Topics Of Interest
USDA Reminds the Workforce Community of the “Rural Wealth Creation and Livelihoods National Community of Practice”
The Department of Agriculture passes along this advisory and invitation for the workforce community in rural communities:
Taking good ideas on rural wealth creation and moving them into practice and policy – and helping each other do it effectively – is the aim of a National Community of Practice (NCP). We invite you to join!
The NCP builds on the conversation started at the Rural Wealth Creation and Livelihoods national conference, co-convened by the Ford Foundation and the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Since conference attendance was at capacity, the NCP organizers shared information and discussions from the conference in real-time on the conference networking website. You can join in the action – find conference presentations, dialogue highlights, blogs – and offer your questions and comments in the mix.
We hope that the conference was just the beginning. The aim of this effort is to help create a new way forward for rural America that builds sustainable livelihoods. To do that, we want to encourage, facilitate and support an ongoing dialogue and interaction among practitioners, researchers and policymakers about what works in rural wealth creation. That’s why we have created the NCP – for the community to grow and flourish past the conference.
Membership in this community is open and inclusive. Anyone with an interest in this work is invited to participate. You can use the website as a meeting place – to organize discussions around specific topics, to pose questions and get help from the network, to suggest research issues and find partners, and to find collaborators to seek funding.
Interested in joining the conversation? Just go to http://ruralwealth.org to join the Rural Wealth Creation and Livelihoods NCP.
SBA Announces Meetings of Advisory Committee on Veterans Affairs (December 5) and Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development (December 6)
The Small Business Administration has announced that a public meeting of the Advisory Committee on Veterans Affairs will be held on December 5 (9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m). The meeting will be held in the Eisenhower Conference Room B at 409 3rd Street NW., Washington, DC 20419.
The meeting will focus on strategic planning, updates on past and current events, and the ACVBA's objectives for 2014.
Click here for additional information and instructions for requesting attendance and/or submitting comments. Additional information can be found at www.sba.gov/vets.
SBA has also announced that a public meeting of the Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development will take place on December 6 (9:00 to 3:00 p.m.) at the same location. The Task Force is 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 also coordinates administrative and regulatory activities and develop proposals relating to "three focus areas" : (1) Training, Counseling & Capital; (2) Federal Contracting & Verification; (3) Improved Federal Support.
On November 1, 2011, the Task Force submitted its first report to the President, which included 18 recommendations. In addition, the Task Force will allow time to obtain public comment from individuals and representatives of Organizations regarding the areas of focus.
The meeting is open to the public; however, advance notice of attendance is requested. Anyone wishing to attend and/or make a presentation to the Task Force must contact Barbara Carson, by December 2, 2013, by email in order to be placed on the agenda. Comments for the Record should be applicable to the "three focus areas" of the Task Force and emailed prior to the meeting for inclusion in the public record, verbal presentations; however, will be limited to five minutes in the interest of time and to accommodate as many presenters as possible. Written comments should be emailed to Barbara Carson, Designated Federal Officer Office of Veterans Business Development, U.S. Small Business Administration, 409 3rd Street, SW., Washington, DC 20416, at the email address for the Task Force, firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, if you need accommodations because of a disability or require additional information, please contact Barbara Carson, Designated Federal Official for the Task Force at (202) 205-6773; or by email at: email@example.com. For more information, please visit www.sba.gov/vets.
HUD Announces Nine Communities will Receive Choice Neighborhood Planning Grants; Education, Employment, and Access to Jobs Emphasized
U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan has recently announced that nine communities across the U.S. will receive Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants.
The $4.37 million in awarded funds provides these communities the resources they need to craft comprehensive, community-driven plans to revitalize and transform public or other HUD-assisted housing and distressed neighborhoods.
