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Solicitation for Migrant Child Labor Demonstration Grants (SGA/DFA 00-100)

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING ADMINISTRATION

Solicitation for Migrant Child Labor Demonstration Grants

AGENCY: Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor.

ACTION: Notice of Solicitation for Grant Applications (SGA) for piloting innovative ways to discourage child labor in the agricultural industry.

SUMMARY: THIS NOTICE CONTAINS ALL OF THE NECESSARY INFORMATION AND FORMS NEEDED TO APPLY FOR GRANT FUNDING. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Employment and Training Administration (ETA) announces a Solicitation for Grant Applications (SGA) to develop and pilot three to four demonstrations nationally that offer improved educational and alternative work experience opportunities for migrant farmworker youth. These demonstrations are designed to reduce incentives for migrant farmworker youth to perform agricultural work under any one or combination of the following conditions:

  • in situations that may lead to child labor violations of agriculture workplace rules such as those of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), or
  • during the scheduled school session, or in lieu of summer school attendance needed to complete a grade advancement.

DATES: Applications for grant awards will be accepted commencing [ Insert date of publication in the FEDERAL REGISTER]. The closing date for receipt of applications shall be [ insert 75 days after date of publication in the FEDERAL REGISTER] by 4 p.m. eastern standard time. No exceptions to the mailing and hand-delivery conditions will be granted. Applications that do not meet the conditions set forth in this notice will not be considered. Telefacsimile (FAX) applications will not be honored.

ADDRESSES: Applications shall be mailed or hand-delivered to: U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Division of Federal Assistance, Attention: Ann Newman, Reference: SGA/DFA -100; 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.,

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Fax questions to Ann Newman, Division of Federal Assistance at (202) 219-8739. This is not a toll-free number. All inquiries sent via fax should include the SGA number (DFA - 100) and a contact name, fax and phone number. This solicitation will also be published on the Internet on the Employment and Training Administration's Home Page at http://doleta.gov. Award notifications will also be published on this Homepage.

1. Hand-Delivered Proposals

Applications should be mailed no later than five (5) days prior to the closing date for the receipt of applications. However if applications are hand-delivered, they must be received at the designated place by 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time on [Insert date -- 75 days after date of publication in the FEDERAL REGISTER.] the closing date for receipt of applications. All overnight mail will be considered to be hand-delivered and must be received at the designated place by the specified time and closing date. Telegraphed and/or faxed proposals will not be honored. Applications that fail to adhere to the above instructions will not be honored.

2. Late Proposals

A proposal received at the designated office after the exact time specified for receipt will not be considered unless it is received before award is made and it:

(1) Was sent by registered or certified mail not later than the fifth calendar day before the date specified for receipt of applications (e.g., a proposal submitted in response to a solicitation requiring receipt of applications by the 20th of the month must be mailed by the 15th);

(2) Was sent to the U.S. Postal Service Express Mail Next Day Service, Post Office to addressee, not later than 4 p.m. at the place of mailing two working days prior to the date specified for proposals. The term "working days" excludes weekends and U.S. Federal holidays. The only acceptable evidence that an application was sent in accordance with these requirements is a printed, stamped, or otherwise placed impression (exclusive of a postage meter machine impression) that is readily identifiable without further action as having been supplied or affixed on the date of mailing by employees of the U.S. Postal Service.

3. Withdrawal of Applications

Applications may be withdrawn by written notice or telegram (including mailgram) received at any time before award. Applications may be withdrawn in person by the applicant or by an authorized representative thereof, if the representative's identity is made known and the representative signs a receipt for the proposal.

4. Funding Availability and Period of Performance

The Department of Labor expects to make approximately 3-4 awards, with a total investment of approximately $5,000,000. The period of performance will be for 12 months from the date the grant is awarded. At the Government's discretion and based upon availability of funding, it is possible that the project may be extended for up two option years of funding.

5. Submission of Proposals

In accordance with the requirements above, applicants must also submit four (4) copies of their proposal, with original signatures. The proposal must have the following information:

(1) The proposal shall contain the Standard Form (SF) 424, "Application for Federal Assistance" (Appendix A). All copies of the (SF) 424 MUST have original signatures of the legal entity applying for grant funding. Applicants shall indicate on the (SF) 424 the organization's IRS status, if applicable. According to the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, Section 18, an organization described in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 which engages in lobbying activities is not eligible for the receipt of federal funds constituting an award, grant, or loan. The grant proposal text is limited to 30 double-spaced, single-side, numbered 8½" x 11" pages, in 12-point type and having margins measuring at least one inch (Page numbers may be placed within the margin space.) This includes attachments. Applications that do not meet these requirements will not be considered.

