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Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

Adult Career Pathways Questions and Answers

Each time this document is updated, answers to questions will be noted in red font.

Q1:
The Hampden County REB specifies that programs must be 20 hours per week for 24 weeks. That's 480 hours. Would it be acceptable for a program to run for more hours per week and meet for fewer weeks as long as the class meets for a total of 480 hours?
A1:
Applicants should propose a design in keeping with the workforce priority and that meets the needs of the students. By means of the narrative responses, applicants should provide a rationale for designs that are slightly adapted from those articulated in the workforce priority.
 
 
Q2:
The Hampden County REB list 5 industry sectors to be addressed. May we choose only 1 or 2, or must we address all five?
A2:
The Hampden County REB does not mandate a particular industry sector. Several industry sectors are referenced as examples, but none are mandated.
 
 
Q3:
For program design, ACLS is open to either rates-based or non-rates or a combination. Is it possible to get the SMARTT folks to allow the class to be team-taught in the SMARTT plan so that we don't have to have separate classes for each teacher? In other words, to assign two teachers to the class?
A3:
The ACLS policy for instruction does not support team teaching.
 
 
Q4:
In our program, ACP-funded classes are closely integrated with our CALC 345 classes and are part of our continuum of three levels at two sites. We plan to respond to the ACP rfp with very similar set of services and classes. We are concerned that the timing of the ACP open and competitive application will make it difficult to write an accurate CALC refunding application because it is unlikely that we will know the results of the ACP in time to inform the continuation application.

Will results of the 541 open and competitive rfp be posted in time to inform the 345 refunding application?

A4:
The FY 15- FY 17 Adult Career Pathways Open and Competitive is an initiative with its own set of guidelines and priorities. In FY 15, a Community Adult Learning Center (CALC) may or may not be funded for an Adult Career Pathways grant; and, if funded, may not be funded for the same amount as in the past or to provide the same set of services as in the past. Adult Career Pathways services should not be used to complete a sequence of classes at the CALC.

CALCS should plan to submit 340/345/359 SMARTT plans and budgets without Adult Career Pathways funding. Award notices for Adult Career Pathways will be made in June 2014.

 
 
Q5:
Should applicants submit a program plan in SMARTT as part of the application process or is the program plan to be completed upon notification of funding?
A5:
Applicants should not attempt to submit a program plan in SMARTT. Applicants must complete a grid that details a class plan as part of the proposal, including costs for every rate based and non-rates classes. Sample grids are supplied in the RFP. Once the final program design has been approved, the successful applicant will then be required to complete a class plan in SMARTT.
 
 
Q6:
After reviewing the Letter of Intent information, it is not clear if the Superintendent (instead of the Director) is required to sign this document. Please let me know when you have a moment.
A6:
The Director, the Superintendent or other staff in the program may sign the letter of intent.
 
 
Q7:
Can I confer with my Workforce Development partner about this grant?
A7:
No. It is suggested that applicants review the Guidelines for Adult Career Pathways and propose a design in keeping with the workforce priority and that meets the needs of the students.
 
 
Q8:
What is the committed funding for Community Adult Learning Centers that is not for rebid?
A8:
Committed funding for Community Adult Learning Centers from fund code 541 that support CALC services will remain with the CALC (based on performance and appropriations) for the remaining three years of the CALC five-year funding cycle.
 
 
Q9:
I would like to know if programs can ask for money through the Career Pathways RFP to hire a college and career coach instead of funding a class? In our case, the coach would work with current students in our ESOL for Human Services Program (students already have a high school equivalency diploma) and in our Hi-SET Fast Track classes. During the year there are 20 -30 students who need intensive college and career follow up that is beyond the job scope of our current staff. Would this be a legitimate use of the funds and would it be something that Career Pathways would consider funding?
A9:
Applicants should respond to the narrative questions and propose a design in keeping with the workforce priority and that meets the needs of the students. By means of the narrative responses, applicants should provide a rationale for designs that are slightly adapted from those articulated in the workforce priority.

Eligible students for the Adult Career Pathways are individuals who: have attained 16 years of age, and are not enrolled or required to be enrolled in secondary school under state law, and who either:

  • lack sufficient mastery of basic educational skills to enable the individuals to function effectively in society,
  • do not have a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent, and have not achieved an equivalent level of education, or
  • are unable to speak, read, or write the English language.

In all regions, proposals should demonstrate sufficient intensity and duration of service so that students can achieve their goals.

 
 
Q10:
In the Adult Career Pathways RFP, Part II - Organizational Capacity Question Two reads, "Describe how your program is equipped to support the technology needs of an adult career pathways program. If you are applying for technology funding, how will you use this funding to support the achievement of your region's priority/priorities?"