The awardees were selected from among 52 applications. Successful applicants demonstrated their intent to plan for the transformation of neighborhoods by revitalizing severely distressed public and/or assisted housing while leveraging investments to create high-quality public schools, outstanding education and early learning programs, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs and well-functioning services. HUD focused on directing resources to address three core goals:
Housing: Transform distressed public and assisted housing into energy efficient, mixed-income housing that is physically and financially viable over the long-term;
People: Support positive outcomes for families who live in the target development(s) and the surrounding neighborhood, particularly outcomes related to residents’ health, safety, employment, mobility, and education; and
Neighborhood: Transform neighborhoods of poverty into viable, mixed-income neighborhoods with access to well-functioning services, high quality public schools and education programs, high quality early learning programs and services, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs.
The grantees will use the funding to work with local stakeholders – public and/or assisted housing residents, community members, businesses, institutions and local government officials – to undertake a successful neighborhood transformation to create a “choice neighborhood.” The awardees will use the funding to create a comprehensive Transformation Plan, or road map, to transforming distressed public and/or assisted housing within a distressed community.
Each grant totals $500,000.
Upcoming December 2 Interview: WIB Partnerships with Local Banks to Support Financial Literacy
The National Association of Workforce Boards has passed along this advisory about an upcoming interview:
Workforce Central radio continues on Monday, December 2nd at 1:00 PM EST, as NAWB CEO Ron Painter interviews Federal Reserve of Kansas City''s Community Development Director, Steve Shepelwich. During this 30-minute interview, learn how the Federal Reserve system can help WIBs partner with local banks to create complimentary programs and even identify funding streams to advance financial literacy and workforce readiness among their customers. Visit our channel and mark your calendar for this informative show.
VA Announces Grant to Provide Enhanced Services for Homeless Veterans; Invests in Rehabilitation of Housing Projects and Acquisition of Vans
The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced that 25 projects in 11 different states will share approximately $4.9 million in grants to provide enhanced services for homeless Veterans this year. This is in addition to the approximately $300 million in preventive grants awarded earlier this year through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. More …
The Department of Veterans Affairs has also approved $8.8 million in grants to fund 164 projects in 37 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to rehabilitate currently operational transitional housing projects and acquire vans to facilitate the transportation needs of homeless Veterans. More …
HUD Selects Project Opportunities to Advance in Final Phase of Design Competition to Make Sandy-Impacted Region More Resilient
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced the project opportunities that will be pursued by each of the ten teams advancing to Stage 3 of the Rebuild by Design competition. Each team will now spend the next five months working with local and regional stakeholders in developing projects and design approaches to increase resilience in the region affected by Hurricane Sandy. The goal is to arrive at projects that are implementable and fundable, leveraging the variety of federal recovery investments being made in the region.
Rebuild by Design was initiated by President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force as an unprecedented multi-stage regional design competition with a goal of rebuilding areas affected by Hurricane Sandy to be more resilient, sustainable, and livable. The competition has stimulated regional, cross-disciplinary collaboration between state and local governments, international design teams, educational institutions, and the public. Funding for the administration of Rebuild by Design has come from The Rockefeller Foundation, Community Foundation of New Jersey, and other philanthropic and non-profit institutions and shows how private groups can help leverage the resources of the federal government for the good of the public.
Note among the project opportunities:
“Resilient Bridgeport Network”
(This) project will build the spaces and programs for the South End of Bridgeport to become more self-sufficient through public safety, education and job training, community activities, and a mix of commercial and housing functions fostering connections between people. The City’s proposed Green Collar Institute will become part of the resilience within this neighborhood, training people for green industrial processes, building retrofitting, construction disassembly and salvage, landscaping, environmental remediation, renewable energy, and materials upcycling research and development.
Rebuild by Design now heads into Stage 3, when Design Teams begin to work with local community leaders to collaboratively develop design solutions in partnership. This stage involves building results-focused coalitions in local communities, which include partners critical to the design and ultimate implementation of each initiative, and broader consultative processes with local stakeholders. Planning and implementation workshops will be held and an ambitious public communications and outreach program will be launched in early winter to engage the public, highlighting challenges and opportunities.
The opportunities being developed by the ten teams will require comprehensive and integrated approaches delivered through the deep engagement of each Design Team. In addition, Stage 3 will include continued opportunities for cross-project integration with other rebuilding activities on the ground to develop an innovative, ambitious agenda for resilience by design.
