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Notice

Solicitation of Applications for the National Technical Assistance, Training, Research and Evaluation Program: Regional Training Curriculum Implementation

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AGENCY:

Economic Development Administration, Department of Commerce.

ACTION:

Notice and request for applications.

SUMMARY:

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) is soliciting applications for FY 2007 National Technical Assistance, Training, Research and Evaluation program (NTA Program) funding. Recent studies on economic development, including several EDA-funded reports, stress the importance of a regional approach to successful economic development. However, the actual implementation of economic development from the regional perspective is not robust. Therefore, in FY 2006, EDA funded the development of a practitioner-oriented curriculum to acquaint local economic development practitioners with the benefits, process, and practice of economic regionalism. Pursuant to this notice and the NTA Program, EDA now solicits applications to deliver this curriculum to practitioners across the Nation. EDA's mission is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. Through its NTA Program, EDA works towards fulfilling its mission by funding research and technical assistance projects to promote competitiveness and innovation in rural and urban regions throughout the United States and its territories. By working in conjunction with its research partners, EDA will help States, local governments, and community-based organizations to achieve their highest economic potential.

DATES:

To be considered timely, a completed application, regardless of the format in which it is submitted, must be either: (1) Received by the EDA representative listed below under “Paper Submissions” no later than August 13, 2007 at 5 p.m. EDT; or (2) transmitted and time-stamped at www.grants.gov no later than August 13, 2007 at 5 p.m. EDT. Any application received or transmitted, as the case may be, after 5 p.m. EDT on August 13, 2007 will be considered non-responsive and will not be considered for funding. Please see the instructions below under “Submitting Application Packages” for information regarding format options for submitting completed applications. The closing date and time are the same for paper submissions as for electronic Start Printed Page 38813submissions. By September 10, 2007, EDA expects to notify the applicant selected for investment assistance under this notice. The selected applicant should expect to receive funding for its project within thirty days of EDA's notification of selection. Applicants choosing to submit completed applications electronically in whole or in part through www.grants.gov should follow the instructions set out below under “Electronic Access” and in section IV. of the complete Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) announcement for this request for applications.

ADDRESSES:

Paper Submissions: Completed applications submitted pursuant to this notice and request for applications may be hand-delivered or mailed to William P. Kittredge, Senior Program Analyst, Economic Development Administration, Room 7009, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20230. Applicants are advised that, due to mail security measures, EDA's receipt of mail sent via the United States Postal Service may be substantially delayed or suspended in delivery. Applicants may wish to use a guaranteed overnight delivery service.

Electronic Submissions: Applicants submitting full or partial paper submissions are encouraged to do so by e-mail. Completed applications may be e-mailed to William P. Kittredge, Senior Program Analyst, at wkittredge@eda.doc.gov. Applicants also may submit applications electronically in whole or in part in accordance with the instructions provided at www.grants.gov and in section IV.B. of the FFO announcement. EDA strongly encourages that applicants not wait until the application closing date to begin the application process through www.grants.gov. The preferred file format for electronic attachments (e.g., the project narrative and additional exhibits to Form ED-900A and Form ED-900A's program-specific component) is portable document format (PDF); however, EDA will accept electronic files in Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, Lotus or Excel formats.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For additional information on the NTA Program or to obtain paper application packages for this notice, please contact William P. Kittredge, Senior Program Analyst, via e-mail at wkittredge@eda.doc.gov (preferred) or by telephone at (202) 482-5442.

For additional information regarding electronic submissions, please access the following link for assistance in navigating www.grants.gov and for a list of useful resources: http://www.grants.gov/​applicants/​applicant_​help.jsp. If you do not find an answer to your question under Frequently Asked Questions, try consulting the Applicant's User Guide. If you still cannot find an answer to your question, contact www.grants.gov via e-mail at support@grants.gov or telephone at 1-800-518-4726. The hours of operation for www.grants.gov are Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (EST) (except for federal holidays).

