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Notice

Special American Business Internship Training Program (SABIT)

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

International Trade Administration, Commerce.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

This Notice announces availability of funds for the Special American Business Internship Training Program (SABIT), for training business executives and scientists (also referred to as “interns”) from the New Independent States (NIS). The Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration (ITA) established the SABIT program in September 1990 to assist the former Soviet Union's transition to a market economy. Since that time, SABIT has been matching business executives and scientists from the NIS with U.S. firms which provide them with three to six months of hands-on training in a U.S. market economy.

Under the SABIT program, qualified U.S. firms will receive funds through a cooperative agreement with ITA to help defray the cost of hosting interns. The training must take place in the United States. ITA will interview and recommend eligible interns to participating companies. Interns may be from any of the following Independent States: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. However, restrictions may apply based on congressional sanctions. The U.S. firms will be expected to provide the interns with a hands-on, non-academic, executive training program designed to maximize their exposure to management or commercially-oriented scientific operations. At the end of the training program, interns must return to the NIS. If there is any evidence of a conflict of interest between an intern and the company, the intern is disqualified.

DATES:

The closing date for applications is July 31, 2000. An original and two copies of the application (Standard Form 424 (Rev. 4-92) and supplemental material) are to be sent to the address designated in the Application Kit and postmarked no later than the closing date. Applications will be considered on a “rolling” basis as they are received, subject to the availability of funds. If available funds are depleted prior to the closing date, a notice to that effect will be published in the Federal Register. Processing of complete applications takes approximately three to five months. All awards are expected to be made by September 30, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Request for Applications: Competitive Application kits will be available from ITA starting on the day this notice is published. To obtain a copy of the Application Kit please contact SABIT by: (1) Email at SABITApply@ita.doc.gov, providing your name, company name and address; (2) Telephone (202) 482-0073; (3) Facsimile (202) 482-2443; (4) Send a written request with two self-addressed mailing labels to Application Request, The SABIT Program, HCHB Room 3319, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20230. The telephone numbers are not toll free numbers. Only one copy of the Application Kit will be provided to each organization requesting it, but it may be reproduced by the requesters.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Liesel C. Duhon, Director, SABIT Program, U.S. Department of Commerce, phone—(202) 482-0073, facsimile—(202) 482-2443. These are not toll free numbers.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

SABIT exposes NIS business managers and scientists to a completely new way of thinking in which demand, consumer satisfaction, and profits drive production. Senior-level interns visiting the U.S. for internship programs with public or private sector companies will be exposed to an environment which will provide them with practical knowledge for transforming their countries' enterprises and economies to the free market. The program provides first-hand, eye-opening experience to managers and scientists which cannot be duplicated by American managers traveling to their territories.

Managers: SABIT assists economic restructuring in the NIS by providing top-level business managers with practical training in American methods of innovation and management in such areas as strategic planning, financing, production, distribution, marketing, accounting, wholesaling, and labor relations. This first-hand experience in the U.S. economy enables interns to become leaders in establishing and operating a market economy in the NIS, and creates a unique opportunity for U.S. firms to familiarize key executives from the NIS with their products and services. Sponsoring U.S. firms will benefit by establishing relationships with key managers in similar industries who are uniquely positioned to assist their U.S. sponsors do business in the Independent States.

Scientists: SABIT provides opportunities for gifted scientists to apply their skills to peaceful research and development in the civilian sector, in areas such as defense conversion, medical research, and the environment, and exposes them to the role of scientific research in a market economy where applicability of research relates to business success. Sponsoring firms in the U.S. scientific community also benefit from exchanging information and ideas, and different approaches to new technologies.

The Special American Business Internship Training program's Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFA) number is 11.114.

Funding Availability: Pursuant to section 632(a) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (the “Act”) funding for the program will be provided by the United States Agency for International Development (A.I.D). ITA will award financial assistance and administer the program pursuant to the authority contained in section 635(b) of the Act and other applicable Grant rules. The estimated amount of financial assistance available for the program is $810,000. At least $400,000 of that amount is reserved for U.S. organizations which will host interns from the Russian Far East. Additional funding may become available at a future date.