For clarification - is there separate technology funding outside of the amounts designated for each region that we are required to apply for during this RFP process? If not, and programs are requesting a portion of the region's allocation to be used for technology purchases within the proposed program, should we be responding to this question?

A10:
There is no separate technology funding outside of the amounts designated for each region. Applicants must determine their technology needs in order to meet the workforce priority, the needs of their students and to develop a program design. The technology expenditures must be balanced with other important expenditures needed to develop an effective Adult Career Pathways program. Technology must be integrated into the curriculum and instruction. If an applicant determines technology funds are needed, that applicant should respond to the question.
 
 
Q11:
Funding Formula Question

In the past, ABE programs received funding with 10% of the funds allocated for the region to be set aside for administrative costs to the LWIB. During this open and competitive process, will 10% of the funds allocated in the RFP totals continue to be set aside for the administrative costs to the WIBs, thereby reducing the allocation available for ABE programs in each region?

A11:
During this open and competitive process, approximately 10% of the funds allocated in the RFP totals will continue to be set aside for administrative costs to the workforce partner. This does reduce the allocation available for ABE programs in each region. Each workforce partner expects to be engaged in some supportive way to the Adult Career Pathways programs in its region. The workforce involvement will vary from region to region.
 
 
Q12:
Will an organization or institution that failed to submit Letter of Intent to Apply be automatically disqualified as a bidder?
A12:
No. It is not necessary to submit a Letter of Intent to apply for Adult Career Pathways funding.
 
 
Q13:
Can the CP program plan include a non rate class from the SMARTT pull down menu - Individual Advising?
A13:
Yes.
 
 
Q14:
Would a CP student have to be enrolled in a rates based class if they are enrolled in a supplemental non rate class ie: College and Career Readiness (SP Non rate).
A14:
An applicant may propose a range of rate based and /or non rates classes as part of the Adult Career Pathway design. Note that The FY 15- FY 17 Adult Career Pathways Open and Competitive is an initiative with its own set of guidelines and priorities.
 
 
Q15:
In Part III, Section III Program Design, are we limited to the dropdown options listed? There are options (e.g. Algebra, Core ABE/ESOL, Homeless or in NRB SA Content Area, SP Computer Literacy) in SMARTT that are not listed. Can we choose among those as well?

Here is what is in the RFP:

Sample selections of Rate Based Class Dropdowns as seen in SMARTT:
  • Math/Numeracy

  • Algebra

  • Reading/Writing

  • Listening/Speaking(ESOL)

  • Bridge to College/Math

  • Bridge to College/Writing

Sample items Non Rate Based Class Dropdowns as seen in the SMARTT System
  • CS: Construction
  • CS: Early Childhood Education
  • CS: Financial Services
  • CS: Green Jobs
  • CS: Health Care
  • CS: Hospitality
  • CS: Manufacturing
  • CS: Other
  • CS: Professional Services
  • CS: Retail
  • CS: Technology
  • CS: Travel and Tourism
  • CS: Customer Service
  • CS: Career Exploration
  • CS: Human Services
A15:
Applicants should feel free to select from any options in SMARTT drop downs to design a class plan.
 
 

Adult Career Pathways Bidders Conference (The Boston Foundation)-April 23, 2014

Q16:
Will the Adult Career Pathways programs be included in the performance standards?
A16:
No.
 
 
Q17:
The RFP states that students who have a high school diploma do not qualify, but can it be clarified that students who are eligible for CALC services are eligible for Adult Career Pathways service?
A17:
Please refer to the answer to Question #9.
 
 

Partnerships for a Skilled Workforce (formerly Metro South/West)

Q18:
In reference to the Health Care Learning Network (HCLN) , it was understood going into FY 15 that potential students may receive instructional services after they acquire the high school credential and not while they are preparing to get one. Can ALCS clarify whether not students are eligible qualify for the ACP?
A18:
Students eligible for the HCLN must read at the 8th grade level. They may be employed or unemployed but must express an interest in education and/or careers related to health care.
 
 
Q19:
Related to question #3in the RFP under Organizational Capacity: Describe the training and ongoing support needed from the workforce development entity to implement and evaluate the program. What ongoing training and support is needed from the WIB? What if we don't need that much training from the WIB?
A19:
Before applicants determine no ongoing training and support is needed from the workforce partner, careful consideration might be given to the regional workforce priority (ies), the Guidelines for Adult Career Pathways, the Adult Career Pathways RFP questions and the needs of the students for college and career readiness.
 