(3) A certification prepared within the last six months, attesting to the adequacy of the entity's fiscal management and accounting systems to account for and safeguard Federal funds properly. The Certification should be obtained as follows:

(a) for incorporated organizations, a certification from a Certified Public Accountant; or

(b) for a public agency, a certification by its Chief Fiscal Officer;

(4) A statement indicating the entity's legally constituted authority under which the organization functions. A nonprofit organization should submit a copy of its Charter or Articles of Incorporation, including proof of the organization's nonprofit status;

(5) The applicant's employer identification number (EIN) issued by the Internal Revenue Service;

(6) Applications from a Consortium of organizations must include a copy of the Consortium agreement and must identify the consortium which will act as the administrative entity for the project. The agreement must include stated arrangements for administrative and financial responsibility that are acceptable to the Grant Officer.

(7) Budget Information Sheet (Appendix "B") with a narrative description of each line item.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

BACKGROUND: LIFESTYLE THAT LIMITS OCCUPATIONAL HORIZONS AND DISRUPTS EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT-- It is generally accepted that agricultural employment earns its workers the lowest wages among the major low-skilled occupations. While it does provide this labor group with seasonal employment, farmwork has the deleterious characteristic of preserving the working family in a working poverty status and tends to establish a pattern of farmwork to the exclusion of most other possibilities. The desire or initiative to learn other trades or job skills is easily defeated by the compelling need to generate family income by farmwork. Agricultural practices often subject workers to working conditions involving exposure to agricultural pesticides and fertilizers. The health hazards associated with exposure to these compounds may not be comprehended fully by most youth. Young people are generally less prepared intellectually and emotionally to accept warnings about long-term health risks associated with external exposures to commonly used agricultural chemicals. Consequently, they are prone to view precautionary instructions as an inconvenience and to be trusting and unquestioning of the authority of growers and bosses who may direct them to prematurely enter a field following a recent pesticide application. The continuing demographics shift of farmworkers to a population that has become increasingly foreign born and Hispanic over the past two decades, increases the risks associated with agricultural pesticide use for the farmworker families working in the United States. Why, language barriers?

Consequently, migrant farmworker children of all ages, perform farm labor work which exposes them to harsh and dangerous working conditions which may breach the spirit, if not violate the letter, of child labor laws and EPA/OSHA standards.

Part I. Authority

Introduction

The Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act for the 1999 fiscal year appropriated $5 million for demonstration programs to develop alternatives to agricultural labor for migrant farmworker youth. The Department seeks the development, piloting and evaluation of three to four demonstrations nationally for reducing child labor in migrant agricultural streams through the cooperative participation of state and local organizations.

When traveling with their families in the migration stream, migrant farmworker youth often assist the adult members of their family and when they reach legal working age they actively participate by working side-by-side with adults. The experiences growing up in a migrant farmworker family provide little exposure to alternative opportunities that may expand the young person's outlook for the possibility of a different life and improved standard of living. As a result, they may not learn as early as their peers about the range of occupational options available to them and they may fail to develop an appreciation of their potential for capitalizing on the connection that exists between good jobs and educational achievement. Migrant farmworker youth also perform farmwork during scheduled school sessions or in lieu of summer school attendance that is needed for completing a grade advancement. This practice establishes a pattern of reduced primary school participation that leads to reduced high school completion for the children of farmworkers. The Department seeks to support the development of innovative approaches for reversing the movement from the classrooms to the fields without harming the family income.

The Department will consider demonstrations utilizing a comprehensive approach that addresses all of the following conditions faced by farmworker youth who are members of a migrant farmworker family dependent on farmwork for a majority of its income:

  • the incidence of agricultural labor performed by secondary school age workers, age 12-17
  • the low levels of secondary school attendance
  • the low levels of secondary educational achievement
  • agricultural work that may be illegal or detrimental to educational achievement
  • the need for sustaining family income requirements

Demonstration proposals must describe how the pilot project is anticipated to make a substantial reduction to the level of farmwork performed by the migrant youth served.

Project approaches may include: parental participation, child care, continued classroom participation during either or both the regular school year and summer school, to facilitate completion of academic courses required for grade promotion, non-agricultural work experience or other approaches for reducing the incidence of farmwork by migrant youth.

A. ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS:

Current recipient of JTPA Section 402 or WIA 167 funds; public, private, or non-profit organization may apply for these grants either individually or as a consortium of eligible applicants. Each proposal must contain provision for participation by appropriate education agencies.

