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Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

Questions and Answers for the FY 16 Integrated Education and Training (IET) Request for Proposals (RFP)

These are responses to the questions received through the Integrated Education and Training RFP online mailbox
As of March 15, 2016 — New Questions & Answers in Red

  1. How does an organization become an Adult Basic Education (ABE) Provider?

    1. ACLS currently funds approximately 100 programs across the state in community colleges, local educational agencies, community-based organizations, libraries, correctional institutions, and workplace settings. ACLS funds various types of classes: English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Adult Basic Education (ABE), Workplace Education, Transition to College, Family Literacy, ABE in Correctional Settings, and Volunteer programs. There are a few ways to become an ABE provider. The first is to apply during an Open and Competitive process that takes place approximately every 5 years. The next Open and Competitive process will start in the fall of 2016 when the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will issue an Open and Competitive RFP for ABE services. Submitted proposals will be reviewed and successful applicants will be notified of their award amounts. Successful programs will offer ABE services starting July 1, 2017. Another way is to partner with an existing ABE provider during the Open and Competitive process. For this IET RFP, a non-ESE funded provider can partner with an existing ABE program to offer the integrated training component of the IET program.

  2. Would a bridge to college program with a focus on preparing students for college coursework in healthcare and STEM work within this grant? The concurrent work would include HiSET prep concurrently with college readiness prep. This would prepare students to enter Healthcare 101 at the community college to prepare students for healthcare careers.

    1. No. For this grant, priority will be given to programs that collaborate on the training with one or more employers, postsecondary education program, training provider or school with a Chapter 74 Career/Vocational Technical Education program. The goal of these grants is to provide programs through which eligible adults can receive ABE services concurrently and contextually with workforce training for specific occupations in high-demand industries, with the goal of receiving an industry-recognized certificate or certification.

  3. Can applicants request funds to pay for a training program taking place at a community college?

    1. Yes, as long as the training program meets the eligibility requirements for Providers of Training Services under WIOA Section 122(a) and the program is integrated into and not separate from the IET program.

  4. Are computer skills considered a basic skill under the IET grant guidelines?

    1. For the education component of the program, applicants must offer ABE, HiSET, or ESOL classes. Digital Literacy should be incorporated into the instruction.

  5. If a program wants to propose an IET model that includes Civics Education, is that possible? If so, should one narrative with two budgets (one for each grant year) be submitted?

    1. Civics Education is a required activity for Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education (IEL/CE) proposals; those programs must offer ESOL instruction contextually and concurrently with occupational skills training. Services also must include instruction on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and civic participation.

  6. Would First Aid/CPR credentials satisfy WIOA in Massachusetts?

    1. The intent under WIOA is for students to earn industry-recognized credentials sought by employers within an industry or sector. In addition, WIOA intends for students to earn credentials that will advance them along pathways in their chosen professions. The First Aid/CPR certificate is a general certificate available to anyone, and not only those intending to pursue medical careers.

  7. Would a team-teaching Integrated Basic English Skills Training (I-BEST) be allowed under IET grants?

    1. Yes, a team teaching model similar to Washington State's I-BEST model is allowable under this grant.

  8. Could a program serve high school graduates with this funding?

    1. Please see the answer to question #20.

  9. Will Massachusetts be identifying a model or will programs be choosing them?

    1. For this RFP, Massachusetts will not be identifying a model. Programs are asked to propose models responsive to regional high-demand industries.

  10. Will ACLS help programs develop a list or characteristics of what courses/activities meet the "postsecondary" definition for WIOA outcomes?

    1. For this RFP, ACLS is giving priority to applicants who propose to partner with an employer, Chapter 74/Career Vocational Technical Education program, postsecondary education, and/or a training provider to offer the training component. With regard to the postsecondary education partner, this may include a college or a training program at a postsecondary level.

  11. If a student needs to take a state test after they finish the training portion of a program, could funds from this grant be used to pay the fee?

    1. Yes, as long as the state test is for a training program that meets the eligibility requirements for Providers of Training Services under WIOA Section 122(a).

  12. Will programs need to have employment outcomes? If yes, what is the time frame?

    1. If employment outcomes are proposed for a program design, then programs will be expected to place adults in unsubsidized employment in high-demand industries and occupations that lead to economic self-sufficiency, as per WIOA Section 243(c). There is no timeframe for employment outcomes.

  13. What is the measurement of success for programs with employment outcomes?

    1. Please see Part III, Question #1 of the RFP.

  14. Does this RFP require that the lead agency be an ABE/ESOL provider, or could a postsecondary education institution be the lead agency in collaboration with an ABE provider?

    1. A currently-funded ACLS ABE provider must be the lead agency. Please refer to the Eligibility section of the RFP.

  15. Is there any flexibility with the March 18, 2016 due date for proposals?

    1. No, all proposals will be due at 3:00 pm on March 18, 2016.

  16. Since there are two budgets required for the IET grants, are there also two cover pages (Part I) required? Should there be one for FY16 ending August 31, 2016 and one for FY17?

