Skip to Content

Notice

Solicitation for Grant Application (SGA 01-06); Customized Employment Grants

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), Department of Labor.

ACTION:

Notice of applicability of funds and Solicitation for Grant Applications (SGA).

SUMMARY:

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL or the Department), Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) announces the availability of $3.5 million to award up to seven competitive grants for strategic planning and implementation activities designed to improve the employment and career advancement of people with disabilities through enhanced availability and provision of customized employment services through the new One-Stop delivery system established under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) (Public Law 105-220, 29 U.S.C. 2801 et seq.).

This Customized Employment Grant program will provide funds to selected Local Workforce Investment Boards (Local Boards), which will be the lead entity in a consortium/partnership of public and private entities, to build the capacity in local One-Stop Centers to provide customized employment services to those persons with disabilities who may not now be regularly targeted for services by the One-Stop Center system. Grants funded under this program will also provide a vehicle for Local Boards to systemically review their policy and practices in terms of service to persons with disabilities, and to incorporate new and innovative practices, as appropriate.

Grants are for a one-year period and may be renewed for a period of up to four additional years at varying funding levels (see Section V) depending upon the availability of funds and the efficacy of the project activities. All forms necessary to prepare an application are included in this SGA.

DATES:

One (1) ink-signed original, complete grant application plus three (3) copies of the Technical Proposal and three (3) copies of the Cost Proposal must be submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor, Procurement Services Center, Attention Grant Officer, Reference SGA 01-06, Room N-5416, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210, not later than 4:45 p.m. EST, August 20, 2001. Hand-delivered applications must be received by the Procurement Services Center by that time.

ADDRESSES:

Grant applications must be hand delivered or mailed to U.S. Department of Labor, Procurement Services Center, Attention: Grant Officer, Reference SGA 01-06, Room N-5416, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210. Applicants must verify delivery to this office directly through their delivery service and as soon as possible.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Applications will not be mailed. The Federal Register may be obtained from your nearest government office or library. Questions about this solicitation may be sent to Cassandra Willis, at the following Internet address: willis-cassandra@dol.gov. Start Printed Page 38002

Late Proposals

The grant application package must be received at the designated place by the date and time specified or it will not be considered. Any application received at the Procurement Services Center after 4:45 p.m. EST, August 20, 2001, will not be considered unless it is received before the award is made and:

1. It was sent by registered or certified mail not later than the fifth calendar day before August 20, 2001;

2. It is determined by the Government that the late receipt was due solely to mishandling by the Government after receipt at the U.S. Department of Labor at the address indicated; or

3. It was sent by U.S. Postal Service Express Mail Next Day Service-Post Office to Addressee, not later than 5 p.m. at the place of mailing two (2) working days, excluding weekends and Federal holidays, before August 20, 2001.

The only acceptable evidence to establish the date of mailing of a late application sent by registered or certified mail is the U.S. Postal Service postmark on the envelope or wrapper and on the original receipt from the U.S. Postal Service. If the postmark is not legible, an application received after the above closing time and date shall be processed as if mailed late. “Postmark” means a printed, stamped or otherwise place impression (not a postage meter machine impression) that is readily identifiable without further action as having been applied and affixed by an employee of the U.S. Postal Service on the date of mailing. Therefore, applicants should request the postal clerk 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 U.S. Postal Service 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 postmark on the envelope or wrapper and on the original receipt from the U.S. Postal Service. “Postmark” has the same meaning as defined above. Therefore, applicants should request that the postal clerk 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 time of receipt at the U.S. Department of Labor is the date/time stamp of the Procurement Services Center on the application wrapper or other documentary evidence or receipt maintained by that office. Applications sent by telegram or facsimile (FAX) will not be accepted.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Authority

Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2001, Public Law 106-554, 114 STAT 2763A-10, 29 U.S.C. 557(b).

II. Background

The President's New Freedom Initiative is designed to increase the number of people with disabilities who enter, reenter, and remain in the workforce. It is dedicated to increasing investment in and access to assistive technologies, a quality education, and increasing the integration of Americans with disabilities into the workforce and community life.

The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) provides the infrastructure for streamlining services and securing employment through the One-Stop delivery system. WIA requires multiple programs and agencies (including state Vocational Rehabilitation agencies) to: (a) Form partnerships in this effort; (b) share expertise and coordinate resources; and, provide services to assist people in gaining and retaining employment. The One-Stop Career Centers which comprise this system are in a position to expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities, thus ensuring that the intent of the New Freedom Initiative is accomplished.

Under WIA, collaboration with multiple required partners [1] is intended to create a coordinated and streamlined system for the customer seeking employment. It is essential to involve additional states or local programs as partners with the One-Stop Center to enable many people with disabilities to have an increased opportunity for and choice in employment. These additional programs include, but are not limited to, state programs for Mental Retardation, Medicaid, Mental Health and Transportation; State Councils for Developmental Disabilities; state assistive technology programs, Small Business Development Centers and secondary education programs. While not required partners under WIA, these programs have expertise and/or resources that can contribute to expanding the employment and business opportunities for people with disabilities. In addition, community colleges, University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, business incubators, lending institutions, foundations, faith-based organizations, and other state or local programs may also be critical partners. These agencies and programs may not be informed about the potential for coordinating resources and expertise with Local Boards and One-Stop Centers in order to increase employment, choice and wages for people with disabilities.