Additional information about EDA and its NTA Program may be obtained from EDA's Internet Web site at http://www.eda.gov. The complete FFO announcement for this request for applications is available at www.grants.gov and at http://www.eda.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background Information: Recent studies on economic development, including several EDA-funded reports, stress the importance of a regional approach to successful economic development. However, the actual implementation of economic development from the regional perspective is not robust. Therefore, in FY 2006, EDA funded the development of a practitioner-oriented curriculum to acquaint local economic development practitioners with the benefits, process, and practice of economic regionalism. Through this notice and request for applications, EDA now solicits applications for the nationwide delivery of this curriculum to economic development practitioners.

Applicants should describe the number of training sessions (workshops) contemplated, the methods by which appropriate participants will be identified, and what, if any, certification or other credential will be awarded to participants who successfully complete the training. The curriculum currently being developed is based, in part, on a needs assessment conducted as part of the development process. The assessment report is available online at http://knowyourregion.wcu.edu/​pdf/​EDANeedsAssessment.pdf.

The workshop format and materials are in the final stages of development. EDA anticipates the final format will be two-day workshops designed to develop forward-thinking regional economic development plans that generate momentum for regional economic development and help practitioners identify and access appropriate federal resources. Based on real world planning experiences in many different regions, as well as the latest thinking of federal policy makers, the workshops are intended to help economic development practitioners understand their regions in a knowledge-based economy and develop a global competitive advantage.

Under this notice and request for applications, a nationwide implementation of the workshops is required, although the specific number of workshops is at the applicant's discretion. Applications incorporating workshops that leverage EDA investment assistance are preferred. One example of leveraging is a workshop coincident with practitioner association meetings at the national, regional, and State levels. EDA will require the recipient to evaluate the workshops' impact via an exit survey, the results of which are reported to EDA following each workshop.

Application Package: An application package consists of the following three forms:

1. Form ED-900A, Application for Investment Assistance (OMB Control No. 0610-0094);

2. Form ED-900A's program-specific component, National Technical Assistance, Training, and Research and Evaluation Program Requirements (OMB Control No. 0610-0094); and

3. Form SF-424, Application for Federal Assistance (OMB Control No. 4040-0004).

Please note that applicants must submit all components of the application package in accordance with the instructions provided in sections IV. and VII.B. of the FFO announcement.

Submitting Application Packages: Applications may be submitted in one of three formats: (1) Full paper (hardcopy) submission; (2) partial paper (hardcopy) submission and partial electronic submission; or (3) full electronic submission, each in accordance with the procedures provided in section IV.B. of the FFO announcement. The content of the application is the same for paper submissions as it is for electronic submissions. Applications completed in accordance with the instructions set forth in the FFO announcement, regardless of the option chosen for submission, will be considered for EDA funding under this notice. Incomplete applications and applications submitted by facsimile will not be considered.

Section IV.C.2. of the FFO announcement provides a checklist of all items that a complete application package must include. As stated in section I.B. of the FFO announcement, EDA contemplates a three-year cycle of funding under this competitive solicitation. Therefore, applicants must submit a separate budget for each year of the three-year project period. The Start Printed Page 38814budget must include columns reflecting the federal, non-federal cash, non-federal in-kind and total amounts allocated to each budget line-item for each project year. Applicants should use the budget categories identified in “Section B—Budget Categories” of Form SF-424A, with sub-categories and explanations as necessary.

Paper Access: Each of the three forms listed above under “Application Package” are separate attachments available at http://www.eda.gov/​InvestmentsGrants/​Application.xml. You may print copies of each of these forms from http://www.eda.gov/​InvestmentsGrants/​Application.xml. You also may obtain paper application packages by contacting the EDA representative listed above under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Electronic Access: Applicants may apply electronically through www.grants.gov and may access this grant opportunity synopsis by following the instructions provided on http://www.grants.gov/​search/​basic.do. The synopsis will have an application package, which is an electronic file that contains forms pertaining to this specific grant opportunity. On http://www.grants.gov/​search/​basic.do, applicants can perform a basic search for this grant opportunity by completing the “Keyword Search,” the “Search by Funding Opportunity Number,” or the “Search by CFDA Number” field, and then clicking the “Search” button.