 
Q20:
Related to question #4 under organizational capacity: Evaluating the program- What measurements and outcomes we are looking for? Should we use what we did last year?
A20:
ACLS encourages potential applicants to view the Adult Career Pathways RFP and Guidelines as an opportunity to craft a program that meets the needs of all stakeholders. It is key not to view this opportunity as a continuation application. Applicants are not limited to the NRS -required assessments to measure success, but are encouraged to create and/or adapt tools that seem reasonable and effective to learn the success of collaborations, as well as to assess instructional and support services.
 
 
Q21:
Can we set our own outcomes?
A21:
See the answer to question #20.
 
 
Q22:
Where does is it stated that the NRS assessments are required?
A22:
See response below copied from page 5 in the MA Guidelines for Effective Adult Career Pathways Programs FY2015 - FY2017.

ACP programs must use National Reporting System (NRS) approved assessments as required for the CALCs. See FY2014 Required Assessments to Report Learner Educational Gain and the Assessment Policy and Procedure Manuals for each assessment.

In addition, programs are encouraged to develop and/or adapt appropriate placement tests and career interest surveys, and use relevant student information to determine class placement. Recommended sources of student information include Accuplacer test results, MAPT history, and/or teacher recommendations.

 
 
Q23:
Can we use TABE CLAS-E?
A23:
Yes.
 
 
Q24:
Related Organizational capacity: The RFP does not mention previous experience. Why?
A24:
This is an Open and Competitive process and new Adult Career Pathways programs may be funded through this process. Applicants are free to describe prior experience that is relevant to the purpose of Adult Career Pathways.
 
 
Q25:
If we have ESE funds for a Community Adult Learning Center that serves only ABE students, program, but would like to apply for an Adult Career Pathways grant to serve ESOL students, would that be acceptable?
A25:
Yes.
 
 
Q26:
Table one has CALC committed funding, does prior calc funding impact this new cycle?
A26:
No.
 
 
Q27:
Do we submit a completed grid similar to that we see on page 13 in the RFP?
A27:
Yes.
 
 
Q28:
Program design- If we have an existing program offering academics, do we still look to provide additional academic services through the Adult Career Pathways grant?
A28:
The Adult Career Pathways initiative is a separate initiative from the CALC. Each workforce priority asks for academics as part of the program design.
 
 
Q29:
Where in the RFP state that the two programs, CALC and Adult Career Pathways cannot be intertwined? Is not this allowed?
A29:
Students may be co-enrolled. Applicants are encouraged to review page 5 in the MA Guidelines for Adult Career Pathways programs copied here:

Students may be enrolled in both the ACP program and the CALC. This co-enrollment exists as an accelerated, viable alternative for some students. It will be successful as long as the following criteria are met:

  • Students can maintain an ongoing commitment to an increased amount of instructional and support time; and
  • The ACP and CALC schedules do not conflict.

Conversely, adults who meet the eligibility requirements for ABE services, but who are not enrolled in the CALC may enroll solely in the ACP program.

 
 
Q30:
Are all students required to meet with advisor in ACP, in addition to CALC advisor?
A30:
It is recommended that applicants review the Guidelines for Adult Career Pathways and the workforce priority (ies) for the region as well as the needs of the students to determine the role of the advisor in the Adult Career Pathways program.
 
 
Q31:
Is there a certain amount of money can be applied for? A Range?
A31:
It's up to the applicants to determine the amount they will request for Adult Career Pathways.
 
 
Q32:
Since we are moving towards College and Career Readiness why can't there be an integration of Adult Career Pathways and CALC?
A32:
The Adult Career Pathways programs have a separate focus and are intended to align with the workforce priority (ies.) Adult Career Pathways programs while smaller than CALC programs have more flexibility, more room for innovation.
 
 
Q33:
On page 10 the RFP asks for three sets of proposals and on page four it states seven sets are required. How many sets should be submitted?
A33:
ACLS requests that applicants submit three sets of proposals with budgets. Two sets with original signatures and one without.
 
 
Q34:
Where do I find the rates formula?
A34:
Applicants will find a link to SMARTT on the ACLS homepage.

Applicants may also find information regarding the rates formula in the MA Guidelines for Effective Adult Basic Education Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document.

Note: Applicants must submit program designs that are cost effective and applicants are free to design and propose programs outside of the rates.

 
 
Q35:
Does there need to be a specific workforce partner?
A35:
The regional workforce partner that crafted the priorities will sign the workforce Statement of Assurance. This partner will collaborate with the Adult Career Pathways programs within that workforce region.
 