Funding Instrument and Project Duration: Federal assistance will be awarded pursuant to a cooperative agreement between ITA and the recipient firm. All internships are three to six months; however, ITA reserves the right to allow an intern to stay for a shorter period of time (no less than one month) if the U.S. company agrees and the intern demonstrates a need for a shorter internship based on his or her management responsibilities. ITA will reimburse companies for the round trip international travel (coach class tickets) of each intern from the intern's home Start Printed Page 36118city in the NIS to the U.S. internship site, upon submission to ITA of the paid travel invoice, payment receipt, or other evidence of payment and the form SF-270, “Request for Advance or Reimbursement.” Travel under the program is subject to the Fly America Act. Recipient firms provide directly to interns a stipend of $30 a day; ITA will reimburse recipient firms for this stipend, up to a maximum of six months, upon submission by the company of an end-of-internship report and Form SF-270. Recipient firms will provide housing for the interns and ITA will reimburse recipient firms for up to $500 per month for housing costs (not including utilities or telephone service charges), upon submission by the company of the end-of-internship report and Form SF-270. In general, each award will have a cap of $11,400 per intern for total cost of airline travel, stipend and housing costs. ITA reserves the right to allow an award to exceed this cap in cases of unusually high costs, specifically airfare from remote regions of the NIS such as Central Asia and the Caucasus. However, the total reimbursement cannot exceed the award amount. There are no specific matching requirements for the awards. Host firms, however, are expected to bear the costs beyond those covered by the award, including: visa fees, insurance, any food and incidentals costs beyond the $30 per day stipend, training manuals, any training-related travel within the U.S., and provision of the hands-on training for the interns.

U.S. firms wishing to utilize SABIT in order to be matched with an intern without applying for financial assistance may do so. Such firms will be responsible for all costs, including travel expenses, related to sponsoring the intern. However, prior to acceptance as a SABIT intern, work plans and candidates must be approved by the SABIT Program. Furthermore, program training will be monitored by SABIT staff and evaluated upon completion of training.

Eligibility: Eligible applicants for the SABIT program will include all for profit or non-profit U.S. corporations, associations, organizations or other public or private entities located in the United States. Agencies or divisions of the federal government are not eligible. Although, state and local governments are eligible.

Project Funding Priorities: Applicant proposal must provide an explanation, including description and extent of involvement, in priority business sector(s). While Applicants involved in any industry sector may apply to the program, priority consideration is given to those operating in the following sectors: (a). Agribusiness (including food processing and distribution, and agricultural equipment), (b). Defense conversion, (c). Energy, (d). Environment (including environmental clean-up), (e). Financial services (including banking and accounting), (f). Housing, construction and infrastructure, (g). Medical equipment, supplies, pharmaceuticals, and health care management, (h). Product standards and quality control, (i). Telecommunications, (j). Transportation and (k) Biotechnology.

Evaluation Criteria: Consideration for financial assistance will be given to those SABIT proposals which:

(1). Demonstrate a commitment to the intent and goals of the program to provide practical, on-the-job, non-academic, non-classroom, training: in the case of manager interns, an appropriate management training experience, or, in the case of scientist interns, a practical, commercially-oriented scientific training experience. Include a brief objectives section indicating why the Applicant wishes to provide an internship to a manager(s) or scientist(s) from the NIS, and how the proposed internship would further the purpose of the SABIT program as described above. Also, the Applicant should note how the internship to be provided will respond to the priority needs of senior business managers and scientists in the NIS, as determined by ITA.

(2). Present a realistic work plan describing in detail the training program to be provided to the SABIT intern(s). Work plans must include the proposed internship training activities. The components of the training activities must be described in as much detail as possible, preferably on a week-by-week basis. The description of the training activities should include an account of what the intern's(s') duties and responsibilities will be during the training.

