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Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

Workplace Education Bidders' Conference Questions and Answers

As of 5/22/2020

Questions from the April 30, 2020 Bidders' Conference

  1. Will the Bidders' Conference PPT be made available?
    Answer: No. The information in the PPT is taken directly from the RFP. Answers to questions posed during the Bidders' Conference will be posted on the Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS) website.

  2. Can an applicant skip Phase I?
    Answer: If an applicant wants to skip all or part of Phase I, evidence would need to be presented that the required Phase I activities have been completed. This would involve submitting a signed Part I — General — Program Unit Signature Page for $0, responses to all Part III — Required Program Information questions, and the Memorandum of Understanding to Conduct a Workforce Needs Analysis or similar document that was signed by all parties.

  3. Can an applicant have an offline clarifying discussion on skipping Phase I?
    Answer: No, all questions need to be submitted in writing and ACLS will respond in writing.

  4. Are small businesses eligible business partners? If so, can all of a small business's eligible students be required to attend classes?
    Answer: Small businesses are eligible business partners. ACLS strongly discourages any mandated participation in a workplace education program. Workplace education programs need to be wanted by the employees. One of the purposes of a Workplace Needs Analysis is to determine the number of interested employees.

  5. Would release time be paid by the grant or by the business?
    Answer: Release time would be paid by the business.

  6. Would a student have to be enrolled in an ACLS-funded Community Adult Learning Center (CALC) to be eligible?
    Answer: No. Workplace education students are not enrolled in a CALC. Workplace education students are taking classes where they work because they cannot attend classes at a CALC. Workplace education students do need to work for the business partner in order to be eligible to attend classes.

  7. Could an applicant apply for funds to run a program for unemployed students?
    Answer: No. Workplace education funds are for incumbent workers.

  8. Can a business with multiple locations be a business partner?
    Answer: Yes. One site would need to have a classroom space and students who work at all the sites would need to be able to get to that site for classes.

  9. Can an applicant collaborate with multiple business partners on a proposal?
    Answer: No. There can only be one business partner per proposal. However, applicants can submit multiple proposals.

  10. Can you give some examples of industries that have received workplace education grants?
    Answer: Retail, health care, manufacturing, and food services are some examples.

  11. What if social distancing guidelines are still in place by the time an educational program is supposed to start?
    Answer: The adult education agency and business partner would need to follow the social distancing guidelines. If this would require a change in any of ACLS's workplace education policies, ACLS would work with the partnership to ensure it is safe for staff and students to conduct classes. ACLS would also recommend that social distancing and any other measures related to Covid-19 be standing agenda items at Planning and Evaluation (PET) meetings.

  12. If social distancing guidelines are still in place would the grant allow for purchases of technology for students?
    Answer: In general, ACLS would expect the business to provide technology for its employees.

  13. Would an applicant still need to have a classroom if there was a distance learning component?
    Answer: Yes. In a workplace education program, the business is the classroom. There would need to be at least four hours of face to face instruction per week. Partnerships can add additional hours with distance learning.

  14. Are any types of business ineligible for consideration?
    Answer: No. We encourage all businesses to consider partnering with an adult education agency on a grant.

  15. Can you say more about the expectations for past performance? For example, if an applicant wants to do a workplace education program in a health care setting must the applicant have experience already doing that type of programming in that type of setting?
    Answer: ACLS cannot advise applicants on what to write. For past performance, applicants should provide what past performance they have in workplace education and/or similar programming.

  16. Does it matter what positions employees have in the business? Would the employees all need to come from the same department?
    Answer: No, the employees can come from multiple departments. An applicant will just need to ensure there are enough students to maintain a class of 10 students.

  17. What happens if a partnership reaches the end of the planning phase and finds there is not enough interest for an educational program?
    Answer: This is an acceptable outcome. In this case, an applicant would just submit a Workplace Needs Analysis report stating the reasons why an instructional services program is not feasible or needed. The applicant would then not submit a proposal for Phase II implementation.

  18. Does the district code need to be put on Part I — General — Program Unit Signature Page?
    Answer: Yes.

  19. Is a Match required for Phase I?
    Answer: No, Phase I does not require a Match.

  20. Is there an administrative cost rate maximum for Phase I?
    Answer: No, Phase I grants are almost entirely planning grants.

  21. Are the Budget Documents on the webpage current?
    Answer: Please make sure to use the budget documents posted on April 30th.

  22. Is the budget narrative counted in the page limit?
    Answer: No.

  23. Does the MOA go on adult education agency or business letterhead?
    Answer: Adult education letterhead is fine.

  24. Who is the lead on this grant? The adult education agency or the business?
    Answer: The adult education agency. ACLS awards grants to adult education agencies.

  25. The Massachusetts Guidelines for Effective Workplace Education Partnerships state "a thorough Workplace Needs Analysis includes a representative sampling of the workforce (10% – 20%) to ensure a variety of perspectives, e.g., employees, supervisors, senior management, union membership (where workforce is unionized), human resources and education and training personnel) throughout the WNA." Does that include management and labor?
    Answer: In general, the sampling is of labor but if some managers are potential students then they could be included in the sampling as well.

  26. Does Phase II have a Match requirement?
    Answer: Yes, a 20% match is required for Phase II.

  27. Is a Schedule B required?
    Answer: No, Schedule B is not required for either Phase I or Phase II.

  28. Can the required National Reporting System (NRS) assessments such as the MAPT be done at the CALC?
    Answer: Yes, as long as students can get to the CALC.

  29. When would an applicant need to submit the Administrative Cost Justification form?
    Answer: The Administrative Cost Justification Form is a Phase II form that would be submitted when a proposal's administrative costs are projected to be above 5% of the total grant amount. An applicant would need to explain what those costs are and why they are needed. ACLS will not consider grants with administrative costs above 25%.

  30. Is there a minimum length of program?
    Answer: Yes, 32 weeks for full year programs. However, since Year 1 of this grant may not start until December or January, an applicant could submit a pro-rated budget. However, given that these grants run until August 31st, there should be time to do 32 weeks of instruction.

  31. Do the budget documents need to have page numbers?
    Answer: Yes, all documents in a proposal need to have page numbers.

  32. Is there a minimum number of face-to-face classroom hours?
    Answer: Please see the answer to question #13.

  33. How much data entry is required in LACES for workplace education?
    Answer: LACES data entry includes creating student records, creating the class(es), enrolling students in the class(es), entering attendance, and entering assessments. The data entry requirements are the same as for CALC students.

  34. Do workplace education students have the same follow-up requirements as CALC students?
    Answer: Yes.

  35. Do workplace education programs involve the same requirements as CALCs such as preparation time for instructors and advising for students?
    Answer: Instructors do need to be compensated for preparation time. Advising should also be available to students.

Questions as of May 22, 2020

  1. Is there a particular geographic region or demographic or type of program being sought for the phase 1 planning grants?
    Answer: No, this is a statewide grant for both native English speaking workers in need of a high school credential and English Language Learners.

  2. Does receiving a planning award necessarily lead to also receiving an implementation award?
    Answer: No, applicants who receive planning grants must submit proposals for implementation grants.

  3. Our adult education program for many years has been solely focused on English Language Learners. With a change in leadership of our program this year, I am wondering if a planning grant could be used to move more toward a broader view of Adult Basic Education than has been in place here for two decades -so building something new vs. serving the same population that has been the program's focus for a long while?
    Answer: Phase 1 Workplace Education Planning grants are not designed for this purpose. They are designed for partnerships among education providers, business partners, and unions (where the workforce is unionized) to identify needs for instructional services for adult incumbent workers.

Last Updated: May 22, 2020

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