Funding Availability: EDA may use funds appropriated under the Revised Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2007, Pub. L. No. 110-5 (February 15, 2007) to make awards under the NTA Program authorized under section 207 of the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 3147), as amended (PWEDA), and 13 CFR part 306, subpart A. Approximately $2,700,000 is available, and shall remain available until expended, for funding awards pursuant to the NTA Program. Based on past experience with its NTA Program, EDA anticipates the award made under this request for applications to be between $275,000 and $375,000 for the first year of the project period. EDA published the first two of three Federal Register notices under the NTA Program on June 21, 2007 (72 FR 34225) and July 6, 2007 (72 FR 36952), respectively.

Statutory Authority: The authority for the NTA Program is PWEDA. EDA published final regulations (codified at 13 CFR chapter III) in the Federal Register on September 27, 2006 (71 FR 56658). The final regulations became effective upon publication and reflect changes made to PWEDA by the Economic Development Administration Reauthorization Act of 2004 (Pub. L. No. 108-373, 118 Stat. 1756 (2004)). These regulations will govern an award made under this notice and request for applications. The final regulations and PWEDA are accessible on EDA's Internet Web site at http://www.eda.gov/​InvestmentsGrants/​Lawsreg.xml.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Numbers: 11.303, Economic Development—Technical Assistance; 11.312, Economic Development—Research and Evaluation.

Eligibility Requirement: Pursuant to PWEDA, eligible applicants for and eligible recipients of EDA investment assistance include a District Organization; an Indian Tribe or a consortium of Indian Tribes; a State; a city or other political subdivision of a State, including a special purpose unit of a State or local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of political subdivisions; an institution of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education; a public or private non-profit organization or association; and, as provided in section 207 of PWEDA (42 U.S.C. 3147) for the NTA Program, a private individual or a for-profit organization. See section 3 of PWEDA (42 U.S.C. 3122) and 13 CFR 300.3.

Cost Sharing Requirement: Generally, the amount of the EDA grant may not exceed fifty (50) percent of the total cost of the project. However, a project may receive an additional amount that shall not exceed thirty (30) percent, based on the relative needs of the region in which the project will be located, as determined by EDA. See section 204(a) of PWEDA (42 U.S.C. 3144) and 13 CFR 301.4(b)(1). Under this request for applications, the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development (Assistant Secretary) also has the discretion to establish a maximum EDA investment rate of up to one hundred (100) percent where the project (i) merits and is not otherwise feasible without an increase to the EDA investment rate; or (ii) will be of no or only incidental benefit to the recipient. See section 204(c)(3) of PWEDA (42 U.S.C. 3144) and 13 CFR 301.4(b)(4).

While cash contributions are preferred, in-kind contributions, consisting of assumptions of debt or contributions of space, equipment, and services, may provide the non-federal share of the total project cost. See section 204(b) of PWEDA (42 U.S.C. 3144). EDA will fairly evaluate all in-kind contributions, which must be eligible project costs and meet applicable federal cost principles and uniform administrative requirements. Funds from other federal financial assistance awards are considered matching share funds only if authorized by statute that allows such use, which may be determined by EDA's reasonable interpretation of the statute. See 13 CFR 300.3. The applicant must show that the matching share is committed to the project, available as needed and not conditioned or encumbered in any way that precludes its use consistent with the requirements of EDA investment assistance. See 13 CFR 301.5.

Intergovernmental Review: Applications under the NTA Program are not subject to Executive Order 12372, “Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.”

