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Opportunity Areas For Out-Of-School Youth Pilot Demonstration

Billing Code: 4510-30


Employment and Training Administration

Office of Policy and Research

Job Training Partnership Act, Title IV, Demonstration Program: Opportunity Areas For Out-Of-School Youth Pilot Demonstration

AGENCY: Employment and Training Administration, Labor.

ACTION: Notice of Availability of Funds and Solicitation for Grant Applications (SGA).

SUMMARY: All information required to submit a grant application is contained in this announcement. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Employment and Training Administration (ETA), announces a pilot demonstration as authorized under Title IV Part D of The Job Training Partnership Act, to increase the long-term employment of youth living in high-poverty areas. This notice provides information on the process that eligible entities must use to apply for these demonstration funds and how grantees will be selected. It is anticipated that up to $12.5 million will be available for funding demonstration projects covered by this solicitation, with each award being approximately $2.25 million.

DATES: The closing date for receipt of proposals is December 7, 1998 at 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).

ADDRESS: Applications must be mailed to: U.S. Department of Labor; Employment and Training Administration; Division of Acquisition and Assistance; Attention: B. Yvonne Harrell, Reference: SGA/DAA 98-016; 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Room S-4203; Washington, DC 20210.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: All questions should be faxed to Ms. B. Yvonne Harrell at (202) 219-8739 (this is not a toll-free number). Please include a contact person, telephone number, fax number and refer to SGA-DAA-98-016.

Part I. Background

The Department of Labor currently has six (6) Youth Opportunity pilot projects. Three were funded in 1996, Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles, and three in 1997, the Bronx, Boston, and rural Kentucky. Through this solicitation, the Department of Labor expects to award grants to establish five additional Youth Opportunity pilot sites. In these pilot projects, Opportunity Areas are created in targeted communities to expand employment, education, and training opportunities for out-of-school youth ages 16-24, with priority given to high school dropouts. The demonstrations provide employment, education and training opportunities, mentoring, support, leadership, developmental and other services as needed for all youth in the target area.

The Department expects to award five (5) grants of approximately $2.25 million each for a period of 18 months under this competition. Based on the availability of funds and successful completion of this initial funding period, some level of second and third year funding may be provided to the demonstration sites. Award decisions will be published on the Internet at ETA's Home Page at

Eligible Applicants.

This grant competition is limited to the Service Delivery Areas (SDAs) covering urban and rural sites designated by Housing Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Agriculture as Empowerment Zones (EZs), supplemental empowerment zones, Enterprise Communities (ECs), or enhanced enterprise communities. In EZ/ECs that include more than one SDA (e.g., Philadelphia/Camden and Kansas City, Missouri/Kansas), the SDAs can submit either separate applications or a joint application, which must clearly identify each SDA's responsibilities. To be eligible to apply, SDAs will need to identify a contiguous set of census tracts with a population of at least 10,000 in the 1990 Census. SDAs will need to list as partners the local public school system, the local EZ/EC governing board, the juvenile justice system, representatives of major employer networks connected to the school-to-work effort, the state School-to-Work Partnership, and if applicable, the local School-to-Work Partnership. In sites where the target area includes public housing facilities, the demonstrations should establish linkages with all employment and training and other programs being operated by the local Housing Authority.

Current DOL grantees serving Out-of-School Youth, cannot submit an application to service the same community.

Applicants should outline how they will involve residents, youth and others community-based organizations (CBOs) and faith-based organizations of the community in the planning, and other involvement of the effort. Partners do not have to be solely subcontractors. Some partners will have resources of their own which can be made available to youth in the targeted community.

Program Components.

Grant funds shall be used to create an Opportunity Area for youth living in the target area. Youth employment and development activities funded under the grant shall be used for a structured set of initiatives focused sharply on getting out-of-school youth ages 16-24 into long-term employment at wage levels that will prevent future dependency. The various programs funded under the grant should constitute a coherent strategy for serving large numbers of neighborhood youth and raising the employment rate of out-of-school youth in the area up to 80 percent. This overall strategy needs to be responsive to the particular problems of out-of-school youth in high-poverty areas, especially the pervasive joblessness of males. Given the solid economy the country is now experiencing, the overall strategy should have a strong private sector emphasis with a core program of perhaps 15 case managers and job developers working to place youth and retain youth in private sector jobs.

Allowable activities will include but not be limited to job placement officers and case managers working to link youth with private sector employers; on-the-job training; programs directed towards rehabilitating inner-city housing and that teach leadership skills and prepare youth for construction careers; preparation of apprenticeship positions in commercial construction; referrals of youth to Job Corps Centers for open-entry/open-exit to academic, vocational and life skills training primarily in a structured environment; alternative and charter schools; local conservation corps programs for youth who need to gain disciplined work experience before being ready for private sector placement; and adult mentors working with youth over an extended period of time.

