Middle Skills Gap Grant Program Announcement-Grant Opportunity- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

Middle Skills Gap Grant Program Announcement-Grant Opportunity

Funding Opportunity for ABE Programs to Collaborate with Partners to Build Career Paths for Students through the Middle Skills Gap Grant Programs

What is the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund (WCTF)?

The WCTF was created by the Legislature in 2006 to develop training pipelines to meet the skill needs of businesses in high demand occupations. It supports partnerships of employers, education and workforce organizations to train and upgrade the skills of new and incumbent workers. This state-funded initiative is administered by Commonwealth Corporation on behalf of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. The Massachusetts Legislature established the WCTF with two goals in mind:

  • To improve the competitive stature of Massachusetts businesses by improving the skills of current and future workers, and
  • To improve access to well-paying jobs and long-term career success for all residents of Massachusetts, especially those who experience structural, social, and educational barriers to employment success.

What is the Middle Skills Gap Grant Program?

The WCTF Middle Skills Gap Grant Program is an opportunity for ABE programs to work with partners, including local workforce boards, career centers, community college or vocational technical schools, and businesses to build career paths for students into areas where there is job growth. The key element of these grants is to address the middle skills gap, the gap between the skills held by workers and the skills needed by employers for jobs that require more than a high school diploma but less than a 4-year degree. In these partnership grants, ABE/ESOL providers are eligible as lead applicants or as partners

What is the goal of the Middle Skills Gap Grants?

The goal of the program is to implement a training strategy that will a) train and place un/underemployed MA residents into unsubsidized jobs and/or b) train and place disconnected young adults into unsubsidized jobs, c) train and support incumbent workers to advance to higher wage jobs; Benefit participating business partners; Develop new systems, programs, or partnerships that last beyond the life of the grant.

What are some highlights of the RFP?

  • Required Industry Cluster Partners must include a minimum of 2 businesses with operations in Massachusetts and that employ MA residents in the target industry; a workforce investment board, a public educational institution, including a community college, a career center, a vocational technical high school, regional/local fiscal agent for the Workforce Investment Act, a union (if such is active within a relevant area within a participating employer's operation).
  • Lead applicants must agree to the following: work collaboratively with Comm Corp to ensure program quality to meet participants' needs, and to achieve planned outcomes; convene partners to achieve project goals, collect and report data and participate in evaluation strategies, have operational and fiscal capacity to manage public funds.
  • EMPLOYMENT OUTCOMES are central to the purpose of the grant. Grant initiatives must have strong job search and recruitment strategies that result in JOB ATTAINMENT for participants (proven history among the partners in this regard is necessary).
  • 30% match is required.
  • Social Security numbers of participants are required.

What should I do if I'm interested in applying for this grant or being a partner in this grant?

  • There is a Bidders' Webinar (which is optional for applicants) on October 19, 2012 at 10 a.m.
  • Required Letters of Intent are due by November 19, 2012
  • Contact your Local Workforce Investment Board Director, if you are interested in partnering with others in your region

To learn more about this opportunity, include program design guidelines, go to http://www.commcorp.org/resources/rfp.cfm?ID=24

Last Updated: October 12, 2012

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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