Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2022: Adult Education Services Planning Grant

Fund Code: 587


With the availability of significant additional federal and state funding intended to support the education and training of adult learners, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education seeks to award planning grants to eligible organizations interested in providing such services through the programs outlined below.

In some cases, planning grants are designed for partnerships among education providers, training providers, employers, and workforce partners to identify ABE or ESOL needs for adult learners.

The purpose of this Competitive grant program is to support capacity building and planning activities to prepare organizations to provide new and/or expanded services in FY23 and beyond through the following programs:

  1. New Community and Adult Learning Center (CALC) or Corrections Education Program
  2. Significantly expanded CALC or Corrections Education Program (e.g., new site, newly offering adult basic education services or English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), or an increase in program size of 50 seats or more annually)
  3. MassSTEP1
  4. Workplace Education
  5. Transition to College
  6. Career and Technical Education (Perkins V) in Correctional Institutions
  7. Pay-for-Performance

Information about the structure and requirements of each type of program can be found by visiting the hyperlinks above, which contain program requirements for the most recent grant competition for funding. Programs may submit multiple proposals.


The following priorities have been established:

  1. planning and collaboration activities around serving adult learners, including hard to serve populations such as out-of-school youth and/or homeless;
  2. commitment to engage with local workforce partners, including, but not limited to, MassHire Workforce Boards, MassHire Career Centers, adult education agencies, job training programs, public schools, Department of Transitional Assistance offices, Massachusetts Rehabilitations, and other WIOA and local offices on the desirability, feasibility, and viability of developing adult education programming;
  3. planning around integration of digital learning delivery models;
  4. assessing the business needs of the local area, identifying any priority industries or occupations;
  5. assessing the education and workforce training needs of an area's student population.

Eligible applicants include:

  1. a local educational agency;
  2. public entities that are able to demonstrate effectiveness in operating adult education and/or career and training programs in correctional institutions;
  3. a community-based organization or faith-based organization;
  4. a volunteer literacy organization;
  5. an institution of higher education;
  6. a public or private nonprofit agency;
  7. a library;
  8. a public housing authority;
  9. a nonprofit institution not described in any of subparagraphs (A) through (G) and has the ability to provide literacy activities to eligible providers;
  10. a consortium or coalition of the agencies, organizations, institutions, libraries or authorities described in (A) through (H);
  11. a partnership between an employer and an entity described in any of (A) through (I).
  12. a partnership between an employer and an entity described in any of (A) through (I)
  13. Massachusetts correctional institutions2 or local area providers3 that can demonstrate past performance in the design and delivery of career and technical education programs for individuals in correctional institutions. (1 )
Funding Type:



Approximately $1 million in state funding is available to support planning grants ranging of up to $30K for each proposed new/expanded program. Applicants may submit multiple proposals. For example, an applicant could submit a proposal for a new MassSTEP program along with expanding current CALC services. Information about the availability of implementation funding in FY23 and beyond will be posted at Funding Opportunities - Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS).

Funding is contingent upon availability. All dollar amounts listed are estimated/approximate and are subject to change. If more funding becomes available, it will be distributed under the same guidelines that appear in this RFP document.

Fund Use:

Funds must be used to support collaboration, planning, and/or research and the development of monthly deliverables (described in required information). These costs may include but are not limited to:

  • Stipends
  • Consultant fees and honorariums
  • Subscription costs for online video conferencing platforms (e.g., Zoom)
  • Costs to support an inclusive process to gather input from staff, prospective students, institutional partners, etc., to determine needs and assets to support the instructional program.
Project Duration:

Upon Approval – 6/30/2022

Program Unit:

Adult and Community Learning Services


Derek Kalchbrenner
Email address:

All inquiries must be submitted in writing to by Friday, January 28, 2022. All answers will be posted to the ACLS website.

Bidders' Conferences

Bidders' Conferences will be held via Zoom on
Friday, January 21st, 2022 from 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM and
Monday, January 24th, 2022 from 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Date Due:

Friday, February 18, 2022.
Proposals must be received at the Department by 3:00 p.m. on the date due.

Required Forms:
Additional Information:

Awarded applicants will be required to submit a progress report by May 15, 2022. The progress report template will be provided to funded agencies.

Submission Instructions:

Competitive Grants:
Proposals must be submitted electronically by 3PM on February 18, 2022, via the online portal.

Applicants will create an account and be able to enter the portal for the RFP. Once you have created a user account and entered the portal, you will be asked to:

  • Enter basic information

  • Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required. You will not be able to submit your grant unless you include data or uploads in all required fields.

Please note that you are presented with two choices at the bottom of the submission webpage: <Save Draft> and <Submit>. Once you choose Submit, you are no longer able to make edits or change the files you wish to upload. Save Draft should be used routinely until you have completed the entire process and are certain you are ready to send your materials submission to us.

Also, please note that the Part II-Budget is an Excel for PC document. Please do not work on this document in Excel for Mac, as it will not render properly, even if you subsequently save the document in a PC environment.

If problems occur while using the portal anytime, or if you encounter technical difficulties with the Class Plan/Budget workbook after January 17, 2022, contact Paula Jurigian .

Submit a response to all narrative prompts as applicable.

Pages that exceed the above page limits will not be reviewed and scored. Required forms, appendices, and the budget workbook are not included in these page limits.

Note: DESE reserves the right to conduct an interview or a site visit prior to award.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to return to this RFP and the Q&A page for updates and amendments. All updates and amendments supersede previous versions.

Awarded Recipients: Upon award, recipients will be required to enter the approved budget and Part I in EdGrants. Once selected, recipients will be contacted with further instructions on the process.

1 The title of this Request for Proposals is FY 2020 Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education and Integrated Education and Training. In September 2021, Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education (IELCE) and Integrated Education and Training (IET) programming was unified under the brand name MassSTEP. The components and requirements for both services remain the same.

2 Any building, enclosure, space or structure used for the custody, control and rehabilitation of committed offenders and of such other persons as may be placed in custody therein in accordance with law (103 CMR: Department of Correction ).

3 Local area education or training providers (e.g., vocational technical high school, community college).

Last Updated: January 6, 2022

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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