 
Q36:
Are there pros and cons of providing rate based or non rate based classes? Are there any implications for describing one or the other in the proposal?
A36:
There are no pros and cons or implications either way with these types of classes. If applicants propose rate based classes a sequence of three classes is not mandated. Applicants are not restricted to any class focus in SMARTT, and are free to propose a class focus aligned with a regional priority.
 
 
Q37:
Can there be stipends for faculty?
A37:
Stipends are allowable. Applicants are advised to be mindful that the cost effectiveness of the program design, its alignment with the workforce priority, and its ability to meet the needs of the students is primary. Note: a staff person may not exceed one full time equivalent (one FTE) across all the ACLS funded programs.
 
 
Q38:
If the teacher is not fulltime on CALC can we use that teacher in ACP?
A38:
Yes.
 
 
Q39:
In the paper version of SMARTT do we separate out the summer classes they way we would do in SMARTT?
A39:
The one to one prep is designed for instructors to develop and document contextualized curricula and prepare for instruction. There is flexibility for the role of the advisor as applicants determine how they may successfully support student success.
 
 
Q40:
In the paper version of SMARTT do we separate out the summer classes they way we would do in SMARTT?
A40:
Yes.
 
 
Q41:
Are there different admin rates for each WIB?
A41:
Each workforce partner takes approximately 10% for administrative costs as part of the regional workforce allocation.
 
 
Q42:
What if we intend to hold a summer program but not have it begin in FY 15. May we propose the use of funds for planning purposes?
A42:
Applicants are advised to review page 10 in the Guidelines for Adult Career Pathways for requirements related to pre-and post- program planning.
 
 
Q43:
After three years will funds continue to be to Adult Career Pathways?
A43:
In an on-going fashion, ACLS, the Adult Career Pathways providers and the workforce partners will evaluate the success of the Adult Career Pathways initiative.
 
 

Bidders' Conference, April 30 2014 at the Directors Meeting

Q44:
Are there Admin costs taken by each WIB or workforce partner included in the regional allocations we see in Table 1?
A44:
Each workforce partner in each of the 16 workforce regions takes approximately 10% for administrative costs. These administrative costs have not been deducted from Table 1.
 
 
Q45:
Can we still put the classes into a working plan in SMARTT and print it out and submit with the proposal?
A45:
See response to Question #5
 
 
Q46:
Should the class plan be embedded in the narrative or submitted as an appendix.
A46:
The class plan is a required part of Question #3.
 
 
Q47:
Do we ever put the class plan into SMARTT?
A47:
Yes. Once the plan submitted on paper has been approved, successful applicants will enter the plan into SMARTT and it will be approved through the mechanism in SMARTT.
 
 
Q48:
Do we have to submit anything for the ADA? Is anything under Additional Requirements required to be submitted?
A48:
Programs must provide a 20% match to the grant award and must submit a match narrative with the budget package.
 
 
Q49:
Are high school graduates eligible for services?
A49:
Eligible students for the Adult Career Pathways are individuals who: have attained 16 years of age, and are not enrolled or required to be enrolled in secondary school under state law, and who either:
  • lack sufficient mastery of basic educational skills to enable the individuals to function effectively in society,
  • do not have a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent, and have not achieved an equivalent level of education, or
  • are unable to speak, read, or write the English language.
In all regions, proposals should demonstrate sufficient intensity and duration of service so that students can achieve their goals.
 
 
Q50:
How can we submit the Statement of Assurances from the workforce partner if we are not in communication with the workforce partner?
A50:
ACLS will work with the workforce system to get a signed Statement of Assurances from each workforce partner.
 
 
Q51:
Please clarify the due date of the Adult Career Pathways proposals.
A51:
The proposals are due on May 21, 2014 not later than 3: 00 p.m.
 
 
Q52:
If these grants are funded through the WIB how is it that the WIB cares about rate based classes?
A52:
The funds for Adult Career Pathways flow from ACLS to the workforce partners who collaborate with us on this grant initiative. Once determinations have been make regarding the Adult Career Pathways proposals, the regional grants will submitted by the workforce partners and the Adult Career Pathways grants will be funded as subcontracts through the grant submitted by the workforce partner in each region.
 
 
Q53:
Why would an Adult Career Pathways design include rates based classes?
A53:
All Adult Career Pathways designs must include academics. Academic skills are referenced in each workforce priority. For ABE services, the curriculum must be based on the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education. For ESOL services, programs must base their curriculum on the ABE Framework for ESOL and integrate these with the College and Career Readiness Standards as needed. The curriculum and instruction must also be aligned with the workforce priority (ies).
 