In addition, One-Stop Centers may elect to become employment networks under the Ticket-to-Work Program (42 U.S.C. 1320b-19), thus making it more likely that they will require expertise in customized employment strategies in order to successfully facilitate employment for people with disabilities who are recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Ticket-to-Work is providing increased employment opportunities for people with disabilities who receive SSI and/or SSDI benefits by addressing some of the major barriers encountered by these individuals as they attempt to gain or regain employment. Approximately eight million people with disabilities receive SSI and/or SSDI benefits. According to the U.S. General Accounting Office, less than one percent of these individuals leave the rolls each year as a result of paid employment. Of those who do leave, about one-third return within three years. The Ticket-to-Work program provides a variety of work incentives, including, greater choices of needed employment services, the continuation of Medicare eligibility for SSDI recipients and, at state option, health coverage under the Medicaid program to certain workers with disabilities, either by permitting them to purchase Medicaid coverage or by extending Medicaid eligibility to them without charge. As a result, there is unprecedented opportunity for these individuals to enter, or return to the workforce. Increasing numbers of individuals with disabilities will be approaching their local One-Stop Centers for assistance.

Many strategies exist for securing integrated, competitive employment for people with disabilities, including people who previously might have been considered “nonfeasible” for employment, and people who have been segregated in institutions, nursing homes, and day activity programs. Many Start Printed Page 38003exemplary practices and promising strategies have emerged through decades of research and demonstration projects, and through other public and private activities promoting increased choice and self-determination for people with disabilities. These include approaches such as supported employment; supported entrepreneurship; individualized job development; job carving and restructuring; use of personal agents (including individuals with disabilities and family members); development of micro-boards, micro-enterprises, cooperatives and small businesses; and use of personal budgets and other forms of individualized funding that provide choice and control to the person and promote self-determination. These and other innovations hold the promise of dramatically increasing both employment and wages for people with disabilities, in part by increasing their choices for integrated, competitive employment, business ownership, micro-enterprise development, entrepreneurship, and other employment options that were previously seldom available.

The Presidential Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities, which includes membership from eighteen Federal agencies, has conducted multiple activities relating to increasing employment for people with disabilities, including people who are SSI and/or SSDI beneficiaries, people who are in nursing homes, institutions, facility-based employment, day activity programs and other segregated settings where they are either not working or are earning less than minimum wage. A major result of these activities was the identification of the need for a sustained and coordinated initiative to build professional competency within One-Stop Centers and their partners, including providers and employers, about the use of customized employment strategies. Other findings include the need to: (1) Effectively expand the availability of personal agents, job development expertise, and other strategies for achieving customized employment for people with disabilities; (2) increase the number of eligible training providers who can provide customized employment assistance; (3) provide information, technical assistance, training and strategic planning that focuses on integrating customized employment strategies into the workforce investment system; (4) coordinate all necessary employment and related supports from WIA partners and other essential programs that are not required partners under WIA; and, (5) research and demonstrate alternative methods of determining effective performance by the workforce investment system in terms of service to people with disabilities.

In response to these findings ODEP will pursue a two-pronged approach:

1. Awarding these strategic planning and implementation grants for customized employment to develop and/or expand the capacity of local workforce systems to provide meaningful and effective opportunity through One-Stops for all persons with disabilities; and

2. Establishing a national technical assistance and training initiative to help increase the capacity of the workforce investment system to serve people with disabilities.

The combination of these activities will substantially contribute to achieving the goals of the President's New Freedom Initiative.

This SGA is designed to address the first of these activities. Establishing the supporting national technical assistance initiative is being implemented under a separate solicitation, and is expected to be in operation in time to assist the planning and implementation activities of grants funded under this solicitation.

The U.S. Department of Labor also offers Work Incentive Grants designed to enhance service delivery throughout the National One-Stop delivery system for people with disabilities. Recognizing that the One-Stop system generally has limited capacity to serve people with disabilities in the comprehensive nature envisioned under the WIA, the Work Incentive Grant program has multiple goals which include but are not limited to:

1. Establishing the capacity for coordinated, seamless service delivery to this client group for the many programs and services which typically impact their entry or retention in the workforce;

2. Increasing the availability of assistive technology in One-Stop

Centers;

3. Ensuring the availability of trained One-Stop staff to serve people with disabilities;

4. Assuring outreach and marketing of One-Stop services to the disability community; and

5. Establishing or expanding linkages with public and private providers of this client group.

Twenty-three Work Incentive Grants were awarded in FY 2000 and another Solicitation for Grant Applications will be announced in the summer of 2001 as a continuing and on-going process of building the One-Stop infrastructure to most effectively meet the needs of customers with disabilities. The Work Incentive Grants are complementary yet distinct from the Customized Employment demonstration grants offered in this SGA. The Work Incentive Grants support systemic change through capacity building of the One-Stop infrastructure, whereas these Customized Employment Grants will serve as models of comprehensive service delivery which extends beyond WIA programs and services for individuals with disabilities who are the most disenfranchised under current service delivery systems.

This SGA is designed to develop comprehensive models of direct service delivery in the context of a One-Stop setting for individuals with disabilities with the greatest barriers to employment, many of whom have never been employed, are limited to subsidized employment, or may be considered unable to be employed. The Customized Employment grants will involve cutting edge approaches such as use of customized employment strategies and active involvement of essential programs of both mandated and non-mandated partners of the workforce system.

III. Purpose

The purpose of this initiative is to maximize the capacity of, and outcomes from, One-Stop Centers and their partners to effectively serve people with disabilities through customized employment strategies, and to integrate those strategies into the policy and practice of the One-Stop and its partners in order to increase employment, choice and wages for people with disabilities.

For purposes of this solicitation the Department has chosen to specifically target the development and provision of customized employment to those people with disabilities identified in this section. However, the Department expects that once capacity for using customized employment strategies is developed or enhanced, the One-Stop Centers and their partners can expand use of these strategies to other groups of people with (and without) disabilities.

