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SGA/DFA 99-016

Billing Code 4510-30

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Employment and Training Administration

AGENCIES: Employment and Training Administration, Department of Labor

ACTION:
Notice inviting proposals to develop, identify and disseminate replicable models of labor participation in the development and implementation of School-to-Work (STW) systems in sectors of the economy that represent high skill, high wage employment opportunities. The Departments are seeking innovative approaches to utilizing the workplace for all learners. These awards will provide support to labor organizations with national memberships to undertake outreach, technical assistance and other activities to increase the number of work-based learning opportunities for students.

THIS NOTICE CONTAINS ALL OF THE NECESSARY INFORMATION AND FORMS NEEDED TO APPLY FOR GRANT FUNDING.

SUMMARY: The Departments of Labor and Education jointly invite proposals for approximately 2-3 new awards in PY 1998 as authorized under section 403 of the School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994 (the Act). These awards will provide support to national labor unions to undertake outreach and technical assistance to their memberships. These activities are intended to engage and build the capacity of their affiliates and private sector partners to participate in activities that will result in an increase in the number of work based learning opportunities for students. As a result of the products developed and activities and systems implemented, awardees will be required to provide clear, quantifiable evidence of increased numbers of regional and local unions engaged in STW activities, with supporting documentation that clearly illustrates an increase in the number of students engaged in work-based learning activities.

DATES: Applications for grant awards will be accepted commencing (the date of publication).

The closing date for receipt of applications is (60 days from date of publication) at 4 P.M. (eastern time) at the address below. Telefacsimile (FAX) applications will not be honored.

ADDRESSES: Applications shall be mailed to: U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Division of Federal Assistance, Attention: Ms. Denise Roach, Reference: SGA/DFA 99-016, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Room S-4203, Washington, D.C., 20210.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions should be faxed to Denise Roach,

Grants Management Specialist, Division of Federal Assistance, fax: (202) 219-8739 (this is not a toll free number). All inquiries should include the SGA number (DFA 99-016) 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://www.doleta.gov. Award notifications will also be published on this Homepage.

LABOR PARTICIPATION IN SCHOOL-TO-WORK SYSTEM BUILDING

I. Purpose. Data and preliminary evidence suggest that strategic investments directed at national organizations to develop and disseminate information and provide technical assistance to their membership nationwide is necessary if the entire STW system is to be brought to scale and confidently sustained. Therefore, this solicitation is inviting labor unions in collaboration with business, trade associations, education and labor partners to identify STW practices within their organizations, to expand upon those practices through technical assistance and disseminate that information throughout their network. It is further expected that these practices will be replicable by their affiliated local organizations and information will be disseminated beyond their organization to the greater labor community and STW grantees.

II. Background. The School-to-Work Opportunities Act was signed into law by President Clinton on May 4, 1994. Jointly administered by the Departments of Labor and Education, this Act seeks to better prepare all American youth for careers in high skill, high wage jobs and to strengthen the linkages between school and work. Under the Act, venture capital funds are provided to States and local communities to develop a STW system for transitioning youth from school to college and careers. STW grants are for a limited duration with the Federal investment declining over time. These investments are intended to support the one-time costs of States and local communities to enhance learning experiences for all students. All fifty States including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia have received implementation awards. The Act also provides a set-aside of funds for national activities to support School-to-Work system building, outreach and research and evaluation efforts. Section 403 of the Act, relating to training and technical assistance, specifically directs the Secretaries to assist STW partnerships "...to increase their capacity to develop and implement effective school-to-work opportunities programs."

III. Statement of Work. Labor Participation in STW Systems. The School-to-Work Opportunities Act stipulates the importance of participation by key stakeholders at state and local levels, including labor. Labor unions can play a pivotal role in accessing the workplace as a learning environment for students. They have long standing relationships with employers through collective bargaining agreements in communities across the country. Many unions have played major roles in the development of training for their membership through joint labor-management funds. Many are working in collaboration with industry groups in developing voluntary skill standards appropriate to their respective industry.