Offerers are encouraged to consider effective practices in their communities in workforce development, youth development and quality project management. Examples of activities within these categories include: job shadowing, long term post-placement monitoring, developing mentor/coach relationships, diverse funding and collaboration, and on-going assessment of progress through project data. The experiences gained through the "Promising and Effective Practices Network" (PEPNet), funded in part by the Department of Labor, may be useful. Information on PEPNet is available on Internet web site

A small amount, not more than $150,000 per year, of grant funds can be used for dropout prevention, college bound type programs, and sports and recreation programs open to all youth in the target area.

DOL expects that various CBOs in each site will operate many of the services provided under this grant. However, the services should be well coordinated between CBO operations and the core program components and offered to participants in a uniform manner.

Training offered by this demonstration shall incorporate elements of the School-to-Work initiatives. This should include classroom based and work-based learning, connective or supportive activities which helps participants complete the training and enter and maintain employment. Classroom curricula should be directly linked to the jobs in the labor market with direct input from employers. Job shadowing and on-the-job training opportunities should be committed to employers and indicated in the proposal. The grantee should also investigate and experiment with other venues of learning in the community for participants.

Training and education can be offered through alternative and charter school settings using the School-to-Work model for providing both classroom and work based learning opportunities. Applicants are encouraged to investigate, within each site, how the average daily attendance dollars from State and local school systems can be used to provide training to participants of this demonstration and provide for opportunities in alternative and chatter schools. In a few States the average daily attendance dollars follow youth who drop school and enter job training program.

Sites providing services to youth in need of bonding to become employed can utilized the services of the Federal Bonding program. More information on the Federal Bonding program will be provided at the time of grant awards.

Services must not be fragmented, but should operate as an integrated system that supports and furthers the notion of sustaining the effort beyond the grant period through the creation of a new or changed infrastructure. The primary outreach, intake and counseling activities in this initiative should be based in the targeted neighborhood in a center where participants can come for assistance in improving their employment prospects. Project Directors and primary staff, e.g., case manager and job developers, should be located in the center. All connecting activities should be easily accessible to program participants and should be provided in settings where it is conducive to accomplishing the goals and objectives of the demonstration.

Other partnerships/linkages should be established with the local One-Stop Center and the America's Career Infonet system. The Infonet system is a searchable database of employment trends, wages, training requirements, economic information, area cost of living, etc. The Infonet system is available through the One-Stop Center, the local employment service office, and the Internet. (Sites are encourage to have access to the Internet.)

The grantee may use a small amount, not more than $20,000 per year, of the grant funds to purchase technical assistance to coordinate with other local service providers, e.g., welfare -to-work program, school-to-work, vocational education programs, one-stop, etc., to focus on and receive employers involvement, commitment for work-based learning, work experience, on-the-job training, and job opportunities. The technical assistance shall be provided by a firm or individual who is familiar with the local labor market and has demonstrated experience in this area.

The grantee may also use a small amount, not more than $5,000 per year, of the grant funds to purchase local technical assistance to establish and train members of a formal Community Advisory Board, which membership should include residents, youth, business leaders, community leaders, ministers, teachers, etc., to have direct involvement with the project meeting it goals and objectives, initiating and carrying out community activities that will enhance the quality of life in the local community, increase community members participation in this initiative, and have direct impact on parental involvement with the program.

GED should be used only as a tool for those who seek higher education or it is needed before entering a job training component. But it should not be seen as an end in itself.


Applicants must use partnerships both (1) to enhance the out-of-school programs funded under the grant and (2) to provide complementary programs so as to make the target neighborhood an Opportunity Area for all youth. It is expected that applicant and other partners will invest State, local, and other federal resources to secure the success of the project. Complementary projects should include: (1) school-to-work efforts in the target area high school; (2) commitments for specific numbers of career-track jobs by employers located in the wider metropolitan area; (3) school district efforts to reduce the dropout and truancy rates in area middle schools and high schools; (4) investments from other State and federal programs, such as JTPA; (5) a public/private collaboration to start a program that helps youth attend college in the target area; (6) a comprehensive sports and recreation program for youth of all ages in the target neighborhood; and (7) a comprehensive youth community service program in the target area. The application should provide dollar values for the contributions from each partner, and these figures will be included in the final grant budget. Applicants also must agree to continue initiatives started under this grant beyond the three-year grant period. Applicants are encouraged to use State and local educational funds to support education and training services for youth who have dropped out of school.

Period of Performance.

The period of performance shall be 18 months from the date of execution by the Government. Delivery of services to targeted group shall commence within 90 days of execution of a grant.