For purposes of this solicitation, the target groups are people with disabilities who are either unemployed or under-employed and are:

1. Receiving Supplementary Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI); or

2. Participating in day programs (such as day habilitation, day activity or day health programs) or participating in facility-based or community employment and earning less than minimum wage; orStart Printed Page 38004

3. Participating in segregated employment and choosing to move to integrated, competitive employment; or

4. Awaiting employment services and supports following a move from a residential facility, or as part of a plan to move into a community under the Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v. L.C. by Zimring, 527 U.S. 581(1999); or

5. Transitioning from, or preparing to transition from, secondary school under a transition plan under part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as amended (20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.), and who, without access to customized employment strategies, would likely be referred to one of the environments identified in (2), (3)or (4) above, but who prefers integrated, competitive employment or self-employment.

For purposes of this solicitation, customized employment means individualizing the employment relationship between employees and employers in ways that meet the needs of both. It is based on an individualized determination of the strengths, needs, and interests of the person with a disability, and is also designed to meet the specific needs of the employer. It may include employment developed through job carving, self-employment or entrepreneurial initiatives, or other job development or restructuring strategies that result in job responsibilities being customized and individually negotiated to fit the needs of individuals with a disability. Customized employment assumes the provision of reasonable accommodations and supports necessary for the individual to perform the functions of a job that is individually negotiated and developed.

IV. Statement of Work

Eligible applicants for these grants are Local Workforce Investment Boards (Local Boards) under the Workforce Investment Act. The Local Board may enter into numerous partnerships with other public and private entities, consistent with the proposed activities of the grant.

Grantees must implement training and staff development activities and demonstration projects designed to develop organizational capacity to serve people with disabilities in One-Stop Centers. These projects must develop professional competency in customized employment strategies and serve targeted people with disabilities. Workforce investment system partners and other non-required but essential programs must be included in this effort. Grantees must integrate customized employment strategies with the existing services available through the One-Stop Center and its partners, including through demonstrating alternative methods of measuring performance within the Once-Stop environment. The result of these efforts will be an increase in employment, choice and wages for people with disabilities through the use of customized employment, and the systemic evaluation and modification, as appropriate, of policies and practices to ensure that customized employment strategies are systemically included in the services available through the One-Stop Center.

Grantees must demonstrate collaborative activities across relevant stakeholder groups, including both required and non-required One-Stop partners, persons with disabilities, their parents and other family members, advocates, employers, community rehabilitation agencies, and others as appropriate.[2] Grantees must:

1. Develop professional competency and capacity for implementing a variety of innovative and promising practices through customized employment;

2. Mobilize needed services and supports;

3. Implement systems change demonstrations; and,

4. Implement other initiatives to ensure that these innovations and promising practices become part of the menu of services available through the workforce investment system.

Grantees must develop employment opportunities in a variety of jobs or industries and at a variety of levels, including self-employment and entrepreneurship, based on the strengths, needs and desires of the individual with a disability. They must organize services and supports in ways that provide informed choice and promote self-determination. In addition, grantees must establish employer involvement; track and respond to customer service and satisfaction for both persons with disabilities and employers; and provide services, including follow-up services to ensure job retention and career development.

It is expected that each grantee will become a “model” for both the state and the Nation in terms of demonstrating effective linkages and strategies through the One-Stop Center system. These models will demonstrate successful strategies for customized employment for people with disabilities which result in increased employment and wages. Each grantee must also review policy and practice as it relates to people with disabilities, including researching alternative methods for performance accountability that are relevant to the characteristics of this population.

Grantees must pursue the following objectives:

1. Develop and implement strategic planning and implementation activities across the One-Stop required partner programs as identified in the Workforce Investment Act, (WIA sec. 121(b), 29 USCA, 2841(b)(such as Vocational Rehabilitation and others as appropriate) as well as other essential programs (such as Medicaid, Medicare, Mental Health,Transportation, Small Business Development Centers, State Councils on Developmental Disabilities, community colleges, benefits counseling and assistance programs, lending and financial institutions), whose expertise, services, and/or funds could contribute to employment services and supports needed by people with disabilities in order to secure customized employment.

2. Develop local and statewide policy initiatives to ensure that customized employment and multiple innovative strategies and promising practices become part of the menu of services available to people with disabilities including investigating alternative methods for performance accountability that consider the characteristics of the population.

3. Develop and document the increased capacity of the One-Stop system, including WIA required partners, community providers of employment services, and other essential programs, to provide customized employment for persons with disabilities. Such capacity includes enhancing collaboration between required WIA partners and building new collaborative initiatives with other essential programs.

4. Develop and document the capacity of the One-Stop system to increase the wages of people with disabilities who are currently working at less than minimum wage through the use of customized employment strategies.

5. Develop an increased understanding by One-Stop Centers' staff about health care, work incentives, benefits planning, “tickets” and other provisions under the Ticket-to-Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 (42 USC 1320b-19 et seq.); and document increased use of these programs by the One-Stop Center and its partner programs to secure customized employment for recipients of SSI and/or SSDI who are entering the workforce or returning to work.Start Printed Page 38005

6. Demonstrate and document the increasing use of resources from a number of system partners and other essential programs, including providing individual budgets (e.g., individual training accounts/contractual services; tickets; vouchers; and other sources of individualized funding or personal funding accounts) for persons with disabilities to obtain customized employment.

7. Develop and leverage linkages with other state and local initiatives that provide services and supports for people with disabilities (including, but not limited to, state systems change efforts which promote systems improvement and comprehensive coordination; initiatives involving health care; benefits planning and assistance; housing; transportation; education; supported employment; small business development; technology-related assistance; initiatives of private foundations; and faith-based programs and others as appropriate).