Prior to this year, the two Departments through the National School-to-Work Office, have made a number of investments to support labor's involvement in aspects of emerging STW systems. A major investment included the National School-to-Work's support of efforts developed by the Human Resource Development Institute (HRDI), recently renamed the Working for America Institute (WAI). WAI developed and disseminated information about STW and labor's role in the development and implementation of STW. It has highlighted labor's STW activities and has helped to recruit labor representatives on State and local partnerships.

In addition, the National School-to-Work Office has worked with members of the building and construction trades, the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training at the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Association of State and Territorial Apprenticeship Directors to develop and expand upon linkages to registered apprenticeship programs. Many local unions in collaboration with local educational systems are introducing students to the trades in a variety of ways prior to high school graduation.

However, it is evident that in order for STW to be sustained, a broad range of work-based learning opportunities has to be created. National approaches must be developed that will assist and promote STW activities in communities across the country. During FY 1997, the Departments made awards to four entities representing the following industry and trade areas; manufacturing, retail, information technology and utilities. These competitive awards provide support to industry groups and trade associations to undertake outreach, technical assistance and other activities to engage and to build the capacity of employers to participate in STW systems. These investments are underway and appear to represent a promising strategy for increasing employer involvement in STW. For example, the Utility Business Education Coalition, Inc. (UBEC), representing the utility industry, has allocated much of its funding for technical assistance to be provided to 50 communities in 28 states to support local school-to-work systems and workforce development initiatives. UBEC is supporting local and regional efforts to raise academic achievement while integrating academic, technical and employability skills into curriculum for all students. Whereas, the National Retail Institute, the world's largest retail trade association has begun to replicate its Youth Opportunities in Retail program model in 4 states. The manufacturing project led by the National Association for Manufacturers are in the process of infusing industry skill standards into the manufacturing curriculum at 12 high schools. Finally, the Information Technology Association of America has selected 30 national sites as Centers of Excellence. These sites represent a broad range of education partnerships that will identify and strengthen innovative approaches to increase work-based learning opportunities for students nationally.

The Departments are expecting to make similar industry specific awards in PY 98 and are particularly interested in applications that focus on high growth, high wage industries in communications, transportation, business/finance, and health services.

As a result of these current and future investments, including a more targeted approach to utilizing labor organizations, the Departments expect to significantly increase the number of workplaces offering STW activities and more specifically work-based learning opportunities for all learners. These strategic investments are necessary if the entire STW system is to be brought to scale and sustained.

Required Areas of Effort. The successful applicants will assume the lead responsibility to coordinate and provide technical support to build the capacity of their organization to engage in STW activities. Information regarding the following activities must be described in detail:

    1. A description of at least 15 ongoing STW activities in a minimum of 5 regional or local unions affiliated with the applicant. These examples must be collaborative and include the education and business communities. They must encompass a broad continuum of STW activities that include mentoring, work-based learning, high academic standards and curriculum collaboration in high wage, high skill occupations. Applicants should describe how they will organize the task of identifying and selecting effective STW activities, how effectiveness will be assessed and how the critical common features of each will be identified to inform the development of a replicable framework. In addition, the applicant should describe how the information would be presented and disseminated to its membership and STW grantees.

    2. Develop a model framework for STW activities in a local union. Based on identified STW practices from a sample of local unions described above, the Departments are interested in the development of a replicable framework that can be disseminated to the applicant's local affiliates. At minimum, the framework should include a description of STW activities, how these activities were developed and implemented and the key stakeholders necessary for development and sustainability of the effort. Collaboration with existing STW local partnerships, workforce development councils or private industry councils should be included in the framework. In addition, the Departments are looking for how these STW activities fit in to a seamless system of education for learners. Post secondary education must be included in the design framework. Effectiveness of the activities presented and how the needs of diverse student populations are addressed are critical to the application.