Part II. Application Process and Guidelines

A grant application shall be limited to 12 double-spaced, single-side, 8.5-inch x 11-inch pages with 1-inch margins. Text type shall be 11 point or larger. Applications that do not meet these requirements will not be considered. SDAs wishing to apply to be a demonstration site should begin as quickly as possible forming the partnerships with State and local school-to-work efforts, local public schools, empowerment zones, juvenile justice system, community based organizations, and the private sector necessary to carry out this project. An original and three (3) copies of the application shall be submitted. The applications shall consist of two (2) separate and distinct parts: Part A, the Financial Proposal, and Part B, the Technical Proposal. Part A - Finanical Proposal

The Financial Proposal, shall contain the Standard Form 424, "Application for Federal Assistance" (Appendix A) and the "Budget Information Sheet" (Appendix B) for an 18-month initial grant period. Both of these forms are attached. The budget shall include on a separate page a detailed breakout of each proposed budget line item. For each budget line item that includes funds or in-kind contributions from a source other than the grant funds, identify the source, the amount, and in-kind contributions, including any restrictions that may apply to these funds. The Federal Domestic Assistance Catalog number is 17.249.

Part B. Technical Proposal

The technical proposal should be 12 pages or less and reflect the local partnerships that are being developed. An Executive Summary may be included, but shall not exceed two pages. The technical proposal should include letters of support from the local chief elected official.

These letters will not be counted against the page limit. NO COST DATA OR REFERENCE TO PRICE SHALL BE INCLUDED IN THE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL. The technical proposal shall include answers to the following questions:

1. What is the need in the target community? What is its population and poverty rate in the 1990 Census? What are the dropout rates of target area high schools, as measured by the number of ninth graders enrolled in September of 1993 and the number of students graduating in June of 1997?

2. What new initiatives and on-going effective practices for out-of-school youth will be funded with the grant?

3. How will new initiatives and effective practices fit into your overall EZ/EC plan?

4. What school-to-work initiatives consistent with the School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994 currently exist in the target area high school? What additional school-to-work initiatives will be implemented if this grant is received?

5. What dropout prevention efforts currently exist in target area middle schools and high school? What new initiatives are committed as a if this grant is received?

6. What do local major corporations promise as their role if the area becomes an opportunity area? The application should be clear in specifying existing private sector activities and new activities supported with leveraged resources. The specific number of jobs pledged for target area youth should be included in the application.

7. What strategy do you have for linking with Job Corps?

8. What State and local public sector, and non-profit sector (including faith-based organizations) commitments are being promised? Again, the application should be clear in specifying existing public sector activities in the target area and new activities being supported with leveraged resources.

9. What strategy do you have for maintaining these enhanced services to out-of-school youth after the demonstration has ended? Will school funds be provided?

10. What strategies do you have for engaging the juvenile justice system in preventing juvenile crime in the target area and in meeting the needs of target area youth who are in the criminal justice system?

11. What strategy do you have to hire and maintain high quality staff, particularly in the areas of job development, case management and project director and to provide salary levels that are comparable with other programs with same type of job responsibility.

Information required under (a), and (b), below shall be provided separately for each targeted neighborhood where out-of-school-youth will be served.

(a) Target Neighborhood.

Applications should identify a target area within the EZ/EC with a population of between 10,000 and 15,000 persons and a poverty rate in the 1990 Census that is among the highest in the EZ/EC. In urban sites, the target area should be comprised of contiguous census tracts. In rural counties larger than 15,000, the target area should be comprised of contiguous census tracts or block numbering areas. In both urban and rural sites, the target area should include a high school and at least one middle school.

(b) Sample Site Plan.

One example of the type of plan that could be included in the proposal is below. This example is intended to be illustrative rather than prescriptive. It is expected that each community will develop a plan that is tailored to its area. In this example, the target community within the EZ/EC has a population of 10,000, with 1,600 16-24 year-olds and with 20 percent of its population living in public housing. Roughly half of the 16-24 year-olds are out-of-school (800) and 40 percent of the out-of-school youth are employed (320). To reach an 80 percent employment level for this group will require 640 being employed, or 320 more jobs. To achieve this level of employment and to stem the dropout rate, the following example shows how the DOL grant might be used in conjunction with the leveraging of other resources. (This is an example):

DOL Grant Other Resources
Job developers/case managers (Staff of 15) $850,000 ---
CET training (50 youth @ $6,000) 150,000 150,000
On-the-job training (40 youth @ $5,000) 200,000 ---
YouthBuild (40 youth @ $20,000) 300,000 500,000
Local conservation corps (40 youth @ $20,000) 400,000 400,000
Alternative school (80 youth @ $8,000) 200,000 440,000
Middle school restructuring --- 235,000
Futures program in high school 50,000 200,000
College Bound program 50,000 100,000
Sports and recreation program 50,000 100,000
Juvenile alternative sentencing program --- 100,000
________ ________
$2,250,000 $2,250,000*