8. Educate relevant stakeholders, including state and local policymakers and systems personnel, about needed changes in policy and practice in order to increase customized employment and wages for people with disabilities. Organize education activities to enable customized employment and personalized supports to become available and used in local communities, including (as appropriate) activities necessary to secure adoption of the Medicaid buy-in in the state.

9. Collaborate with the national technical assistance cooperative agreement funded by the ODEP to provide assistance and training on increasing employment for adults with disabilities.

10. Identify and pursue other activities, as appropriate, to achieving the goals of these grants.

Funds must be used in a flexible manner, as determined appropriate by input from stakeholders and identified needs, so long as requirements for outcome and evaluation data and other requirements of Federal statutes, regulations, administrative requirements and OMB circulars and the requirements delineated in this SGA are met. Activities may include, the following possibilities:

1. Necessary staffing across agencies to implement grantee activities and otherwise demonstrate effective partnerships and interactions necessary to effectively leverage resources and expertise from partnering systems and programs.

2. Outreach to relevant stakeholders.

3. Strategic planning.

4. Demonstration activities which provide methods to increase the employment of people with disabilities that are designed for systemic inclusion (including but not limited to demonstrating the use of individual training accounts or contractual services, tickets, and individual budgeting initiatives; economic stimulus activities including low-interest loans for person-centered micro-boards focused on increasing economic prosperity for specific individuals with disabilities; entrepreneurial employment initiatives that are consumer-owned or operated; demonstrations of innovation and cutting-edge strategies providing personal control, choice and customized assistance resulting in employment, including business ownership, micro-enterprise development or development of cooperatives for persons with disabilities; and other supports needed by specific individuals with disabilities to increase choice and wages in employment).

5. Other activities necessary to address needs and achieve goals identified through strategic planning and implementation, including collection of necessary data and evaluation.

6. Collaboration with the education system, parents and families to ensure transition of young people with disabilities from school to customized employment or training, and documentation of the outcomes of such efforts.

7. Training and education activities (including training regarding Medicaid buy-in provisions and other policy implications for increasing employment through state activities) designed to further the goal of increasing customized employment for persons with disabilities. These training activities include the education of One-Stop and partner personnel; state systems personnel and policymakers; developing and disseminating educational information and materials; and otherwise promoting policy and practice to increase the wide spread community-based use of customized employment strategies and personalized supports.

8. Researching and demonstrating alternative methods of measuring WIA performance outcomes that consider the various characteristics of people with disabilities and developing demonstrations of performance measures that document new methods for measuring program effectiveness; and coordinating the availability of and access to assistive technology

9. Establishing connections to and collaborating with other entities, including employers, lending and financial institutions, foundations, faith-based organizations, institutions of higher education, consumer and family organizations, small business development centers and others, as appropriate, to further customized employment opportunities for persons with disabilities in local communities.

10. Educating the media and the general public about successful strategies for and the benefits of securing employment for people with disabilities. This will assist in obtaining long-term support for continuation of grantee activities following completion of funding.

11. Increasing the availability of personal agents and job development personnel offering customized services through customer-controlled approaches that result in customized employment (including demonstrating effectiveness of paying family members and/or other individuals with disabilities to serve as personal agents when selected by the individual with a disability to assist in negotiating and implementing employment plans and services.)

12. Assisting community providers of segregated employment services to develop integrated, competitive options for individuals with disabilities, including implementation of conversion and other organizational change initiatives conducted with segregated provider programs that wish to change their services to integrated employment.

Upon the award of a grant, grantees must begin a strategic planning and implementation process that will address multiple components of needed change. Planning, implementation and ongoing evaluation for continuous improvement are expected to be implemented from year one in recognition that dynamic planning will occur and evolve over time. By the end of year five, it is expected that a more long-term strategic plan will be in place for expanding the availability and provision of customized employment, and for systemically revising policy and practices consistent with this goal. All grantees must provide a detailed management plan for project goals, objectives and activities.

All grantees must collect and provide to the DOL information on the individuals with disabilities served under this grant and who secure employment through use of customized strategies (including information on types of jobs, wages and benefits secured by specific individuals with disabilities, and other areas addressed Start Printed Page 38006through the linkages and networks facilitated by grant activities).

All grantees must agree to cooperate with an independent evaluation to be conducted by the Department of Labor. DOL will arrange for and conduct this independent evaluation of the outcomes, impacts, and accomplishments of each funded grant. Grantees must agree to make available records on all parts of grant activity, including participant employment and wage data, and to provide access to personnel, as specified by the evaluator(s), under the direction of the Department. This independent evaluation is separate from the ongoing evaluation for continuous improvement required of the grantee for grant implementation.

V. Funding Availability

The Department of Labor anticipates awarding up to seven grants with a range of between $400,000 and $750,000 each. These awards will be for a one-year period and may be renewed annually for up to four additional years for a total of five years depending upon the availability of funds and the efficacy of the grant activities, established through independent reviews conducted by the Department of Labor or its designee. Proposals must include budgetary information for a five-year period. The funding for Years Four and Five will be at successively lower levels, with funding during Year Four at 80 percent of third-year funds and during Year Five at 60 percent. Grantees are expected to use this grant as seed money to develop other public and private resources in order to ensure sustainability of grant activities following completion of the funding period.

Funds must not be used for modifying buildings or equipment for physical or communication accessibility, although the strategic planning should address how resources will be leveraged for such purposes from other sources, as appropriate.

VI. Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants for these grants are restricted to Local Workforce Investment Boards (Local Boards) as established under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA sec.117,29 USCA 2832.) The Local Board may coordinate numerous partnerships with other public and private entities, consistent with proposed activities of the grant and applicable administrative requirements.