    3. A strategic plan of how information will be disseminated to the applicant's membership, and the greater labor community. Include what formats will be utilized to distribute the design framework and STW activities collected under #1. The successful applicant will also be expected to actively disseminate the design framework including targeted training sessions, electronic media, publications, conferences, workshops, and other related means. In addition, the applicant should describe the target audience and describe the products to be developed.

    4. A description of high skill, high wage opportunities available for learners that includes options for education beyond secondary school. The successful applicant will provide detailed information concerning opportunities within their respective industries, including present trends and future forecasts and the salary range expected for occupations affected. In addition, the applicant shall describe the range of work based learning opportunities available to students. Include information concerning post secondary options for learners and examples of successful articulation agreements with post secondary institutions. This information should be designed for distribution to students.

IV. Application Process.

    Eligible Applicants. National labor organizations representing employees in high skill, high wage occupations that have the experience and the capacity to build STW systems nationally. These applicants must demonstrate the ability to enlist the support and active participation of employers and/or trade associations related to the industry sector. In addition, key STW stakeholders, such as representatives from the education and labor communities, community-based organizations, parents and other related organizations must be included. Potential applicants however, should note the Departments' priority in seeking a labor organization or consortium with a thorough knowledge of STW and experience working with key STW stakeholders. In preparing the proposal, please use the following headings and respond to the information in each of the following categories.

    1. Project Description. Summarize the scope of the project, outline how its activities will relate to the four required areas of activity as described in the previous section, and provide succinct and measurable project objectives.

    2. Operational Plan. Provide a detailed work plan that includes a description of proposed activities matched to the objectives presented in the Project Description, with accompanying time lines and individuals responsible. Provide an organizational structure and clear management plan detailing the staff and organizational resources devoted to the project. The applicant should clearly and in detail show how the proposed work will address each of the activities that are described in the section entitled Required Areas of Effort. The time lines should indicate what activities and related results are anticipated for the 12-month funding period.

    3. Results. The applicant should provide specific and quantifiable outcomes that are anticipated from the proposed plan of activities. In identifying outcomes, the offeror should also explain how it will collect data, document results and use these results to inform its ongoing work plan.

    4. Capability. The applicant should demonstrate the capability of the organization or consortium and the key staff assigned to undertake the work plan, including examples of prior efforts that demonstrate accomplishment in developing, implementing, managing and evaluating STW related activities. The offeror should also show knowledge and experience in working with trade associations, employers or employer associations.

V. Application Submittal. Applicants must submit four (4) copies of their proposal, with original signatures. The applications shall be divided into two distinct parts: Part I-which contains Standard Form (SF) 424, Application for Federal Assistance," (Appendix A) and "Budget Information Sheet," (Appendix B). 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 shall not be eligible for the receipt of federal funds constituting an award, grant, or loan. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number is 17.249. In addition, the budget shall include - on a separate page(s) - a detailed cost breakout of each line item on the Budget Information Sheet. Part II shall contain the program narrative that demonstrates the applicant's plan and capabilities in accordance with the evaluation criteria contained in this notice. Applicants MUST limit the program narrative section to no more than 30 double-spaced pages, on one side only. This includes any attachments. Applications that fail to meet the page limitation requirement will not be considered.

VI. Late Applications. Any application received after the exact date and time specified for receipt at the office designated in this notice will not be considered, unless it is received before awards are made and it - (a) was sent by registered or certified mail not later than the fifth calendar day before the date specified for receipt of applications (e.g., an application submitted in response to a solicitation requiring receipt of applications by the 20th of the month must have been mailed/postmarked by the 15th of that month); or (b) was sent by the U.S. Postal Service Express Mail Next Day Service to addresses not later than 5:00 P.M. at the place of mailing two working days prior to the date specified for receipt of applications. The term "working days" excludes weekends and federal holidays. The term "postmarked" means 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 an employee of the U.S. Postal Service.

