usefulness, and relevancy of the services provided and whether these services/actions led to the creation of jobs and an increase in business start-ups and gross revenue.
Comments are due by October12, 2012. SBA does encourage public comments addressing, inter alia, "if there are ways to minimize the estimated burden and enhance the quality of the collections."
Additional background and the respective SBA contact information regarding the collection can be found in the August 3 FEDERAL REGISTER.
A free webinar in the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer's iTEC series is scheduled for August 13 (noon to 12:30 p.m.) - A Review of the Federal Government's Entrepreneurial Initiatives.
The speakers will talk about the innovation and entrepreneurship programs in Federal Government today. The speakers will discuss the status of the EDA i6 competition and the noticeable increase in the quality of the proposals.
They will also speak about the paradigm shift in the EDA programs from a "Bricks and Mortar" focus (hard) to a more innovative programmatic focus (soft) on innovation, commercialization and entrepreneurship.
The speakers will also discuss the convergence of Universities, Government/ NIST and industry in the formation of private/public/partnerships to implement strategic innovation based economic development initiatives on a regional basis.
Job Access Mobility Institute: CTAA Seeks to Support Five Communities
The Community Transportation Association of America's Joblinks Employment Transportation Center is looking to support five communities in designing new and improved on-the-ground transportation services that respond to a key transportation challenge facing job seekers, trainees, and employees in their locale.
The Job Access Mobility Institute is a multi-month, team-based research, design, and implementation process in which teams will develop and test a transportation service that solves a key challenge of their constituents. This opportunity will bring together innovative thinkers from the transportation, employment and training, and business sectors to solve their community's unique mobility challenges.
The application deadline is Friday, August 24, 2012.
SBA Announces 'Boots to Business' Program to Assist Veterans
From the Small Business Administration:
The Small Business Administration (SBA) recognizes the contributions that veterans make by owning and running businesses that employ millions of Americans. According to the most recent U.S. Census Data, veteran-owned firms represent 9 percent of all U.S. firms. These 2.45 million veteran-owned businesses employed over 5.8 million individuals. Transitioning service members are natural entrepreneurs, possessing the training, experience, and leadership skills to start businesses and create jobs.
A Public-Private Partnership to Train Transitioning Service Members in Entrepreneurship
SBA wants to help even more veterans grow their businesses and create jobs. We have worked with our expert network of Resource Partners (including Women's Business Centers (WBCs), SCORE chapters, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), and Veterans Business Opportunity Centers (VBOCs)), Syracuse University, the VA, and DOD to provide transitioning service members the knowledge, tools and resources they need to evaluate opportunities and become successful entrepreneurs. Through the Boots to Business initiative, service members will learn the nuts and bolts of how to start and grow a business. They will also be introduced to the SBA's nationwide Resource Partner network for support throughout the lifecycle of their new business. Read more about our Resource Partner Network and find the help you need.
A Multi-Phased Approach/strongThe Boots to Business program uses a multi-phased approach to introduce transitioning service members to the fundamentals of small business ownership and to the SBA tools and resources available to them. Building on lessons learned from the Boots to Business pilot program, launched in the Spring of 2012, the SBA aims to ultimately provide entrepreneurship awareness and opt-in training nationwide to the 250,000 service members from all branches of the military that transition each year.
View the 10-minute Informational Video
- More about the Boots to Business Program
- Facts on Veterans and Entrepreneurship
- Resources for Transitioning Veterans