The U.S. Department of Labor encourages Local Boards to join with other State/local entities and public/private non-profit organizations. Such entities and organizations could include state programs for Vocational Rehabilitation, Mental Health,Medicaid, Mental Retardation, Housing and/or Transportation; State Councils on Developmental Disabilities; Protection and Advocacy Programs; University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities; institutions of higher education; Centers for Independent Living (CIL's); disability advocacy and provider organizations; organizations of parents; federally-funded disability grant entities; Small Business Development Centers; cooperatives and micro-enterprises; lending and financial institutions; training programs; media and marketing agencies; employers; foundations; community and faith-based programs; and other organizations or programs which provide or support services and/or advocacy for people with disabilities. Letters of support and commitment from these programs must be included in the Appendix of the proposal.

Indian and Native American Tribal entities, or consortia of Tribes, may apply for these grants. These grants could involve coordination of services and enhancement to a One-Stop system approach for people with disabilities in a specific Indian community or covering multiple Tribal entities which may cut across multiple States and/or workforce investment areas. Grants to Indian and Native American tribal grantees are treated differently because of sovereignty and self-governance established under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act allowing for the government to government relationship between the Federal and Tribal Governments.

Please Note That Eligible Applicants Must Not be Classified Under the Internal Revenue Code as 501 (c)(4) Entity. See 26 U.S.C.506(c)(4). According to Section 18 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, an organization, as described in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, that engages in lobbying activities will not be eligible for the receipt of federal funds constituting an award, grant, or loan.

VII. Application Contents

There are three required Parts and an Appendix of the application. Requirements for each Part are provided in this application package, as are all required forms.

Part I—Project Financial Plan (Budget).

Part II—Executive Summary.

Part III—Project Narrative.

Appendices—Letters of Commitment/Support, Resumes, etc.

General Requirements—Three copies and an original of the proposal must be submitted, one of which must contain an original signature. Proposals must be submitted by the applicant only. Page limits do not apply to the Project Financial Plan or the Appendices (assurances, resumes, bibliography or references as appropriate, and letters of support.) A font size of at least twelve (12) point is required throughout.

Part I—Project Financial Plan (Budget)

To be considered, applications must include a detailed financial plan which identifies by line item the budget plan designed to achieve the goals of this grant. The Project Financial Plan must contain the SF-424, Application for Federal Assistance,(Appendix A) and an SF-424A Budget Information Sheet (Appendix B).

The Project Financial Plan (Budget) must include on a separate page a detailed cost analysis of each line item. Justification for administrative costs must be provided.Approval of a budget by DOL is not the same as the approval of actual costs. The individual signing the SF-424 on behalf of the applicant must represent and be able to bind the responsible financial and administrative entity for a grant should that application result in an award.

Part II—Executive Summary

The application must contain an Executive Summary limited to no more than two (2) single-spaced, single-sided pages. Each application must provide a grant synopsis which identifies the following:

1. The applicant;

2. The consortium partners; the organizations or systems they represent; and their role in grant implementation;

3 . Data on people with disabilities in the area, including, to the extent it is available, information about the target group for this solicitation and other data relevant to the proposed grant;

4. The geographic service area of the Local Board;

5. The planned period of performance (projected annually through a five year cycle, assuming grant renewals awards);

6. The actions already taken by the One-Stop system in the local area to address the needs of people with disabilities, including activities related to increasing availability of customized employment and leveraging resources and expertise across non-required partners of the One-Stop Centers;

7. A brief statement of the goals of the proposal and how they will be achieved; and,Start Printed Page 38007

8. Assurances of commitment in support of this proposal from the fiscal agent and all partner agencies.

Part III—Project Narrative

The Grant Narrative should provide complete information on how the applicant will address the requirements of this SGA and is limited to no more than 75 double-spaced, single-sided, numbered pages (not including Appendices).

Each application must provide, in response to the objectives of this SGA, a comprehensive strategy and implementation plan for developing capacity and providing customized employment through the One Stop system.

Appendix—Letters of Support and/or Commitment, Resumes

VIII. Evaluation Criteria/Selection

A. Evaluation Criteria

The Project Narrative should address the following evaluation element:

1. Statement of Need (10 Points)

Applicants must include in their proposed plan the following items.

a. The current employment circumstances facing people with disabilities in the area to be served, including barriers, facilitators, and resources, systems and activities that could be leveraged to address needed changes.

b. The number of persons with disabilities in the area who fit the other requirements of the defined target group of persons with disabilities who may be served under this grant.

c. Related issues that need to be addressed in order to develop and/or enhance capacity of the One-Stop system to use customized employment strategies to increase employment, choice and wages for persons with disabilities, including the contribution the proposed grant will make to influence systemic changes in the local workforce system.

2. Comprehensive Strategy for Strategic Planning and Implementation to Build Capacity for Customized Employment (25 points)

Applicants must include in their proposed plan the following items:

a. The technical plan to implement the purpose and objectives of this SGA to enhance the capacity of the workforce investment system to increase employment, choice and wages for persons with disabilities through the use of customized employment strategies and to ensure that such strategies are systemically included in the policy and practice of the One-Stop Center(s);

b. The provision of necessary programmatic and physical access, including assistive technology, and compliance with section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. 794(d), [as amended by the FY 2001 appropriation for military construction, Pub. L. No. 106-246(July 13, 2000)] in order to ensure access to persons with disabilities;

c. The plan for developing, implementing and expanding the availability and use of customized employment strategies throughout the WIA system of required partners and non-required programs;

d. The plan for how the expertise of the State Vocational Rehabilitation program will be used;

e. The plan to involve appropriate private entities, including but not limited to community-based organizations and faith-based organizations, as appropriate;

f. The plan for reaching people with disabilities and their families, including their involvement in grant design and implementation;

g. The plan for gaining support and assistance of area employers;

h. The plan for meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities from diverse cultures and/or ethnic groups;

i. The plan for expanding the use of customized employment strategies over time to:

1. All groups of persons with disabilities targeted under this solicitation; and

2. Other groups of individuals with disabilities (such as individuals who are receiving TANF benefits) following completion of the grant;

j. The plan for leveraging resources over time in order to ensure grant sustainability upon completion of funding, including the plan for implementing grant activities during years four and five at 80% and 60% funding, respectively; and

k. The plan for responding to the measures by which program success will be evaluated.