NSF Announces Funding Opportunity under innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST)
The Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program through research and model-building activities seeks to build understandings of best practice factors, contexts and processes contributing to K-12 students'' motivation and participation in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) core domains along with other STEM cognate domains (e.g., information and communications technology (ICT), computing, computer sciences, data analytics, among others) that inform education programs and workforce domains.
The ITEST program funds foundational and applied research projects addressing the development, implementation, and dissemination of innovative strategies, tools, and models for engaging students to be aware of STEM and cognate careers, and to pursue formal school-based and informal out-of-school educational experiences to prepare for such careers. ITEST supports projects that: (1) increase students' awareness of STEM and cognate careers; (2) motivate students to pursue the appropriate education pathways for STEM and cognate careers; and/or (3) provide students with technology-rich experiences that develop disciplinary-based knowledge and practices, and non-cognitive skills (e.g., critical thinking and communication skills) needed for entering STEM workforce sectors.
ITEST supports two project types: Strategies and SPrEaD (Successful Project Expansion and Dissemination) projects. Strategies projects address the creation and implementation of innovative technology-related interventions that support ITEST's objectives. SPrEaD projects support the wider and broader dissemination and examination of innovative interventions to generate evidence and understanding regarding contextual factors that operate to enhance, moderate, or constrain the desired results.
The National Science Foundation today announced a funding opportunity under this program Anticipated Funding Amount: $50,000,000.
Estimated Number of Awards: 20 to 30 each year depending on the availability of funds. Approximately 15-20 Strategies awards with durations up to three years and total budgets up to $1,200,000 each will be made; and approximately 5-10 SPrEaD awards with durations of three to five years and total budgets up to $2,000,000 each will be made.
SBA Signs Strategic Alliance Memorandum to Encourage Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment
The U.S. Small Business Administration and Operation HOPE, Inc., have signed a Strategic Alliance Memorandum (SAM) to encourage entrepreneurship and economic empowerment through increased collaboration on entrepreneurial and financial education for small business owners.
Operation HOPE, Inc. is America’s first nonprofit social investment bank and a national provider of financial literacy and economic empowerment programs. Through ongoing collaborations and long-term partnerships with leading government, private sector, and community interests, Operation HOPE works to bring self-sufficiency and a sustained spirit of revitalization to America’s inner-city communities.
The alliance signing took place at Operation HOPE’s HOPE Global Financial Dignity Summit November 13, 2013, in Atlanta, Ga. with John Hope Bryant, Operation HOPE’s founder and CEO, Tameka Montgomery, SBA Associate Administrator for Entrepreneurial Development, and SBA Region Four Administrator Cassius Butts.
The SAM is designed to spur economic development through small business growth, and to improve entrepreneurial education that advances greater access to capital, expanded technical assistance and access to procurement programs.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Publishes Draft Solicitation for “Bridges to Financial Security: A Multi-Site Demonstration Project"
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has published a draft solicitation for the Bridges to Financial Security: A Multi-Site Demonstration project, which seeks to provide financial education services to individuals with disabilities who are transitioning into the workforce to increase their financial literacy and help them proactively take control of their finances at crucial moments in their lives.
To ensure this project is executed in the most effective manner possible, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking industry input by issuing a draft solicitation for vendors’ review and comment. This draft solicitation is intended to provide an opportunity for expert vendor feedback into the tentative design of the proposed project and the supporting procurement.
The CFPB notes, in part:
The financial situation of an individual with disabilities transitioning into the workforce or reentering the workforce after a period of time, such as good credit, often contribute to successful placement and stability on the job. For a person with a disability transitioning into or reentering the workforce, the financial situation is often overlooked. Additionally, the most economically vulnerable consumers, of whom persons with disabilities are frequently numbered, are part of the “traditionally under-served consumers and communities.” These persons are typically the hardest to reach and the most difficult to serve. This necessitates in-person, individualized guidance delivered at a trusted, convenient, and accessible location.See: https://www.fbo.gov/index
This initiative seeks to provide financial education services to individuals with disabilities who are transitioning into the workforce to increase their financial literacy skills and help them proactively take control of their finances at crucial moments in their lives.