B. GOVERNMENT'S REQUIREMENTS --

ETA seeks to test the efficacy of usingCase Management in an interdisciplinary environment that provides working-age migrant children alternative work and educational opportunities while working in the migrant stream and without detriment to the income expectations of their family. The pilots will test the use of Case Management to sustain a comprehensive approach to serving 12 to 17 year-old migrant youth that includes all of the following components:

  • Case Managers working with youth and their families,
  • arrangements appropriate for ensuring uninterrupted educational participationthat include provision for tutorial assistance,
  • alternative employment in community service work experience,
  • provision for child care,
  • communications support between case managers, the farmworker youth, and other personnel as appropriate to the proposed design,
  • coordination with appropriate educational institutions, and
  • establishment of arrangements with the appropriate agencies throughout the migrant stream for developing a dependable network ofsupportive services available to the project for use by the Case Managers.

ADDRESSING REMOTE CONTACT ISSUES:

To support continued participation and enrollment in education and work experience or combined education and work experience activities, the design must contain specific mechanisms for maintaining participant access to the Case Manager. This must be achieved through personal contact. Personal contact may be accomplished by establishing a network of qualified representatives made available to the Case Managers by appropriate partnering organizations such as farmworker grantee organizations. To supplement the system of personal contacts, applicants may propose use of other remote means such as computerized communication technologies which may be adapted to support such aspects of the proposed design as Case Management communications and tracking, the educational component and the transfer of information on participants' status.

THE ALTERNATIVE EMPLOYMENT COMPONENT:

With respect to the alternative employment component, the arrangements must support work alternatives for the participants during periods when they would normally be engaged in agriculture. Such work experience arrangements will help provide an income through the controlled environment of a structured work experience program. The design should promote exposure to a sample of the career alternatives potentially available. Applicants may propose other, less conventional activities that may be complementary to the formal educational process.

THE EDUCATIONAL COMPONENT:

With respect to the educational component, the design must be one that supports sustained educational participation leading to completion of a specific scheduled secondary education requirement. This must be addressed by the cooperative participation of the family's home-base local school system, a State level secondary entity, or a charter school or other nonsectarian institution credentialed as a secondary education institution.

TARGET POPULATION:

Youth, age 12 to 17 who are established working members of migrant farmworker families and who accompany their families on the migration. (Family members are those persons living together who are related by marriage, blood or adoption.)

FUNDING CONTEXT:

Section 167 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. The Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers (MSFWs) program provides services to meet the employment and training MSFWs through such public and private nonprofit organizations determined by the Secretary to have an understanding of the problems of MSFWs. This familiarity may be variously demonstrated by an organization's familiarity with the area to be served, its demonstrated understanding of the problems of eligible MSFWs, and its demonstrated capability to administer effectively a diversified employability development program for MSFWs.

CONSORTIUM ARRANGEMENTS:

Consortium of cooperating eligible applicants may apply. An acceptable consortium arrangement is one made of two or more signatoryeligible applicants, supported by a Consortium Working Agreement between all the cooperating parties under the proposed design. The agreement must designate one of the consortium's members as the responsible administrative agency under the grant.

SPECIFIC MIGRANT YOUTH PROBLEMS:

Demonstrations must be developed to address problems faced by farmworker youth, age 12-17, who are members of migrant families and who face limited opportunities due to conditions that may be attributed to the family's dependence on employment in farmwork, and especially due to the family's migrations during the agricultural season. Examples of such problems experienced by farmworker youth are:

  • a record of substandard or declining school attendance
  • being required to repeat at least a year at grade 5 or higher
  • having a work history exclusively consisting of farmwork performed in the company of their families
  • having a family which does not speak English at home
  • possessing other documented conditions proposed by the applicant.

PROJECTED BENEFITS OF THIS MIGRANT CHILD LABOR INITIATIVE:

It is anticipated that program participation will result in improved outcomes for youth participants and their families in (e.g., youth educational goals, school participation, promotion and dropout rates, family and participant employment and income, parental expectations for children, etc.).

Pilot outcome information will be used to identify further options to decrease child labor in agriculture and increase academic retention and achievements for migrant farmworker youth.

Part II. Grant Proposal

All grant proposals accepted for consideration must be prepared in accordance with the requirements set forth in Sections (1) to (3) below.