Evaluation and Selection Procedures: To apply for an award under this request for applications, an eligible applicant must submit a completed application package to EDA before the closing date and time specified in the DATES section of this notice, and in the manner provided in section IV. of the FFO announcement. Any application received or transmitted, as the case may be, after 5 p.m. EDT on August 13, 2007 will not be considered for funding. Applications that do not meet all items required or that exceed the page limitations set forth in section IV.C. of the FFO announcement will be considered non-responsive and will not be considered by the review panel. By September 10, 2007, EDA expects to notify the applicant selected for investment assistance under this notice. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by postal mail that their applications were not selected for funding. Applications that meet all the requirements will be evaluated by a review panel comprised of at least three EDA staff members, all of whom will be full-time federal employees.

Evaluation Criteria: The review panel will evaluate the applications and rate and rank them using the following criteria of approximate equal weight:

1. Conformance with EDA's statutory and regulatory requirements, including the extent to which the proposed project satisfies the award requirements set out below and as provided in 13 CFR 306.2:

a. Strengthens the capacity of local, State or national organizations and institutions to undertake and promote effective economic development programs targeted to regions of distress;

b. Benefits distressed regions; and

c. Demonstrates innovative approaches to stimulate economic development in distressed regions;

2. The degree to which an EDA investment will have strong Start Printed Page 38815organizational leadership, relevant project management experience and a significant commitment of human resources talent to ensure the project's successful execution (see 13 CFR 301.8(b));

3. The ability of the applicant to implement the proposed project successfully (see 13 CFR 301.8);

4. The feasibility of the budget presented;

5. The cost to the Federal government; and

6. The extent to which the application:

a. Includes workshops that leverage EDA investment assistance; and

b. Exhibits regional dispersal and an estimated size of the audience and its composition (e.g., urban and rural practitioners).

Selection Factors: The Assistant Secretary, as the Selecting Official, expects to fund the highest ranking application, as recommended by the review panel, submitted under this notice. However, the Assistant Secretary may not make any selection, or he may select an application out of rank order for the following reasons: (1) A determination that the application better meets the overall objectives of sections 2 and 207 of PWEDA (42 U.S.C. 3121 and 3147); (2) the applicant's performance under previous awards; or (3) the availability of funding.

The Department of Commerce Pre-Award Notification Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements

The Department of Commerce Pre-Award Notification Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements, published in the Federal Register on December 30, 2004 (69 FR 78389), is applicable to this request for applications. This notice may be accessed by entering the Federal Register volume and page number provided in the previous sentence at the following Internet Web site: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/​fr/​retrieve.html.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This request for applications contains collections of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved the use of Form ED-900A (Application for Investment Assistance) under control number 0610-0094. Form ED-900A's program-specific component (National Technical Assistance, Training, and Research and Evaluation Program Requirements) also is approved under OMB control number 0610-0094, and incorporates Forms SF-424A (Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs, OMB control number 0348-0044) and SF-424B (Assurances—Non-Construction Programs, OMB control number 0348-0040). OMB has approved the use of Form SF-424 (Application for Financial Assistance) under control number 4040-0004. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements of the PRA unless the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number.

Executive Order 12866

This notice has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review.

Executive Order 13132

It has been determined that this notice does not contain “policies that have Federalism implications,” as that phrase is defined in Executive Order 13132,Federalism.

Administrative Procedure Act/Regulatory Flexibility Act

Prior notice and an opportunity for public comments are not required by the Administrative Procedure Act or any other law for rules concerning grants, benefits, and contracts (5 U.S.C. 553(a)(2)). Because notice and opportunity for comment are not required pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553 or any other law, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) are inapplicable. Therefore, a regulatory flexibility analysis has not been prepared.

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Dated: July 9, 2007.

Benjamin Erulkar,

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development and Chief Operating Officer.

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[FR Doc. E7-13586 Filed 7-13-07; 8:45 am]

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