Administrative and Project Design Requirements
Grantee organizations, administrative entities, project operators, and service providers are subject to the WIA law, regulations, grant application instructions, the terms and conditions of the grant, and any subsequent modifications, and to all other applicable Federal laws (including provisions in Federal appropriations laws). Since eligible applicants are generally limited to States, Native American tribal entities, and local boards that are established through WIA, NEG grantees will be subject to all administrative system requirements that apply to the use of WIA formula funds for dislocated workers, except as otherwise provided in these instructions or a grant award document.
Cost limitations for administrative and related project management expenditures (e.g., monitoring, technical assistance) shall apply to all NEG grant awards. These limitations shall apply to actual expenditures at the end of the grant. In general, a limit of 10 percent of total costs excluding the costs of needs-related payments (and, as applicable, health insurance coverage payments) will apply to all NEG projects. The WIA definition of administrative costs shall be used in determining compliance with the cost limit on all NEG grants.
On projects where services are being provided through one or more local area project operators, the 10-percent cost limit will apply to project operator expenditures. In these projects the grantee may retain an additional amount to perform grant-level management and oversight functions. The amount to cover basic administrative functions such as record-keeping and reporting, procurement, audit, and general grant management activities should not exceed 1.5 percent of the total funding provided to project operators, excluding the costs of needs-related payments. This will not apply to the temporary employment component of Disaster projects.
Any costs associated with administering a system of needs-related or health insurance coverage payments must be separated identified in the application budget and justified in the narrative.
If an indirect cost rate is applied in calculating some of the costs at the grantee level, the applicant must include information from the most recent approval document that identifies the approved indirect cost rate and base, the cognizant approval agency, and the date of the approval. Indirect costs cited in the application should only be those that apply to the grantee. The grantee will be responsible for verifying the appropriate documentation to support any indirect rates that are applied in calculating costs at the project operator level. Indirect costs are a subset of total project costs; they may include administrative and program costs. Cost limitations apply to total project costs and are not applied separately to direct and indirect costs.
For Regular and Dual Enrollment projects, all NEG applications are expected to be the result of an early intervention process that has been activated through the state's Rapid Response system.
Pre-award costs will only be approved for appropriate expenses incurred from the date on which planned participants became eligible for services, and in no case will be approved for costs incurred before the date that is 120 calendar days prior to the date of receipt of the application by U.S. DOL/ETA. Appropriate expenses for pre-award costs will be limited to the costs of direct costs for participants (core and intensive services, training and supportive services). Pre-award costs will not be approved for administrative or needs-related payment costs. Pre-award costs will not apply to Disaster or Trade Health Insurance Coverage projects.
For Regular projects, ETA expects that applications for NEG funding will be submitted within 120 calendar days (preferably sooner) of the date on which the target group of workers included in the application become eligible for assistance, or the dislocation event(s). In general, the initiation of early intervention activities will be a pre-condition for the award of NEG funds for Regular and Dual Enrollment projects. At a minimum, these activities should include contact with the affected workers and collection of information on the assistance needs of the workers.
If early intervention through Rapid Response has not been feasible, the applicant must document the circumstances that prevented initiation of early intervention in the application. [NOTE: Applicants will be expected to actively pursue alternative methods of contact with workers and initiation of services in those cases where employer support and cooperation is limited or lacking.]
Applications for Disaster projects should be submitted within 30 calendar days of the occurrence of the disaster event. As discussed in Part VI of these guidelines, emergency applications (whether for a Regular or Disaster project) should be submitted within 15 calendar days of the FEMA declaration for public assistance eligibility.
NEG funds may be used to provide services of the type described in Sections 134(d)(2), (3), (4) and (e)(2) and (3) of WIA, and pursuant to 20 CFR 671. Funds may not be used to pay for any costs of Core Services, as described in 134(d)(2), which have already been budgeted under available formula funds.
For Disaster projects, NEG funds may also be used for temporary disaster employment not to exceed 6 months (or 1,040 hours) for any single event; to help provide food, clothing, shelter, and related humanitarian services; and to perform demolition, cleaning, repair, renovation and reconstruction of damaged and destroyed public structures, facilities, and lands, located within the designated disaster area, as defined in the grant award document. A component may also be designed for employment-related assistance for participants who require help in returning to the workforce after completion of temporary employment.
For Trade Health Insurance Coverage Assistance projects, funds may be used for trade health insurance infrastructure and to pay health insurance premiums for certain trade-certified dislocated workers enrolled in a qualified health care plan as provided for in WIA Sections 173 (f) and (g). Additional guidance on the use of funds for these activities have been provided.
- Regular Projects
Policies regarding receipt of supportive services and needs-related payments will generally be consistent with the established policies and procedures of the local board(s) in the area in which the project is to operate as required in 20 CFR 671.140(c). ETA expects that such policies and procedures are flexible enough to respond to the needs of any eligible dislocated worker, including those who are eligible for assistance through NEG funding. For projects serving the same target population in more than two local areas, a policy may be developed based upon the combined policies of affected local areas as agreed to for an NEG project to ensure equitable services for a project's target population.