White House’s OSTP and Other Organizations to Offer Insights on “Maker Ed” Movement and STEM
An online Town Hall will be held on November 20, 2013 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM EST. This informative online event is presented by STEMConnector and Maker Ed Initiative.
Speakers will include representatives from the following organizations: White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, California STEM Learning Network, Arizona State University's College of Technology and Innovation, the Digital Harbor Foundation, Brown University and Cognizant Corporation. The representatives will offer insights on a variety fronts confronting the Maker Ed movement including state and federal policy, scaling, implementation and funding. You can follow along with the conversation on Twitter by using #MakerSTEM.
Perkins and Other Student Aid: Department of Education Issues Final Regulations
The Department of Education has issued final regulations which amend the Student Assistance General Provisions, Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program regulations.
These final regulations will:
- amend the FFEL and Direct Loan program regulations to reflect changes made to the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), by the SAFRA Act included in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010
- incorporate statutory changes to interest rates and other recent statutory changes in the Direct Loan Program regulations; update, strengthen, and clarify various areas of the Student Assistance General Provisions, Perkins Loan, FFEL, and Direct Loan program regulations
- provide for greater consistency in the regulations governing the title IV, HEA student loan programs
These final regulations – effective July 1, 2014 – are designed “to ensure that the title IV, HEA Federal student aid programs operate as efficiently as possible.”
The November 1, 2013 FEDERAL REGISTER contains the regulations. Note that a total of 25 commentators provided input to the NPRM; the preamble (beginning on page 65773) provides the Department’s analysis and response.
Department of Education Seeks Comments on Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study
The Department of Education has announced it is seeking comments by November 29 on the proposed revision of the 2012/14 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS:12/14), conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The Study is designed to follow a cohort of students who enroll in postsecondary education for the first time during the 2011-2012 academic year, irrespective of date of high school completion. The study collects data on student persistence in, and completion of, postsecondary education programs; their transition to employment; demographic characteristics; and changes over time in their goals, marital status, income, and debt, among other measures. Data from BPS are used to help researchers and policymakers better understand how financial aid influences persistence and completion, what percentages of students complete various degree programs, what early employment and wage outcomes are for certificate and degree attainers, and why students leave school.
National Fund for Workforce Solutions Issues RFP to Support Regional Workforce Funder Collaboratives
The National Fund for Workforce Solutions is inviting applications from regional workforce funder collaboratives for Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grant awards of between $75,000 and $100,000 for one year. Organizations applying for this funding must be well-established regional workforce funder collaboratives that are not already receiving funding through the SIF.
Among other criteria described in the RFP, successful awardees will support sectoral industry partnerships that both address and mprove career advancement opportunities for lower-skilled individuals and address employer needs for a skilled workforce, as well as meet the National Fund 4:1 local match requirement.
The National Fund expects to select between three and five awardees through this RFP.
Proposals are due by December 13, 2013.
Formation of Clean Energy Credentialing Coalition
A group of well-established, nationally accredited credentialing organizations has announced the formation of a Clean Energy Credentialing Coalition. They have joined together to demonstrate and promote the collective importance of third-party quality assessment, and the value it brings to building strong and competent renewable energy and energy efficiency markets.
The announcement was made at Solar Power International (SPI), the solar energy industry's most powerful, comprehensive educational conference and product exhibition, October 21-24 at McCormick Place in Chicago.
The coalition is creating a campaign to build awareness of the value of credentialing - particularly as a distinguishing tool for consumers, energy incentive programs, employers and industry. A quality credential is a mark of excellence that can boost consumer confidence in renewable energy and energy efficiency professionals, products and programs.
The goal of the campaign is to educate, enlighten and elevate interest in the benefits associated with clean energy credentialing - from consumers and educators, to manufacturers and government decision makers.