SECTION (1) -- PROPOSED PILOT DEMONSTRATION

A. Demographics of Selected Migrant Stream--

An understanding of the area economy and its influence on the problems and conditions faced by MSFWs working within that economy is important to formulating an effective service strategy. Identify and describe the geographic area (i.e. migrant stream) where the design is proposed to be tested. The description should include relevant factors about the agricultural community, crops and migrant farmworker demographics for the migrant stream. A complete statement would include a brief discussion of the problems of eligible migrant farmworker families working in the selected area that either contribute to intensive farmwork labor conditions, or interfere with secondary education achievement.

B. Problems faced by Migrant Youth Population of the Selected Migration Area--

Describe the conditions that are faced by MSFW youth over the course of a year in the specific geographic area proposed to be served. The discussion must show how the condition contributes to the pattern of low school attendance and success. Examples of specific conditions proposed to be addressed are:

  • Family group situations wherein farmworkers bring their children to assist them with their work at farm locations. This condition occurs more often at farms where pay is determined on a piece rate basis.
  • Seasonality of work and migration that disrupts education
  • Strenuousness of farmwork--stoop labor, long hours, low wages
  • Living conditions experienced in a migratory lifestyle--housing facilities, transportation, etc.
  • Problems unique to farmwork families working the selected migrant stream that adversely affect the educational achievement of their children and limit the youths' access to recreational activities and alternative forms of work opportunities (other than the manual farmwork that may defines their lifestyle) for their children in the 12 to 17 age range.

C. Design Proposed to be Piloted:

(1) Provide a brief, single paragraph summary of the proposed demonstration objective. Follow the summary with an explanatory statement on how the objective is proposed to be achieved. Include each of the following in the discussion as appropriate:

  • Problem(s) affecting migrant youth that the proposed design would address
  • Number of youth to be served by the project
  • Characteristics of those to be enrolled
  • Case Management techniques to be used
  • Work Experience Component
  • Education Component
  • Provisions and system for maintaining contact with participants during the family's migration and for maintaining connections with the home community.
  • Follow-up during the off-season
  • Provision for family involvement
  • Collaborations with appropriate organizations such as participating MSFW programs, school systems, One-Stop Centers, State Rural Development Councils, grower groups, etc.
  • Results to be achieved
  • Portability of records
  • Other areas appropriate to the proposed design

(2) Strategic Plan: Describe the proposed strategic plan by addressing all the following:

(a) Case Management Strategy-Describe the proposed case management system and techniques that are proposed to be employed. To be acceptable, the plan must include a strategy for maintaining communications during migrations. Identify the local resources-including those located in the migrant stream remote from the home-base for the operation--that will be developed for use by the Case Managers. Identify the responsible party and describe how the person will approach the development of the necessary arrangements with local representatives.

(b) Work Component-Describe the proposed work experience component in detail. Include a description of the proposed strategy for securing alternative work experience arrangements along the migration stream.

(c) Educational Component-Describe the proposed educational component in detail. Describe how you propose to maintain contact with participants during their migration. Include how you propose to arrange for continued support from the home based school. If your proposed strategy will rely on use of schools in other communities and states for classroom instruction leading to academic credit, describe how you will secure support from the other school systems. If you propose to test the use of virtual classroom technologies during the migration period, describe the level of personal contact you propose and explain how you will provide for it. Also, describe how the personal contact will ensure that the technology is accessed, understood and utilized by the participants.

(d) Combinations Of Work and Education--Where alternative work arrangements and educational arrangements are proposed in combination, describe the planned combination and identify the merits of the combination proposed for testing.

(e) Retention During Migration --Describe the arrangements proposed for retaining participation during the migration within the area proposed for the demonstration. (Build into the description, answers to such questions as, "What means will be employed to return participation and what persons and organizations will be responsible for doing what?")

(f) Provision For Adult Family Member Involvement -- Describe the proposed role of parental participation and how you will promote and support their involvement.

(3) The proposed design must have measurable results. Describe the goals of the project and how the impact of the design will be measured. For example, the following indices are offered for consideration:

  • reduced hours working in agriculture
  • development of educational goals by the participating youth
  • parental goals for their children that are outside agriculture
  • school participation and drop-out rates for participants
  • sustaining individual and family employment and income

Duration: Proposals must incorporate a strategy for demonstrating the complete execution of the proposed design during a single agricultural season.