3. Collaboration and Coordination (15 Points)

Applicants must include in their proposed plan the following items:

a. Demonstrations of support and commitment from key organizations and individuals who advocate through or on behalf of persons with disabilities to participate in this effort;

b. Demonstrations of support and commitment from One-Stop partners and non-required but essential programs;

c. Demonstrations of support from area employers and employer organizations and evidence of their interest in participating in this effort.

d. Demonstrations of support from persons with disabilities and their families for implementation of the proposed activities; and,

e. A commitment to cooperate with ODEP's planned technical assistance initiative in a joint effort to develop capacity and disseminate promising practices so that the national workforce system can profit from this experience.

4. Quality of Grant Personnel (15 Points)

Applicants must include in their proposed plan the following items:

a. The names and qualifications of staff and related technical experts and consultants to support the objectives of this project for grantee and key sub-contractors and consultants. A resume of key staff and consultants must be included in the Appendix and must clearly indicate qualifications of each individual for designated role in project implementation.

b. The extent to which the applicant encourages applications for employment from persons who are members of groups that have traditionally been under-represented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age or disability.

5. Management Plan (10 Points)

Applicants must include in their proposed plan the following items:

a. The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives of the proposed grant on time and within budget, including clearly defined responsibilities, time lines, and milestones for accomplishing grant activities;

b. The adequacy of procedures for ensuring feedback and continuous improvement in the operation of the proposed grant;

c. The extent to which the time commitments of key grant personnel are appropriate and adequate to meet the objectives of the proposed grant;

d. How the applicant will insure that customized employment strategies become a part of the menu of services available in the local community.

6. Evaluation and Continuous Improvement (15 Points)

Applicants must include in their proposed plan the following items:

a. All grantees must agree to participate in the independent evaluation outlined in Section IV of this SGA.

b. In addition, all grantees must implement ongoing evaluation of grant activities in order to determine Start Printed Page 38008effectiveness of implementation efforts for continuous improvement of the grant. In determining the quality of the evaluation for continuous improvement, the Department considers the following:

1. The extent to which the methods of evaluation are thorough, feasible, and appropriate to the goals, objectives and outcomes of the proposed grant;

2. The extent to which the methods of evaluation and continuous improvement are appropriate to the context within which the grant operates;

3. The extent to which the methods of evaluation include the use of objective performance measures that are clearly related to the intended outcomes of the grant and will produce quantitative and qualitative data to the extent possible (including data on wages, wage changes, benefits, types of jobs, customer satisfaction, resources leveraged from partner programs, systemic changes implemented to sustain grant over time); and

4. The extent to which the evaluation will provide guidance about effective strategies suitable for replication in other settings.

7. Adequacy of Resources and Budget (10 Points)

Applicants must include in their proposed plan the following items:

a. The adequacy of support for grant implementation, including facilities, equipment, supplies, and other resources;

b. The extent to which the budget is adequate to support the proposed grant.

B. Selection Criteria

Acceptance of a proposal and an award of federal funds to sponsor any program(s) does not provide a waiver of any grant requirement and/or procedures. Grantees must comply with all applicable Federal statutes, regulations, administrative requirements and OMB Circulars. For example, the OMB circulars require, and an entity's procurement procedures must require that all procurement transactions must be conducted, as practical, to provide open and free competition. If a proposal identifies a specific entity to provide the services, the DOL/ODEP's award does not provide the justification or basis to sole-source the procurement, i.e., avoid competition.

A panel will objectively rate each complete application against the criteria described in this SGA. The panel recommendations to the Grant Officer are advisory in nature. The Grant Officer may elect to award grants either with or without discussion with the applicant. In situations where no discussion occurs, an award will be based on the signed SF 424 form (see Appendix A), which constitutes a binding offer. The Grant Officer may consider the availability of funds and any information that is available and will make final award decisions based on what is most advantageous to the Government, considering factors such as:

1. Findings of the grant technical evaluation panel;

2. Geographic distribution of the competitive applications; and,

3. The Project's Financial Plan.

IX. Reporting

The Department of Labor is responsible for ensuring the effective implementation of each competitive grant project in accordance with the provisions of this announcement, the grant agreement and other applicable administrative requirements. Applicants should assume that Department staff or their designees will conduct at least one on-site project review. In addition, all grantees will be expected to provide information on individuals with disabilities securing employment through use of customized strategies (including information on types of jobs, wages and benefits secured by specific individuals with disabilities, and other areas addressed through the linkages and networks facilitated by project activities).

Grantees will be required to submit periodic financial and participation reports under the Customized Employment grant program. Specifically the following reports will be required:

1. Monthly progress reports, during initial start-up and implementation of the project (approximately six months), and quarterly reports thereafter. It is estimated that the monthly report will take five hours to prepare during the first six months of the grant. The quarterly report is estimated to take ten hours during the remainder of the grant. The final report is estimated to take 20 hours. The Department will work with the grantee to identify the requirements of the various reports, which will, among other things, include measures of ongoing analysis for continuous improvement and customer satisfaction.

2. Standard Form 269, Financial Status Report Form, on a quarterly basis;

3. Final Project Report, including an assessment of project performance and outcomes achieved. This report will be submitted in hard copy and on electronic disk using a format and instructions which will be provided by the Department. A draft of the final report is due to the Department 45 days before the termination of the grant.