Where variations in program (core, intensive and/or training) policies (e.g., training caps, duration of training, self-sufficiency requirements) may be appropriate to respond to the needs of special populations (e.g., limited English speaking) who comprise the target group, these will have to be identified, explained and justified in the application narrative.
Projects that will operate on a consortium basis will be expected to establish a common set of service policies that will apply to the full project service area. Grantees and project operators will be expected to involve the applicable local board(s) of any approved variations in service policies that will apply to a NEG project.
- Disaster Projects
The initial purpose of Disaster projects is temporary job creation to provide clean-up, restoration, and humanitarian assistance to communities that have been affected by a disaster event. Temporary disaster jobs are limited to public and private non-profit agencies. An individual participant on a Disaster project may be employed for a maximum of six months, or 1,040 hours, whichever is longer. The maximum level of wages paid to a participant is generally limited to $12,000, excluding the cost of fringe benefits. Fringe benefits should be paid in accordance with the policies of the employer of record for temporarily employed workers. The wage cap does not assume that the individual is employed for the full 6 months, or 1,040 hours.
A higher hourly wage may be paid, as appropriate, for higher skilled positions as long as the wage limit is not exceeded on an individual participant basis. If a higher wage level limit for some participants is critical to the success of project clean-up efforts and cannot be accommodated within the above provision, the applicant may request a higher limit for the applicable positions from the Grant Officer.
- Dual Enrollment Projects
The primary purpose of Dual Enrollment projects is to provide funding for employment-related assistance for trade-certified dislocated workers. Such assistance may include career counseling, case management and supportive services not authorized under the Trade Act. Also, under certain circumstances, funding may be awarded to provide training, as specified in a grant award document. Trade-certified workers receiving assistance under a NEG must be dual enrolled in both the trade program and WIA, in accordance with the requirements of both programs.
For Regular and Dual Enrollment projects, and the workforce investment employment-related component of Disaster projects, the planned per participant cost will be expected to be within a reasonable range of the actual end-of-year average cost per participant for formula-funded dislocated worker activities in the planned service area during the most recent completed Program Year, or the State average if the project is designed to cover multiple local areas. The actual formula program cost per participant should equal the total expenditures during the Program Year divided by the total number of registrants reported for the PY. This actual cost per participant level must be entered on the Project Synopsis form in the application. ETA will provide a benchmark level for "reasonable range" through separate policy guidance.
As discretionary grant awards by the Secretary, NEG projects must be designed to achieve performance outcomes that support the performance goal commitments by the Secretary under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). ETA will provide target performance levels for NEG projects through separate policy guidance. Beginning July 1, 2004, NEG projects will be subject to the common measures for employment and training programs. Participants in temporary disaster jobs are expected to receive necessary assistance to return to the workforce.
For Regular and Dual Enrollment projects, and the workforce investment employment-related services component of Disaster projects, applicants must demonstrate that they are maintaining an adequate rate of expenditure of funds provided to the state through formula allotments. This will include all dislocated worker program formula allotment funds, including those reserved by the state for Rapid Response and statewide activities. [NOTE: ETA has provided flexibility to States in transitioning funds between the dislocated worker program and the adult program under WIA. It is assumed that States and local boards applying for NEG funds will have utilized transfer authority appropriately.] The rate of expenditure standard will be communicated by ETA through separate policy guidance. This requirement will not apply to the temporary disaster employment component of a Disaster project or to a Trade Health Insurance Coverage Assistance project.
ETA expects that NEG-funded projects will be organized to provide the most responsive services from the perspective of the customer (i.e., the dislocated worker). There may be instances in which a project will operate in multiple local workforce areas covering the same company dislocation. The projects should be designed and managed to operate under a consistent set of service policies and procedures that are agreed to by all of the local boards involved.
On projects with multiple local project operators, ETA will award the grant to the state or to one of the local boards that has been designated as grant recipient through an agreement executed by all of the local boards involved.
Where a project will operate in more than one local area, the grantee will have the authority to modify project operator agreements and move funds among designated project operators consistent with where eligible workers are seeking services. Where this action changes the scope of responsibility for individual project operators, the grantee should submit a revised Project Operator Data Form to the U.S. DOL/ETA.
National Emergency Grants are subject to the provisions of the "Jobs for Veterans Act," P.L. 107-288, which provides priority of service to veterans and certain of their spouses in all DOL-funded job training programs. To obtain priority of service, a veteran must meet the program's eligibility requirements, and for NEG projects must be a dislocated worker from the approved target population of a grant. Since NEG applications should be developed to assist all eligible individuals who are in need of assistance from the target population, this provision should not significantly change the planning and operation of NEG projects.