Rating Basis -- For Section (1): 60 points based on:

(a) The relative merits of the conceptual design proposed and described in Part (C)(1) at incorporating broad geographic coverage, innovation and reliance on diverse and cooperating resources to work under a Case Management strategy towards achieving the goals proposed in (C)(3), (25 points);

(b) Provision inherent to the strategic design described in part (C)(2) for ensuring consistency and integrity with the conceptual design throughout the demonstration, (25 points); and

(c) How well the design relates to the problems faced by farmworker children age 12 to 17 that are described in part (B). (10 points)

SECTION (2) -- COMMITMENTS FROM OTHER PARTNERS INCLUDING STATE AND LOCAL EDUCATION AGENCIES

In this section, applicants must describe the commitments to this project from State Education agencies, local public schools in the home base of the students, local public schools in the migrant stream, social service agencies, grower representatives and other partners such as technology firms. In particular, ETA is looking for commitment of researchers, social services and other resources that are substantially above the current service level available to migrant youth. In addressing the criteria below, each applicant should demonstrate its potential to arrange for adequate coverage for the entire geographic area of the migrant stream. Evidence of provisional commitments will be accepted and may be included with the proposal. Where a consortium arrangement is proposed, the educational agency partner(s) must be included as member(s) of the agreement.

Each applicant must:

  • show how it has developed appropriate arrangements with associate organizations within the migrant stream that are critical to the success of the pilot,
  • show how educational agencies and agencies capable of providing work experience alternatives will participate in the demonstration
  • show how it will ensure cooperation with the local Migrant Education program (funded by the US Department of Education) and with the College Assistance Migrant Program.

Rating Basis for Section (2):

The rating will be based on the applicant's demonstration of its ability to develop effective working partnership agreements with representatives of the required community resources pertinent to the proposed pilot. Total weight for Section (2) is 20 points.

SECTION (3) -- ADMINISTRATION AND STAFF CAPACITY TO PERFORM PILOT

This section describes the applicant's capacity to operate the project including its organizational structure and staffing patterns.

The applicant must :

  • demonstrate its understanding of the problems of migrant farmworker families through its statement in section 1(A); and
  • demonstrate its knowledge of the migrant stream area proposed for the pilot demonstration through its statement in section 1(B).

Applicants must provide statements and information in this section to ensure the piloting of the proposed strategy will be effectively carried out. An applicant must:

(A) demonstrate its capacity to work effectively with the growers, the workforce investment agencies, the community organizations critical to the proposed design and the educational agencies needed;

(B) identify the management staff and their qualifications for conducting the pilot,

(C) provide the proposed standards for the maximum and average case-load levels and the minimum qualifications for those to be hired as Case Managers.

(D) when appropriate, demonstrate its knowledge of the regional practices of growers regarding:

(1) employment of adult farmworkers

(2) housing for farmworkers and farmworker families

(3) farmworker transportation, and

(4) employment of farmworker youth under age 18;

(E) describe administrative and program management processes which include the fiscal management systems and the program management systems needed to measure results; and

(F) for proposed consortium arrangements, provide the proposed Consortium agreement identifying the member of the consortium responsible for administering the demonstration, i.e., coordinating the overall responsibility for managing the pilot and accounting for the proper use of funds. The answers to items (B) and (E) must be specifically addressed to the consortium partner designated as the administering member. Consortium agreements must include all the critical members required for administering the strategic plan, such as MSFW grantees, state and local school systems, organizations representing growers, state rural development councils, etc.

Rating Basis for Section (3): The rating of section (3) will be based on the proposer's knowledge of farmworker issues and it organizational strength. The weight for section (3) is 20 points.

Part III. Proposal Review and Process

A careful evaluation of applications will be made by a technical review panel which will evaluate the applications against the criteria identified in Part II - Grant Proposal. The panel results are advisory in nature and not binding on the Grant Officer. The Government may elect to award the grant with or without discussions with the applicant. In situations without discussions, an award will be based on the applicant's signature on the (SF) 424, which constitutes a binding offer. The Grant Officer will make final award decisions based upon what is in the best interest of the Government. The Grant Officer may, at his/her discretion, request an applicant to submit additional or clarifying information when deemed necessary to make a selection.

Part IV. Reporting Requirements

Once grant awards are made, the following reports and documents will be required:

Quarterly Financial Reports. The awardee must submit to the Grant Officer's Technical Representative (GOTR) within the 30 days following each quarter, two copies of a quarterly Financial Status Report, Standard Form (SF) 269, until such time as all funds have been expended or the period of availability has expired.

Progress Reports. The awardee must submit quarterly reports to the GOTR with the 30 days following each quarter. Two copies are to be submitted; the report will provide a detailed account of activities undertaken during each quarter.

Final Report. A draft final report which summarizes project activities and results of the demonstration shall be submitted no later than 30 days prior to the expiration date of the grant.

Signed at Washington, D. C., this day of _________, 1999.

Janice E. Perry

Grant / Contracting Officer

Appendix A: (SF) 424-Application Form

Appendix B: Budget Information Form