(3). The application should also have a section noting: (a). Whether Applicant is applying to host managers or scientists, or both (and the number of each); (b). The duration of the internship; (c). The location(s) of the internship; (d). The name, address, and telephone number of the designated internship coordinator; (e). Name(s) of division(s) in which the intern(s) will be placed; (f). The individual(s) in the U.S. company under whose supervision the intern will train; (g). The anticipated housing arrangements to be provided for the intern(s). Note that housing arrangements should be suitable for mid- and senior-level professionals, and that each intern must be provided with a private room; (h). A statement that the host firm is solidly committed to interns' return to their own countries upon completion of the internships.

(4). Provide a general description of the profile of the intern(s) the Applicant would like to host, including: educational background; occupational/professional background (including number of years and areas of experience); size and nature of organization at which the intern(s) is/are presently employed; preference for the region of the NIS where the intern(s) is/are employed; and whether Applicant is open to sponsoring interns from a variety of NIS countries.

Evaluation criteria 1-4 will be weighted equally.

ITA does not guarantee that it will match Applicant with the profile provided to SABIT.

Selection Procedures: Each application will receive an independent, objective review by one or more three or four-member independent review panels qualified to evaluate applications submitted under the program. Applications will be evaluated on a competitive, “rolling” basis as they are received in accordance with the selection evaluation set forth above. Awards will be made to those applications which successfully meet the selection criteria. If funds are not available for all those applications which successfully meet the criteria, awards will be made to the first applications received which successfully do so. ITA reserves the right to reject any application; to limit the number of interns per applicant; and to waive informalities and minor irregularities in applications received. The final selecting official reserves the right to make awards based on U.S. geographic and organization size diversity among applicants, as well as to consider priority business sectors (listed in Project Funding Priorities, above) when making awards. Recipients may be eligible, pursuant to approval of an amendment of an active award, to host additional interns under the program. ITA reserves the right to evaluate applicants based on past performance. The Director of the SABIT Program is the final selecting official for each award.

Additional Information: Applicants must submit: (1). Evidence of adequate financial resources of Applicant organization to cover the costs involved in providing an internship(s). As evidence of such resources, Applicant should submit financial statements audited by an outside organization or an Start Printed Page 36119annual report including such statements. If these are not available, a letter should be provided from the Applicant's bank or outside accountant attesting to the financial capability of the firm to undertake the scope of work involved in training an intern under the SABIT program. (2). Evidence of a satisfactory record of performance in grants, contracts and/or cooperative agreements with the Federal Government, if applicable. (Applicants who are or have been deficient in current or recent performance in their grants, contracts, and/or cooperative agreements with the Federal Government shall be presumed to be unable to meet this requirement). (3). A statement that the Applicant will provide medical insurance coverage for interns during their internships. Recipients will be required to submit proof of the interns' medical insurance coverage to the Federal Program Officer before the interns' arrivals. The insurance coverage must include an accident and comprehensive medical insurance program as well as coverage for accidental death, emergency medical evacuation, and repatriation.

Other Requirements: All applicants are advised of the following:

1. No award of Federal funds shall be made to an Applicant who has an outstanding delinquent Federal debt until either the delinquent account is paid in full, a negotiated repayment schedule is established and at least one payment is received, or other arrangements satisfactory to the Department of Commerce (DOC) are made.

2. A false statement on the application is grounds for denial or termination of funds and grounds for possible punishment by a fine or imprisonment as provided in 18 U.S.C. 1001.

3. Recipients and subrecipients are subject to all Federal laws and Federal and Departmental regulations, policies and procedures applicable to financial assistance awards.

4. Participating companies will be required to comply with all relevant U.S. tax and export regulations. Export controls may relate not only to licensing of products for export, but also to technical data transfer. The U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) reviews applications in question to determine whether export licenses are required. SABIT will not award a grant until the export license issue has been satisfied.

5. Applications under this program are not subject to Executive Order 12372, “Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.”

6. If applicants incur any costs prior to an award being made, they do solely at their own risk of not being reimbursed by the Government. Notwithstanding any verbal or written assurance that may have been received, there is no obligation on the part of DOC to cover pre-award costs.

7. Past performance: Unsatisfactory performance by an applicant under prior Federal awards may result in an application not being considered for funding.

8. No obligation for future funding: If an application is selected for funding, DOC has no obligation to provide any additional future funding in connection with that award. Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the total discretion of DOC.