DOL will arrange for and conduct an independent evaluation of the outcomes, impacts, and accomplishments of each funded project. Grantees must agree to make available records on all parts of project activity, including participant employment and wage data, and to provide access to personnel, as specified by the evaluator(s), under the direction of the Department. This independent evaluation is separate from the ongoing evaluation for continuous improvement required of the grantee for project implementation.

X. Administration Provisions

A. Administrative Standards and Provisions

The grant awarded under this SGA shall be subject to the following:

29 CFR Part 95—Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, etc.

29 CFR Part 96—Federal Standards for Audit of Federally Funded Grants, Contracts, and Agreements

29 CFR Part 97—Uniform Administrative Requirement for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments

B. Allowable Cost

Determinations of allowable costs shall be made in accordance with the following applicable Federal cost principles:

State and Local Government—OMB Circular A-87

Nonprofit Organizations—OMB Circular A-122

Profit-making Commercial Firms—48 CFR Part 31

Profit will not be considered an allowable cost in any case.

Start Signature

Signed at Washington, DC this 17th day of July, 2001.

Daniel P. Murphy,

Grant Officer.

End Signature

Appendix A. Application for Federal Assistance, Form SF 424

Appendix B. Budget Information Sheet, Form SF 424A

Appendix C. Assurances and Certifications Signature Page

Instructions for the SF-424

Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 45 minutes per response, including time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding the burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for Start Printed Page 38009reducing this burden, to the Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project (0348-0043), Washington, DC 20503.

Please do not return your completed form to the Office of Management and Budget. Send it to the address provided by the sponsoring agency.

This is a standard form used by applicants as a required facesheet for preapplications and applications submitted for Federal assistance. It will be used by Federal agencies to obtain applicant certification that States which have established a review and comment procedure in response to Executive Order 12372 and have selected the program to be included in their process, have been given an opportunity to review the applicant's submission.

Item and entry:

1. Self-explanatory.

2. Date application submitted to Federal agency (or State if applicable) and applicant's control number (if applicable).

3. State use only (if applicable).

4. If this application is to continue or revise an existing award, enter present Federal identifier number. If for a new project, leave blank.

5. Legal name of applicant, name of primary organizational unit which will undertake the assistance activity, complete address of the applicant, and name and telephone number of the person to contact on matters related to this application.

6. Enter Employer Identification Number (EIN) as assigned by the Internal Revenue Service.

7. Enter the appropriate letter in the space provided.

8. Check appropriate box and enter appropriate letter(s) in the space(s) provided:

—“New” means a new assistance award.

—“Continuation” means an extension for an additional funding/budget period for a project with a projected completion date.

—“Revision” means any change in the Federal Government's financial obligation or contingent liability from an existing obligation.

9. Name of Federal agency from which assistance is being requested with this application.

10. Use the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number and title of the program under which assistance is requested.

11. Enter a brief descriptive title of the project. If more than one program is involved, you should append an explanation on a separate sheet. If appropriate (e.g., construction or real property projects), attach a map showing project location. For preapplications, use a separate sheet to provide a summary description of this project.

12. List only the largest political entities affected (e.g., State, counties, cities).

13. Self-explanatory.

14. List the applicant's Congressional District and any District(s) affected by the program or project.

15. Amount requested or to be contributed during the first funding/budget period by each contributor. Value of in-kind contributions should be included on appropriate lines as applicable. If the action will result in a dollar change to an existing award, indicate only the amount of the change. For decreases, enclose the amounts in parentheses. If both basic and supplemental amounts are included, show breakdown on an attached sheet. For multiple program funding, use totals and show breakdown using same categories as item 15.

16. Applicants should contact the State Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for Federal Executive Order 12372 to determine whether the application is subject to the State intergovernmental review process.

17. This question applies to the applicant organization, not the person who signs as the authorized representative. Categories of debt include delinquent audit disallowances, loans and taxes.

18. To be signed by the authorized representative of the applicant. A copy of the governing body's authorization for you to sign this application as official representative must be on file in the applicant's office. (Certain Federal agencies may require that this authorization be submitted as part of the application.)

Start Printed Page 38010

Start Printed Page 38011

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE SF-424A

Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 180 minutes per response, including time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding the burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to the Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project (0348-0044), Washington, DC 20503.

Please do not return your completed form to the Office of Management and Budget. Send it to the address provided by the sponsoring agency.

General Instructions

This form is designed so that application can be made for funds from one or more grant programs. In preparing the budget, adhere to any existing Federal grantor agency guidelines which prescribe how and weather budgeted amounts should be separately shown for different functions or activities within the program. For some programs, grantor agencies may require budgets to be separately shown by function or activity. For other programs, grantor agencies may require a breakdown by function or activity. Sections A, B, C, and D should include budget estimates for the whole project except when applying for assistance which requires Federal authorization in annual or other funding period increments. In the latter case, Sections A, B, C, and D should provide the budget for the first budget period (usually a year) and Section E should present the need for Federal assistance in the subsequent budget periods. All applications should contain a breakdown by the object class categories shown in Lines a-k of Section B.

Section A. Budget Summary Lines 1-4 Columns (a) and (b)

For applications pertaining to a single Federal grant program (Federal Domestic Assistance Catalog number) and not requiring a functional or activity breakdown, enter on Line 1 under Column (a) the Catalog program title and the Catalog number in Column (b).

For applications pertaining to a single program requiring budget amounts by multiple functions or activities, enter the name of each activity or function on each line in Column (a), and enter the Catalog number in Column (b). For applications pertaining to multiple programs where none of the programs require a breakdown by function or activity, enter the Catalog program title on each line in Column (a) and the respective Catalog number on each line in Column (b).