    1. Only one signed Program Unit Signature Page (Part I) with the FY 2016 amount is required.

  17. Could the 20% matching funds come from federal or public funds?

    1. Federal funds cannot be used for the match on this grant. Other funds are allowable unless there is a specific restriction from the funding source. The source of matching funds must be specified.

  18. Could a program offer an ABE component followed by a training component?

    1. No, the ABE component must be offered concurrently and contextually with the vocational component.

  19. What is the source of the 359/686 grant?

    1. These are federal funds.

  20. Can programs give students stipends?

    1. No, not for this pilot project.

IET RFP Bidders' Conference Questions and Answers

Please note: There are multiple references to years in these questions and answers. For your reference, Year One is May 2016 - August 2016, and Year Two is September 2016 - August 2017.

  1. Could a Workplace Education model be proposed for this RFP?

    1. No, Workplace Education is a separate grant with different requirements.

  2. Is there any difference in services between ESOL and ABE?

    1. IET services are for ABE/ASE students, and IEL/CE services are for ESOL students.

  3. Could a program apply for both sources of funding? Could there be a portion for native speakers and ESOL?

    1. Applicants that intend to apply for both IET and IEL/CE should identify the number of slots for each program. IEL/CE programs are intended for English language learners.

  4. If a program is intending to serve ESOL students, should the proposal explain how this will be done?

    1. Yes. There is separate funding for IEL/CE and the Department needs to be able to make a distinction between the two funding sources.

  5. The website directions for the IET grant state that, "Approximately $450,000 is available for two to four IET and/or IEL/CE grant awards ranging from approximately $40,000-$80,000." Is it $40,000 - $80,000 per year?

    1. Yes, $40,000 - $80,000 per year, contingent upon state and federal appropriations.

  6. Is the $40,000-$80,000 award range for the whole duration of the grant?

    1. No, that award range is for each year of the grant subject to state and federal appropriations.

  7. If there are two budgets for two time periods, does each budget have a maximum of $80,000?

    1. Yes, each budget has a maximum of $80,000. ACLS would expect Year One to be prorated since it is not a full calendar year unless the model is different from what is proposed for Year Two.

  8. Is it allowable to expend less than $40,000 in Year One of the grant?

    1. Yes, it is allowable. Year One funds could be prorated since the timeframe is from May to August only.

  9. If a program costs $100,000, would an applicant submit a budget requesting $80,000 from DESE and a match budget of $20,000?

    1. Yes. Applicants must cover 20% of program costs in a match budget (i.e., with matching funds).

  10. Could applicants propose a model that offers outreach, intake, assessment, and planning from May to August and implementation in the next (full) year?

    1. No, direct services must be proposed in each year of the grant period.

  11. If a program is proposing one industry in Year One, and a different industry focus in Year Two, the outcomes may be different. Could the program submit two proposals in this instance?

    1. No, only one proposal, but distinguish the difference between the two programs.

  12. Can a program focus on one industry in Year One of the grant and a different one in Year Two?

    1. Yes, a different industry can be proposed for Year Two. Programs need to ensure that their models focus on high-demand industries in their regions and creating pathways for students.

  13. Does there need to be two program designs and budgets?

    1. If they are different, then there needs to be one program design and budget for May through August 2016, and then another for September 2016 through August 2017.

  14. Can Year Two be combined or offered through an existing Adult Career Pathways program?

    1. No, IET or IEL/CE and Adult Career Pathways are different programs. IET and IEL/CE programs require an occupational skills training component.

  15. Is it possible to apply only for Year Two? Is there a disadvantage in doing this?

    1. Yes, programs can apply only for Year Two. However, applicants would automatically lose six points in the Year One Program Design and Budget parts of the application.

  16. Would recruiting, selecting, and assessing students be enough for the first year of the grant?

    1. No, direct services need to be offered in both years of the grant.

  17. Is Information Technology (IT) considered to be STEM?

    1. Yes, IT qualifies as technology.

  18. What is the anticipated award date?

    1. Awards are expected to be announced by late April 2016.

  19. Is there a particular number of students programs should serve? Could programs enroll current students or does the program need to enroll a new cohort?

    1. There is no minimum number of students that should be enrolled; however, proposed models must be cost-effective. Programs can propose to either enroll new students or current ones as long as the IET or IEL/CE funds are used to supplement and not supplant current services. Please refer to models like I-BEST that combine ESOL or ABE/ASE components with occupational skills training programs.

  20. Are students with high school diplomas from this country eligible?

    1. Yes, but students must be able to demonstrate that they have not achieved an equivalent level of education and are in need of ABE services to enter training or postsecondary education or a certification program. Students must assess below a 12th Grade Level Equivalent (GLE).