VII. Hand Delivered Proposals. It is preferred that applications be mailed at least five days prior to the closing date. To be considered for funding, hand-delivered applications must be received by 4:00 P.M. (Eastern Time), on the closing date at the specified address. TELEGRAPHED AND/FAXED APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE HONORED. Failure to adhere to the above instructions will be a basis for a determination of nonresponsiveness. Overnight express mail from carriers other than the U.S. Postal Service will be considered hand delivered applications and MUST BE RECEIVED by the above specified date and time.

VIII. Funding Availability and Period of Performance. The Departments expect to make 2 to 3 awards with a total investment of approximately $900,000. The period of performance will be for 12 months from the date the grant is awarded. The Departments may at their option, provide additional funding for another 12 months depending upon fund availability and performance of the offeror.

Estimated Range of Awards. The Departments expect the total award amounts to range from approximately $250,000 to $450,000, for the total 12-month period.

IX. Review Process. A careful evaluation of applications will be made by a technical review panel who will evaluate the applications against the criteria listed below. 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 offeror. In situations without discussions, an award will be based on the offeror's signature on the (SF) 424, which constitutes a binding offer. Awards will be those in the best interest of the Government.

The criteria used to rate all proposals submitted are:

1. The extent to which the applicant outlines a clear and detailed plan of operation (40 points)

    Is the plan specific as to the activities proposed and how these activities will result in the identification of STW practices and the creation of a replicable design framework in local and regional union affiliates that represent workers in high skill, high wage occupations?

    Do the activities directly relate to the 4 areas of required effort? How will the proposed activities lead to sustainability of the federal investment to engage employers and unions in STW systems?

    Does the applicant describe strategies to provide opportunities for all students, including learners with disabilities?

    Does the applicant provide a detailed work plan including goals, objectives, timelines, person responsible and expected outcomes or products?

    Does the plan have clear numerical goals for increasing the number of local unions who will begin to be engaged in STW and for increasing the number of work-based learning positions for students?

2. The extent to which the applicant demonstrates the capability and capacity to meet the requirements of the solicitation (30 points)

    Does the applicant represent membership in high growth sectors of the economy? Does the industry sector represented by the applicant offer paid work-based learning opportunities for STW learners? Does the industry sector represented by the applicant offer high skill, high wage career opportunities for STW learners?

    Does the organization provide examples and documentation of prior related accomplishments in developing and implementing training initiatives for its membership?

    Does the applicant demonstrate the capacity to perform the range of required activities on a national scale including a comprehensive dissemination strategy that reaches the applicant's membership, key partners and the greater labor community?

3. The extent to which the applicant demonstrates the willingness and ability to engage and convene other organizations that are critical to the success of creating workbased learning opportunities for STW learners. (30 points)

    Does the applicant demonstrate a history of working with employers on workforce development and training programs for its membership?

    Does the applicant propose specific activities that are likely to result in strategic alliances with trade associations, education entities, employers and employer associations representing the specified industry?

    Does the applicant demonstrate a history of collaborating with a variety of partners at the national, state and community levels?

    Does the applicant present a strategy for informing STW grantees of its' activities and findings?

The grants will be awarded based on applicant response to the above mentioned criteria and that which is otherwise advantageous to the Departments.

X. Reporting Requirements. The Departments are interested in insuring that grantees share lessons learned and products developed. To facilitate exchange of information, the Departments may occasionally convene grantees for meetings of approximately one-day duration. Grantees will also be asked to submit periodic progress reports in a format to be determined and on a quarterly-basis. After awards are made, identification of STW activities and the design framework are to be submitted to the National School-to-Work Office for approval before commencing activities related to this proposal. Conference plans and all products including publications shall be submitted for review to the National School-to-Work Office to ensure alignment and collaboration with ongoing national activities.

Signed in Washington, D.C., this ___________________ day of June , 1999.

Laura Cesario
Grant Officer

APPENDIX A: (SF)424 - Application Form
APPENDIX B: Budget Information Form