9. Primary Applicant Certifications: All primary applicants must submit a completed Form CD-511, “Certifications Regarding Debarment, Suspension and Other Responsibility Matters; Drug-Free Workplace Requirements and Lobbying,” and the following explanations are hereby provided:

(a) Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension: Prospective participants (as defined at 15 CFR Part 26, Section 105) are subject to 15 CFR Part 26, “Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension” and the related section of the certification form prescribed above applies.

(b) Drug Free Workplace: Grantees (as defined at 15 CFR Part 26, Section 605) are subject to 15 CFR Part 26, Subpart F, “Government wide Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Grants)” and the related section of the certification form prescribed above applies.

(c) Anti-Lobbying: Funds provided under the SABIT program may not be used for lobbying activities. Persons (as defined at 15 CFR Part 28, Section 105) are subject to the lobbying provisions of 31 U.S.C. 1352, “Limitation on use of appropriated funds to influence certain Federal contracting and financial transactions,” and the lobbying section of the certification form prescribed above applies to applications/bids for grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts for more than $100,000, and loans and loan guarantees for more than $150,000, or the single family maximum mortgage limit for affected programs, whichever is greater.

(d) Anti-Lobbying Disclosures: Any applicant that has paid or will pay for lobbying in connection with this award using any funds must submit an SF-LLL, “Disclosure of Lobbying Activities,” as required under 15 CFR Part 28, Appendix B.

10. All primary applicants must also submit a completed Standard Form 424, “Application for Federal Assistance” and a Standard Form 424B, “Assurances—Non-Construction Programs.” Form CD-511 and Standard Forms 424 and 424B are included in the Application Kit supplied by the SABIT office.

11. Lower Tier Certifications: Recipients shall require applicants/bidders for subgrants, contracts, subcontracts, or other lower tier covered transactions at any tier under the award to submit, if applicable, a completed Form CD-512, “Certifications Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion-Lower Tier Covered Transactions and Lobbying” and disclosure form, SF-LLL, “Disclosure of Lobbying Activities.” Form CD-512 is intended for the use of recipients and should not be transmitted to DOC. SF-LLL submitted by any tier recipient or subrecipient should be submitted to DOC in accordance with the instructions contained in the award document.

12. Indirect Costs: Indirect costs are not allowed under the SABIT program.

13. Applicants are hereby notified that any equipment or products authorized to be purchased with funding provided under this program must be American-made to the greatest extent practicable.

14. The following statutes apply to this program: Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, Public Law 102-511, 22 U.S.C. 5812 note (Restriction on Assistance to the Government of Azerbaijan); 7 U.S.C. § 5201 et seq. (Agricultural Competitiveness and Trade—the Bumpers Amendment); The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, including Chapter 11 of Part I, section 498A (b) Public Law 102-511, 22 U.S.C. 2295a(b) (regarding ineligibility for assistance); 22 U.S.C. 2420(a), Section 660(a) of The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (Police Training Prohibition); and provisions in the annual Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Acts, concerning impact on jobs in the United States (see, e.g., 536 of Public Law 106-113).

15. Audit Requirements: The DOC Office of Inspector General has authority under the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, to conduct an audit of any DOC award at any time.

16. Payments. As required by the Debt Collections Improvement Act of 1996, all Federal payments to award recipients pursuant to this announcement will be made by electronic funds transfer. Start Printed Page 36120

17. The collection of information is approved by the Office of Management and Budget, OMB Control Number 0625-0225. Public reporting for this collection of information is estimated to be three hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. All responses to this collection of information are voluntary, and will be protected from disclosure to the extent allowed under the Freedom of Information Act. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required to respond to nor shall a person be subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of information displays a current valid OMB Control Number. Send comments regarding the burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to the Reports Clearance Officer, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce, Room 4001, 14th and Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20230.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Special American Business Internship Training, International Trade Administration, at (202) 482-0073. This is not a toll-free number.

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Dated: June 1, 2000.

Liesel C. Duhon,

Director, SABIT Program.

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[FR Doc. 00-14271 Filed 6-6-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-HE-P