  21. Are students with diplomas from other countries eligible?

    1. Yes, if those students are in need of English language instruction in reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension of the English language and/or have not achieved an equivalent level of education.

  22. Do programs need to use the MAPT or TABE Clas-E for assessing students?

    1. Programs must use tests that are approved by the National Reporting System (NRS) to assess students (e.g., MAPT for ABE/ASE levels and TABE Clas-E for ESOL services).

  23. Would a student need to have completed a certificate program by the end of the grant period (e.g., a pharmacy technician certification takes 18 months)?

    1. As long as students are co-enrolled in the ABE/ASE or ESOL program and education services are occurring concurrently with the training, then students do not have to complete certificate or other training programs by August 31, 2017. However, programs must ensure that training that is part of this IET continues to be free for enrolled students by leveraging other resources for that period of time.

  24. Is there a Letter of Intent template?

    1. No, there is no Letter of Intent template.

  25. For the Letter of Intent, is ACLS looking for a detailed 1-2 page letter about the program or a brief statement noting our intent to apply for the grant?

    1. A brief statement noting a program's intent to submit a proposal is all that is needed.

  26. What pages are not included in the page limit for this RFP?

    1. Responses to Part IV, Program Design and Part V, Budget, and Appendix H are not included in the page limit for this RFP.

  27. Is it a requirement for students to earn a credential?

    1. Yes.

  28. What program measures will be used?

    1. ACLS is asking programs to describe the measures they intend to use to evaluate their programs' effectiveness.

  29. Is there a specific industry we should target?

    1. Health Care, STEM, and Advanced Manufacturing are the recommended industries, but applicants may submit a proposal targeting other industries with a rationale for why that industry was selected.

  30. Training Center teachers often are paid higher rates than ABE grants support. Will there be flexibility here?

    1. Yes. ACLS encourages applicants to leverage funds for the training component of the program. DESE funds can be used for training.

  31. If programs are working with a training vendor, could that vendor be identified under contractual services in the budget?

    1. Yes, but in the budget narrative ACLS would need to see what exactly is being contracted and how the funds would be spent.

  32. Do programs submit a SMARTT program plan with their proposals or is a SMARTT plan required only after a program is awarded funding?

    1. A SMARTT program plan is not to be submitted with the proposal. Programs will enter their data into SMARTT after they are awarded funding.

  33. Does the 20% administrative cap apply to the match?

    1. Administrative costs cannot exceed 20% of the funds received. There is no administrative cap on the match.

  34. Can the match be an in-kind?

    1. It is up to the applicant to propose the match and cover the costs not covered by the grant.

  35. Could ACLS explain the partnership with the Career and Vocational Technical Education (CVTE) schools?

    1. ABE programs can leverage CVTE school faculty expertise, facilities, and other resources.

  36. For ABE grants, a percentage of funds are set aside for supplies and materials. Is the percentage the same for this RFP or will there be more flexibility?

    1. There will be more flexibility.

  37. Is there a minimum number of weeks required for direct services?

    1. No, but ACLS is looking for models that advance students quickly. National IET and IEL/CE programs typically range from eight weeks to six months.

  38. Is Civics Education the focus of this RFP?

    1. Programs need to offer ESOL instruction contextually and concurrently with occupational skills training. The services also need to include instruction on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and civic participation.

  39. How many slots are programs expected to fill?

    1. Programs are asked to propose number of slots and design cost effective models.

  40. On page two, under Eligibility, do potential students have to meet the criteria listed under all three bullets?

    1. All students enrolled in services funded under WIOA must meet WIOA eligibility criteria. See WIOA Sec. 203(4).

  41. Do programs have to show that they are Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant in any way?

    1. Yes, all programs must comply with ADA.

  42. In addition to credentials, what outcomes are required?

    1. Programs are asked to propose student outcomes for their models. Refer to WIOA performance accountability measures (six common measures) for all core programs including Title II (Adult Education and Family Literacy Act) under which ITA and IEL/CE services are funded.

  43. Is the IEL/CE class intended to focus only on English Literacy with Civic instruction integrated (including U.S. history, government, etc.), or does ACLS intend that the IEL/CE would integrate not only English Literacy and Civics, but also specific job training, (i.e., occupational training)?

    1. Proposed IEL/CE models for this RFP must include occupational training. This pilot is for IEL/CE programs funded under Section 243 of AEFLA. Programs funded under Section 243 must be provided in combination with integrated education and training (IET) that is concurrent and contextualized with occupational skills training and Civics Education. These programs must be designed to "(1) prepare adults who are English language learners for, and place such adults in, unsubsidized employment in-demand industries and occupations that lead to economic self-sufficiency; and (2) integrate with the local workforce development system and its functions to carry out the activities of the program."

Last Updated: March 15, 2016
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