*This SGA recommends the leveraging of resources on a one-to-one basis through in-kind or cash dollars. The leveraged resources could be used to serve 22-24 year-olds, and thus come from JTPA Title II-A. Other leveraged resources could come from other Federal agencies, local corporations and foundations. Funds for a new alternative school in the target community would come from State or local education funds. In addition to these funds for job training programs, the local area would also provide funds for new initiatives to strengthen the target area's middle schools and high school. These initiatives would include enhanced school-to-work efforts in the high school; a program to prepare entering ninth graders for starting high school and to provide outreach workers to keep youth in school; a program to help youth enter college, and a comprehensive sports and recreation program for youth. These initiatives would be paid for through a combination of other Federal funds, public school funds, local corporations, and local foundations. A significant number of private sector jobs would also be pledged for participants. Hand-Delivered Applications.

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 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.

Late Applications.

Any application received at the office designated in the solicitation after the exact time specified for receipt will not be considered unless it:

(a) was sent by U.S. Postal Service registered or certified mail not later than the fifth calendar day before the closing date specified for receipt of applications (e.g., an offer submitted in response to a solicitation requiring receipt of application by the 30th of January must have been mailed by the 25th); or

(b) was sent by U.S. Postal Service Express Mail Next Day Service--Post Office to Addressee, not later than 5:00 p.m. at the place of mailing two working days prior to the date specified for receipt of application. The term "working days" excludes weekends and U.S. Federal holidays.

The only acceptable evidence to establish the date of mailing of a late application sent by U.S. Postal Service registered or certified mail is the U.S. postmark on the envelope or wrapper and on the original receipt from the U.S. Postal Service. Both postmarks must show a legible date or the proposal shall be processed as if it had been mailed late. "Postmark" 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 and affixed by an employee of the U.S. Postal Service on the date of mailing. Therefore, applicants should request the postal clerk to place a legible hand cancellation "bull's eye" postmark on both the receipt and the envelope or wrapper.

The only acceptable evidence to establish the date of mailing of a late application sent by "Express Mail Next-Day Service--Post Office to Addressee" is the date entered by the post office receiving clerk on the "Express Mail Next Day Service--Post Office to Addressee" label and the postmarks on both the envelope and wrapper and the original receipt from the U.S. Postal Service. "Postmark" has the same meaning as defined above. Therefore, an applicant should request the postal clerk to place a legible hand cancellation "bull's eye" postmark on both the receipt and the envelope or wrapper.

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

Part III - Evaluation Component.

The demonstration sites will be required to collect and maintain participant records so that this can be a learning experience for the government. We look to learn and share effective techniques and strategies for meeting the needs of out-of-school youth. The required participant records will be similar to the Standardized Program Information Report (SPIR) required for JTPA Title II programs. Leveraged resources from schools can be provided in a variety of ways such as by changing education funding formulas to reach out of school youth, starting or expanding alternative schools, and providing space in school buildings for training programs. No funds under this grant should be set aside for local evaluations, as the project will be formally evaluated through DOL. The DOL evaluation will be aimed primarily at learning from this demonstration if a comprehensive approach to addressing the employment and other needs of out of school youth increases their employment rate, thereby, decreasing negative behavior. The Department will use the lessons learned in subsequent programs for out of school youth.

Part IV - Evaluation Criteria.

Prospective offerers are advised that the selection of grantee(s) for award is to be made after careful evaluation of proposals by a panel of specialists. Each panelist will evaluate the proposals for acceptability with emphasis on the various factors enumerated below. The panel results are advisory in nature and not binding on the Grant Officer.

1. Need in target neighborhood, as measured by its poverty rate in the 1990 Census (10 points)

2. Plan and capacity for conducting project (45 points)

3. Level of investments of schools and other public sector partners (15 points)

4. Level of investments of private sector partners, including commitments for private-sector jobs (10 points)

5. Current school-to-work program and plans for next year's school-to-work program in target area high school (10 points)

6. Dropout prevention plans (10 points)

Applicants are advised that discussions may be necessary in order to clarify any inconsistencies in their applications. Site visits will be made prior to final decisions of awards, to confirm information submitted in application. The final decision on awards will be based on what is most advantageous to the Federal Government, taking into account factors such as geographic diversity, mix of EZs and ECs, and demographic characteristics. The Government may elect to award grant(s) without discussion with the offerers.

Signed on this 1st day of September 1998



Grant Officer

Department of Labor/ETA

Attachments: Standard Form 424

Budget Information Sheet