 
Q54:
Should Adult Career Pathways classes be rates or non rates?
A54:
An applicant may propose rate based or non rates classes or a combination of both.
 
 
Q55:
Are the technology funds available from another source?
A55:
Applicants requesting funds for technology must do so as part of their grant application. There is no external set aside for technology funds.
 
 
Q56:
What does CS mean in the SMARTT drop down options?
A56:
Career specific.
 
 
Q57:
May we use funds for an Adult Diploma program?
A57:
No.
 
 
Q58:
Are there any changes to the budget forms?
A58:
No.
 
 
Q59:
Why does the Partnership for a Skilled Workforce have a separate set of eligibility requirements?
A59:
The Partnership for a Skilled Workforce has an agreement with ACLS to develop a Health Care Learning Network (HCLN) initiative. Students eligible for the HCLN must read at the 8th grade level. These students may be employed or unemployed but must express an interest in careers or postsecondary related to health care.
 
 
Q60:
Who will read, score and review proposals?
A60:
ACLS staff and staff from the regional workforce partners, or their designees will review and score proposals.
 
 
Q61:
Will each proposal submission be reviewed by the workforce partner in that region?
A61:
Yes.
 
 
Q62:
What is the turnaround time to let us know if we are funded?
A62:
ACLS intends to make every effort to let programs know they will be funded in June in order that they may begin charging expenditures to the grants by July 1, 2014.
 
 
Q63:
Is there not a conflict with having one's regional workforce partners evaluate the proposals?
A63:
There is a required Conflict of Interest form that must be completed by all proposal reviewers. For each proposal submission, the form asks proposal reviewers, among other questions, if there are any facts of which they are aware that might appear to limit their ability to fairly and objectively review proposals, and participate in the proposal review committee process.
 
 
Q64:
If we intend to design something where we are working with the career center, but haven't run it by them - how does this work?
A64:
Applicants are advised to submit a proposal after a thorough review of the Guidelines for Adult Career Pathways, the workforce priorities and the RFP questions.
 
 
Q65:
Will the timelines of the Adult Career Pathways and the Continuation Application overlap?
A65:
ACLS expects that the Continuation Applicant will be posted in the very near future as all the documents have been forwarded to the IT department for posting.
 
 
Q66:
In the case of a collaboration among ABE providers, is it acceptable to submit a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Appendix A?
A66:
Appendix A requires current job descriptions, including minimum required qualifications for each of the key positions on this grant. It is unclear why an applicant would submit an MOU in Appendix A.
 
 
Q67:
We are planning to incorporate some Distance Learning (DL) as part of our CP class. How do I show those hours in the class chart and in SMARTT? Do I assign a teacher to those hours? We will be using software that tracks student hours and progress, but I don't know how to indicate these planned hours in my proposal.
A67:
Applicants should not submit a program plan in SMARTT. Applicants should complete a grid that details a class plan as part of the proposal, clearly indicating which classes are Distance Learning and including costs for every rate based and non-rates class. Sample grids are supplied in the RFP. Once the final program design has been approved, the successful applicant will then be required to complete a class plan in SMARTT.
 
 
Q68:
Is curriculum allowed to teach a training course (Personal Care Aide)?
A68:
Adult education funds, including Adult Career Pathways funds, may not be used to support occupational training. See page 7 in the Guidelines for Effective Adult Career Pathways Programs FY2015-FY2017.
 
 
Q69:
What is the allocation for Greater Lowell for FY15?
A69:
All regional allocations are provided on page one of the RFP. The regional allocation for Lowell is $107,280.
 
 
Q70:
In the introduction to the Required Program Information, it states "Reponses to Section III (Budget) are not included in the page limit." However, Section III is Program Design, and Section IV is Budget. Could you clarify whether the answers to "Section III. Program Design" count as part of the eight- page limit?
A70:
The budget and budget narrative are not included in the eight page limit. All other responses required in Part III are included in the eight-page limit.
 
 
Q71:
I am confused about Appendix A and H. The RFP indicates required "Appendix H: Job descriptions with minimum required qualifications for each key position on the grant."Q&A A66 says: Appendix A requires current job descriptions, including minimum required qualifications for each of the key positions on this grant. ….Is this the same required Appendix? Should it be labeled A or H?
A71:
Job descriptions with required minimum qualifications for each key position are required. These may be labeled either Attachment A or H.
 
 
Q72:
Are funds available via Supplemental and Foundation Funding, ie., unrestricted funds?
A72:
There are no funds available via Supplemental and Foundation Funding or unrestricted.
 
 


Last Updated: May 20, 2014
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