For applications pertaining to multiple programs where one or more programs require a breakdown by function or activity, prepare a separate sheet for each program requiring the breakdown. Additional sheets should be used when one form does not provide adequate space for all breakdown of data required. However, when more than one sheet is used, the first page should provide the summary totals by programs.

Lines 1-4, Columns (c) through (g)

For new applications, leave Column (c) and (d) blank. For each line entry in Columns (a) and (b), enter in Columns (e), (f), and (g) the appropriate amounts of funds needed to support the project for the first funding period (usually a year).

For continuing grant program applications, submit these forms before the end of each funding period as required by the grantor agency. Enter in Columns (c) and (d) the estimated amounts of funds which will remain unobligated at the end of the grant funding period only if the Federal grantor agency instructions provide for this. Otherwise, leave these columns blank. Enter in Columns (e) and (f) the amounts of funds needed for the upcoming period. The amount(s) in Column (g) should be the sum of amounts in Columns (e) and (f).

For supplemental grants and changes to existing grants, do not use Columns (c) and (d). Enter in Column (e) the amount of the increase or decrease of Federal funds and enter in Column (f) the amount of the increase or decrease of non-Federal funds. In Column (g) enter the new total budgeted amount (Federal and non-Federal) which includes the total previous authorized budgeted amounts plus or minus, as appropriate, the amounts shown in Columns (e) and (f). The amount(s) in Column (g) should not equal the sum of amounts in Columns (e) and (f).

Line 5—Show the totals for all columns used.

Section B. Budget Categories

In the column headings (1) through (4), enter the titles of the same programs, functions, and activities shown on Lines 1-4, Column (a), Section A. When additional sheets are prepared for Section A, provide similar column headings on each sheet. For each program, function or activity, fill in the total requirements for funds (both Federal and non-Federal) by object class categories.

Line 6a-i—Show the totals of Lines 6a to 6h in each column.

Line 6j—Show the amount of indirect cost.

Line 6k—Enter the total of amounts on Lines 6i and 6j. For all applications for new grants and continuation grants the total amount in column (5), Line 6k, should be the same as the total amount shown in Section A, Column (g), Line 5. For supplemental grants and changes to grants, the total amount of the increase or decrease as shown in Columns (1)-(4), Line 6k should be the same as the sum of the amounts in Section A, Columns (e) and (f) on Line 5.

Line 7—Enter the estimated amount of income, if any, expected to be generated from this project. Do not add or subtract this amount from the total project amount. Show under the program narrative statement the nature and source of income. The estimated amount of program income may be considered by the Federal grantor agency in determining the total amount of the grant.

Section C. Non-Federal Resources

Lines 8-11—Enter amounts of non-Federal resources that will be used on the grant. If in-kind contributions are included, provide a brief explanation on a separate sheet.

Column (a)—Enter the program titles identical to Column (a), Section A. A breakdown by function or activity is not necessary.

Column (b)—Enter the contribution to be made by the applicant.

Column (c)—Enter the amount of the State's cash and in-kind contribution if the applicant is not a State or State agency. Applicants which are a State or State agencies should leave this column blank.

Column (d)—Enter the amount of cash and in-kind contributions to be made from all other sources.

Column (e)—Enter totals of Columns (b), (c), and (d).

Line 12—Enter the total for each of Columns (b)-(e). The amount in Column (e) should be equal to the amount on Line 5, Column (f), Section A.

Section D. Forecasted Cash Needs

Line 13—Enter the amount of cash needed by quarter from the grantor agency during the first year.

Line 14—Enter the amount of cash from all other sources needed by quarter during the first year.

Line 15—Enter the totals of amounts on Lines 13 and 14.

Section E. Budget Estimates of Federal Funds Needed for Balance of the Project

Lines 16-19—Enter in Column (a) the same grant program titles shown in Column (a), Section A. A breakdown by function or activity is not necessary. For new applications and continuation grant applications, enter in the proper columns amounts of Federal funds which will be needed to complete the program or project over the succeeding funding periods (usually in years). This section need not be completed for revisions (amendments, changes, or supplements) to funds for the current year of existing grants.

If more than four lines are needed to list the program titles, submit additional schedules as necessary.

Line 20—Enter the total for each of the Columns (b)-(e). When additional schedules are prepared for this Section, annotate accordingly and show the overall totals on this line.

Section F. Other Budget Information

Line 21—Use this space to explain amounts for individual direct object class cost categories that may appear to be out of the ordinary or to explain the details as required by the Federal grantor agency.

Line 22—Enter the type of indirect rate (provisional, predetermined, final or fixed) that will be in effect during the funding period, the estimated amount of the base to which the rate is applied, and the total indirect expense.

Line 23—Provide any other explanations or comments deemed necessary.

Start Printed Page 38012

Start Printed Page 38013

Start Printed Page 38014

End Supplemental Information

Footnotes

1.  Some of the required partners are adult education and literacy activities under Title II of WIA; post-secondary vocational education activities under the Carl Perkins Act (20 U.S.C. 2301 et seq.); vocational rehabilitation programs authorized under title V of the Workforce Investment Act; welfare-to-work programs; veterans employment and training activities, community services block grant employment and training activities; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development employment and training activities, and activities authorized under Title V of the Older Americans Act (WIA sec. 121(b), 29 USCA 2841(b), 20 CFR 662.200).

Back to Citation

2.  These partners may become a subgroup or an advisory group of the Local Board. They may be specifically charged with coordinating funding, resources and expertise in order to increase customized employment for people with disabilities in the community.

Back to Citation

BILLING CODE 4510-23-P

BILLING CODE 4510-23-C

BILLING CODE 4510-23-P

[FR Doc. 01-18209 Filed 7-19-01; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4510-23-C