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Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

Questions and Answers (Q and A) from the Workplace Bidder's Conference March 2, 2015

These questions and answers (Q and A) are from the Workplace Bidder's Conference March 2, 2015 and from the Workplace Education RFP online mailbox. (Updated May 21, 2015)

Q1:
Does the business have to be a for-profit?
A1:
The business can also be a nonprofit.
 
 
Q2:
Is there a minimum number of students for each class?
A2:
Each class is required to have a minimum of ten (10) students at all times.
 
 
Q3:
Eligibility: Can the partnership be the same partnership previously funded through Learn at Work?
A3:
Education providers must submit with new business partners to apply for the Open and Competitive Workplace Education grant program.
 
 
Q4:
If an employer has employees through a contract with a temp agency, would those employees be considered incumbent workers?
A4:
Employees contracted through a temp agency are not considered incumbent workers, therefore ineligible.
 
 
Q5:
There is an error on the Standard Application for Grants signatory page. It states the budget is due on August 15, 2015.
A5:
Workplace education proposals for planning grants, with accompanying budgets and the signed Memoranda of Agreement to conduct a planning process are due to ACLS not later than 3: 00 PM on June 5, 2015. See the RFP for further details.
 
 
Q6:
Is there an expectation of when programs are expected to deliver a class?
A6:
The final workplace needs analyses reports, budgets, budget and match narratives, Statement of Assurances, and Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) are due to ACLS by October 9, 2015. See the RFP for further details.
 
 
Q7:
What is the logic of having the range of possible grant awards funded for the same types of projects at the same costs as in past years?
A7:
Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals and budgets that reflect the real costs of the projects. From past experience, ACLS also knows that not every project requests a large grant award. The ranges provided were to accommodate projects of all scopes and sizes.
 
 
Q8:
Can applicants apply for more money than is provided in the higher end of the grant awards that appear in the RFP?
A8:
Yes.
 
 
Q9:
If we put in for higher will we receive that?
A9:
ACLS may negotiate some grant awards; however, no applicant is guaranteed to receive a grant award.
 
 
Q10:
There seems to be a huge time to plan for the proposal and [a] shorter [time] to implement?
A10:
Providers during previous rounds of funding communicated to ACLS that time for education partners to identify and plan their proposals with potential business partners will increase the number of partnerships eligible to apply.
 
 
Q11:
Those business partners with Learn at Work cannot apply?
A11:
No, business partners currently working with education providers are not eligible to apply for these grants.
 
 
Q12:
Could it happen that an outcome of the workplace analysis is that a partnership cannot move forward to Phase 2 Implementation?
A12:
Yes, that can be an outcome. For this reason, planning grants are awarded before implementation grants.
 
 
Q13:
Sometimes there are manufacturers who may call and cancel classes due to manufacturing process being in high demand. How is this factored in?
A13:
The typical program design for workplace education classes is minimal. We encourage providers to help employers understand the importance of the class hours for students to make learning gains. Partnerships can explore options for how they structure the instructional weeks. For example, these can be structured in cycles or semesters. A flexible schedule, wherever possible, is needed to meet the student needs, but also the needs of the employer.
 
 
Q14:
Can the employer provide stipends to students as match?
A14:
Yes.
 
 
Q15:
Is there a cutoff of points when proposal are reviewed?
A15:
There is no determined cutoff to announce. Proposals are reviewed for strengths in all sections.
 
 
Q16:
How do you determine if a program is successful?
A16:
ACLS reviews the WNA report, budget, budget and match narrative, Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), and signed Statement of Assurances. ACLS must also consider the funding available for Phase 2 Implementation.
 
 
Q17:
If they students are paid while in class, is that consider a match?
A17:
Yes.
 
 
Q18:
Is there is specific release time for employers?
A18:
No, we do not specify [a specific release time].
 
 
Q19:
Can the grants pay for advising?
A19:
If you work that into your plan, we can evaluate it.
 
 
Q20:
If you are working with a workforce competitive grant, can you also have a grant from ACLS?
A20:
Yes, partnerships are still eligible to receive a workplace education grant from ACLS if they are part of a workforce competitive trust fund grant.
 
 
Q21:
Is there a number you are looking for in administration?
A21:
Partnerships should request what they believe is appropriate and clarify the expenses in the budget narrative.
 
 
Q22:
Can we offer computer skills training?
A22:
Technology must be incorporated into the academics, into the instruction.
 
 
Q23:
Can class be a union hall?
A23:
Yes.
 
 
Q24:
Can class be at a main street organization or at a consortium of smaller businesses?
A24:
Yes.
 
 
Q25:
Who would be the applicant?
A25:
The education provider will be the applicant and provide an MOA with each business.
 
 
Q26:
Can the union sign the MOA for the members?
A26:
It is not clear from the question if the employer is playing a role in the partnership. If the employer is a partner, the employer must sign the MOA.
 
 
Q27:
Why does the sample MOA have a placeholder for a signature for the labor union?
A27:
The sample MOA is a sample that each partnership should adapt to its unique needs.
 
 
Q28:
Could we propose a program to serve daycare providers?
A28:
Yes.
 
 
Q29:
Is there a tax incentive for the business if they allow release time for staff?
A29:
No, we are not aware of such an incentive.
 
 
Q30:
How can we market the program?
A30:
We cannot answer that question at this bidders' conference.
 
 
Q31:
The range of grant award amounts are too low. These are the same amounts we saw in the RFP eight years ago.
A31:
Please ask for what you will need when you write your RFP.
 
 
Q32:
Can the teacher be the workplace education coordinator as well?
A32:
Yes.
 
 
Q33:
Will there be any geographic consideration given how they are funded?
A33:
ACLS often does look at how initiatives are funded across the state.
 
 
Q34:
This question is in regards to Question # 7 in the RFP: Describe the plan to evaluate the effectiveness and projected outcomes of the WNA process.

Are you asking about an evaluation plan for the "outcomes" (for example how we plan to evaluate the effectiveness of the projected implementation phase if that's the outcome), or an analysis of the WNA "process" itself (e.g. the partners and their evaluation of the WNA process and how it evolved?)

A34:
ACLS expects to have an articulation of the plan to evaluate the WNA process.
 
 
Q35:
This question is in regards to Question # 4 in the RFP: Determine the methodology...to collect information to determine the readiness of the business partner.

It seems like much of the information about the readiness and commitment of the business partner is included in the MOA and part of the WNA process itself. Do you want us to highlight that information here, or were you looking for something different? Are there any examples of previous data collection methods or findings that you found especially helpful?

A35:
Please review the Massachusetts Guidelines for Effective Workplace Education Partnerships. In the section entitled: Phase One: Planning, there is information on WNA Tools and Methods intended to be useful to applicants for determining the readiness of the business partner.
 
 
Q36:
Is a workforce investment board eligible to apply for the Workplace Education Planning Grant?
A36:
The workforce boards are well positioned to broker business and education partnerships but are not eligible applicants.
 
 
Q37:
Are these all the documents: Part I (Signature page), Part II (Budget detail), Part III (Required program information), a budget narrative and a MOA from our business partner? Do I need to submit anything else?
A37:
Applicants are advised to review the Open and Competitive Workplace Education Planning Grant. See the sections entitled:
  1. Required Forms
  2. Summary of Activities for Phases 1 and 2 as well as the section entitled,
  3. Part III Required Program Information.
 
 


Last Updated: May 27, 2015
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