Coalition members include:
Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI) Solar Rating & Certification Corporation™ (SRCC) The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC)
Visit the Clean Energy Credential Coalition website at www.cleanenergycredentials.org
FDI and Job Creation: Joint Commerce and CEA Report Released at SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit
A new report from the U.S. Commerce Department and the President''s Council of Economic Advisors spotlights the array of factors that have made the U.S. the destination of choice for foreign direct investment (FDI). The joint report, released at the inaugural SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit, also documents the positive impact FDI is having on the U.S. economy, including job creation, higher research and development spending and export growth.
The U.S. is the largest recipient of FDI in the world, with stock of more than $2.6 trillion dollars–including $166 billion that flowed into the country in 2012. Moreover, companies around the world now consider the U.S. to be the nation with the top FDI prospects globally.
The United States has been the world’s largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) since 2006. Every day, foreign companies establish new operations in the United States or provide additional capital to established businesses. With the world’s largest consumer market, skilled and productive workers, a highly innovative environment, appropriate legal protections, a predictable regulatory environment, and a growing energy sector, the United States offers an attractive investment climate for firms across the globe.
Social Security Administration Seeks Public Comment on “Benefit Offset National Demonstration” – Research Focuses on Work Incentives, Employment and Other Outcomes
Please post the following item under TOPICS OF INTEREST on www.doleta.gov/usworkforce. Thanks! Social Security Administration Seeks Public Comment on “Benefit Offset National Demonstration” – Research Focuses on Work Incentives, Employment and Other Outcomes The Social Security Administration (SSA) is undertaking the Benefit Offset National Demonstration (BOND)--a demonstration and evaluation of policy changes and services on the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program--in an effort to produce strong evidence about the effectiveness of potential solutions that would improve the historically very low rate of return to work among SSDI beneficiaries.
Under current law, Social Security beneficiaries lose their SSDI benefit if they have earnings or work activity above the threshold of Substantial Gainful Activity. The benefit-offset component of this demonstration reduces benefits by $1 for each $2 in earnings above the BOND threshold, resulting in a gradual reduction in benefits as earnings increase. The experimental design for BOND tests a benefit offset alone and in conjunction with enhanced work incentives counseling. The central research questions include:
- What is the effect of the benefit offset alone on employment and other outcomes?
- What is the effect of the benefit offset in combination with enhanced work incentives counseling on employment and other outcomes?
The public survey data collections have four components--an impact study, a cost-benefit analysis, a participation analysis, and a process study. The data collections are a primary source for data to measure the effects of a more generous benefit offset and the provision of enhanced work incentives counseling on SSDI beneficiaries''' work efforts and earnings. Ultimately, these data will benefit researchers, policy analysts, policy makers and the United States Congress in a wide range of program areas. The effects of BOND on the well-being of SSDI beneficiaries could manifest themselves in many dimensions and could be relevant to an array of other public programs. This project offers the first opportunity to obtain reliable measures of these effects based upon a nationally representative sample. The long-term indirect benefits of this research are therefore likely to be substantial. Respondents are SSDI beneficiaries and concurrent SSDI beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income recipients who we randomly assign to the study (Stage 1), and SSDI beneficiaries who agree to participate in the study (Stage 2).
The November 1, 2013 FEDERAL REGISTER provides full background and instructions for the submission of comments.
IMLS Announces Grant Opportunity for “National Leadership Grants for Libraries”; Cites STEM Acquisition for At-Risk Youth as an Emphasis
The Employment and Training Administration’s partner, Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has announced a grant opportunity on www.grants.gov under its “National Leadership Grants for Libraries” Program.
Among the priorities and emphases in this year’s funding cycle, note that IMLS invites libraries to address STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in their programs and projects in order to advance learning and support the acquisition of STEM knowledge at all ages, but particularly for at-risk youth. Click here to learn more about IMLS’s role in STEM initiatives.
IMLS will offer two webinars for prospective applicants to learn more about the National Leadership Grants for Libraries program, ask questions of IMLS staff members, and listen to the questions and comments of other participants.
The schedule for the FY14 National Leadership Grants for Libraries webinars is as follows: