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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2024: FY2024–FY2028 Adult Education and Family Literacy Services

Fund Codes: 340/345/359

Purpose:

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will administer the Adult Education and Family Literacy Services grants to Community Adult Learning Centers (fund code 340/345/359) including Outstationing, consistent with Public Law 113-128, Sections 201 through 243, across 16 local workforce development areas for CALCs, as follows:

  1. To create a partnership among the Federal Government, States, and localities to provide, on a voluntary basis, adult education (AE) services (ESOL, ABE, pre-ASE, ASE, ADP, family literacy) to:
    1. assist eligible individuals to become literate and obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and economic self-sufficiency;
    2. assist eligible individuals who are parents or family members to obtain the education and skills that—
      1. are necessary to become full partners in the educational development of their children, and
      2. result in sustainable improvements in the economic opportunities for their family;
    3. assist eligible individuals in attaining a secondary school credential and in the transition to postsecondary education and training, including through career pathways; and
    4. assist immigrants and other individuals who are English language learners to—
      1. improve their—
        1. (1) reading, writing, speaking and comprehension skills in English; and
        2. (2) mathematical skills;
      2. acquire an understanding of the American system of government, individual freedom, and responsible citizenship.

  2. To reduce disparity in education by providing, in collaboration with WIOA partners and others, high quality AE programming that provides an inclusive and welcoming environment, rigorous curriculum and instruction, and related services responsive to and supportive of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

  3. To support innovation in the development of AE services to effectively serve eligible individuals most in need of education services in the 16 local workforce development areas through in-person and remote instruction and in coordination and collaboration with WIOA partner services.

  4. To improve and accelerate participant outcomes, especially educational functioning level completion, high school equivalency (HSE) credential or high school diploma (ADP) attainment, and enrollment in post-secondary education or training.

Massachusetts Requirements:
  1. In awarding grants or contracts for adult education and literacy activities to eligible providers, DESE must consider the 13 WIOA Considerations (Sec 231).

  2. Eligible agencies awarded adult education grants must:
    1. Design, implement, and evaluate adult education services guided by the:
      1. 13 WIOA Considerations
      2. Massachusetts Policies for Effective Adult Education in Community Adult Learning Centers and Correctional Institutions
      3. Massachusetts Indicators of Program Quality
      4. WIOA Massachusetts Combined State Plan
    2. Maintain the negotiated average monthly enrollment during the program year. DESE prefers program designs that serve a minimum of 50 participants on a monthly basis during a typical academic year September through June but will consider proposals to serve fewer than 50 enrolled participants per month if the eligible agency provides sufficient justification.
Outstationing:

The purpose of outstationing is to help eligible individuals access adult education services by assisting MassHire Career Center staff with intake, assessments, and referrals to adult education programs in the local area and educate current students about MassHire Career Center services.

Proposals must demonstrate capacity to collaborate and coordinate with local area MassHire Career Centers and adult education providers to support student access to services offered by adult education programs in the local workforce area and MassHire Career Centers.

Eligibility:

Eligible agencies/organizations that have demonstrated effectiveness in providing adult education and literacy services, including agencies that have not previously been funded by DESE, are eligible to apply.

Eligible Agency: An organization that has demonstrated effectiveness in providing adult education and literacy activities that may include:

  1. a local educational agency
  2. a community-based organization or faith-based organization
  3. a volunteer literacy organization
  4. an institution of higher education
  5. a public or private nonprofit agency
  6. a library
  7. a public housing authority
  8. a nonprofit institution not described in any of subparagraphs (1) through (7) and has the ability to provide literacy activities to eligible providers
  9. a consortium or coalition of the agencies, organizations, institutions, libraries or authorities described in (1) through (8)
  10. a partnership between an employer and an entity described in any of (1) through (9)

Note: As required by WIOA the applicant must demonstrate past effectiveness by submitting past performance data in serving eligible participants.

Applications that do not provide demonstrated effectiveness data in Part III will not be reviewed and scored.

Funding Type:

Fund Code 340, 359: Federal CFDA 84.002
Fund Code 345: State

Funding:

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.

Refer to Table 1 for estimated workforce area and workforce planning region allocations for fund codes 340/359/345 and for ABE/ESOL program distribution targets in different workforce areas. Funding is subject to state and federal appropriation. As such, all values in this table are primarily designed as estimates for planning purposes and are not binding.

The allocation estimates listed in Table 1 are set based on two data-based considerations: adult educational need determined by the 2020 American Community Survey (40%) combined with the Social Vulnerability Index (10%); and demand for adult education derived from DESE/ACLS FY22 enrollment (40%) and waitlist data (10%), after holding all regions "harmless" to FY22 allocation levels. CALC grants will be competed and awarded at the local workforce area level.

DESE will award funding to meritorious proposals based primarily upon the quality of the responses to this Request for Proposals and the score and rank of proposals as determined by proposal review teams. Though award amounts will vary, in general, proposals with higher scores will receive larger proportions of their requests for funding than proposals with lower scores. Exceptions, however, may exist.

Federal law requires competition for grant funding among programs within all local workforce areas. Federal law also requires the distribution of adult education programming that meets students' needs both geographically and programmatically. To accomplish this, DESE reserves the right, prior to finalizing funding awards, to make adjustments that will support fair and equitable access to ABE and ESOL services.

First, as necessary, DESE may adjust final funding awards to reflect local area needs and program, capacity within the seven workforce planning regions. DESE will impose no caps on the number of applicants in any local area. DESE reserves the right, however, to adjust funding awards to ensure that programs are appropriately distributed geographically within planning regions and to avoid concentrations of ABE or ESOL programming that do not serve the needs of local communities. Depending on the quality of proposals from different workforce areas, DESE may award excess funding from one workforce area into another workforce area within the same planning region. DESE also reserves the right to re-bid portions of funding that cannot meet goals for geographic and programmatic distribution in WIOA.

Similarly, as necessary in individual workforce areas, DESE will award funding based not only on the score and rank of proposals in a workforce area but also on the community's needs for a diverse distribution of programs geographically and programmatically. To achieve a needs-based distribution of ABE and ESOL programming in a single workforce area, DESE reserves the right to ensure, in addition to score and rank of proposals, that funding is awarded to programs in a way that meets the minimum ABE/ESOL program distribution targets, described in Table 1. DESE also reserves the right to re-bid portions of funding that cannot meet goals for geographic and programmatic distribution in WIOA.

If DESE closes a program or a program declines their award, DESE reserves the right to reallocate that funding to an existing DESE program(s) in the same local workforce area as appropriate.

Important: DESE adult education CALC awards include average monthly enrollment targets and a cost per participant. The cost per participant is the base award (i.e., excluding Outstationing and MassSTEP) divided by the monthly enrollment target. Grantees are expected to maintain or exceed, on average, their enrollment target(s) from September through May. See the FY24-FY28 Massachusetts Policies for Effective Adult Education in Community Adult Learning Centers and Correctional Institutions for additional information. Grantees must Maintain the negotiated average monthly enrollment during the program year.

Note: Historically, the funding requested by successful grantees has exceeded the combined state and federal allocation. DESE can seldom, if ever, provide 100% of the funding requested even by the program that submits the highest scoring proposal statewide or in workforce planning regions. As described above, DESE will base funding decisions on the scores and ranks of proposals, as well as considerations that promote fair and equitable access to ABE and ESOL services.

DESE encourages applicants to propose realistic budgets that consider the estimated regional allocation and the program's organizational capacity. Proposed expenditures must be allowable as stated in federal and state regulations, reasonable to achieve the goals of the proposal, and adhere to the budget requirements outlined in FY24-FY28 Massachusetts Policies for Effective Adult Education in Community Adult Learning Centers and Correctional Institutions.

Fund Use:

Funds must be used in accordance with FY24-FY28 Massachusetts Policies for Effective Adult Education in Community Adult Learning Centers and Correctional Institutions to provide adult education to eligible students; eligible students are:

  • are at least 16 years of age;
  • are not enrolled or required to be enrolled in secondary school under state law; and
  • do not have a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent and have not achieved an equivalent level of education; or are basic skills deficient; or are English language learners.

Students under 18 must provide a letter of withdrawal from the local school district in order to enroll in the program. Students who are home schooled must provide a letter from the local school district stating that they are not enrolled.

As defined by the Code of Federal Regulations, 34 CFR §463.25 and §463.26, not less than 95 percent of funds must be spent on adult education direct services and literacy activities. If awarded, programs may negotiate on an individual basis with DESE to determine an adequate level of funds for non-instructional purposes by submitting a written request and rationale annually with their continuation applications. Administrative costs must be reasonable, necessary, and allocable.

Adult Education and Family Literacy Services is a restricted rate program that is subject to a statutory "supplement not supplant" restriction. For this competition, applicants may include indirect cost rates to recover certain business-related expenses necessary to support the proposed services.

  • Local Education Agencies (LEA) may apply their district rate .
  • A non-LEA that has a current federally approved restricted indirect cost rate may use that rate.
  • A non-LEA that has an FY22 approved indirect cost rate may use that rate. However, if awarded a grant, the agency must reapply to DESE for FY24 and annually through the grant cycle (2 CFR 200.332).
  • A non-LEA that does not have either a Federal or DESE approved indirect cost rate may budget up to 8% percent of the agency's proposed budget to recover certain business-related expenses. However, if awarded a grant, the agency must apply to DESE for FY24 and that there is no guarantee that the rate will be approved (2 CFR 200.332).
Project Duration:

State-funded — Fund Code: 345: Upon approval through June 30, 2024 ; conditionally renewable for up to additional four years.

Federally-funded — Fund Codes: 340/359: Upon approval through August 31, 2024 ; conditionally renewable for up to additional four years.

Renewals are subject to satisfactory performance, the appropriation of state and federal funds, and the continuance of federal authorizing legislation. Total grant award duration will not exceed five years (initial year plus renewals).

Letter of Intent:

Submit an optional Letter of Intent in the letter of intent portal by Friday, September 30, 2022. Letter of Intent is for planning purposes only, but strongly encouraged.

Program Unit:

Adult and Community Learning Services

Contact & Inquiries:

All inquiries must be submitted in writing to question portal. Q&A with answers to inquiries will be posted to ACLS Funding Opportunities on the ACLS website. Requests for assistance with submitting inquiries or locating the Q&A may be directed to the ACLS receptionist at (781) 338-3850.

The deadline for applicant submission of questions is Friday, October 7, 2022.

It is the responsibility of applicants to remain up to date with the posted questions and answers. Any RFP updates or revisions contained in the Q&A will supersede previous versions of the same.

Phone Number:

(781) 338-3850

Date Due:

Monday, October 24, 2022, by 5:00 p.m.

Bidder's Virtual Conference:

Prospective applicants are invited to a Virtual Bidders' Conference to be held on:

Thursday, September 8, 2022, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 849 2347 5408

Friday, September 9, 2022, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 885 4995 9440

Required Forms:
Additional Information:

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

Submission Instructions:

Proposals must be submitted electronically via the RFP submission 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 Workbook 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 Part II — Budget Workbook after October 10, 2022 contact Paula Jurigian .

Submit a response to all narrative prompts as applicable. (Note: The Part V narrative response application may not exceed 25 pages; Part VI, Outstationing may not exceed 3 pages). Pages that exceed the above page limits will not be reviewed and scored.

Applicants are required to provide page numbers on every page of the narrative response. All narrative responses must be in a font no smaller than Arial 10 font, with 1" margins on all sides.

Awarded Recipients: Upon award, recipients will be required to enter the approved budget and Part I in EdGrants. All required forms must be attached in EdGrants in addition to the following based on applicant type:

Or

State Agencies with ISAs: Waiver filed with ANF to reduce the amount of indirect charged to these grant funds in MMARS. It is the responsibility of the applying entity that is a state agency to file an indirect waiver request with ANF and send a copy of the approved request to CTR. DESE cannot request indirect waivers on behalf of state agencies. (See Fund Use section for more info; See Additional Information for Colleges/State Agencies section for the ANF Waiver Request Form)

Additional Information for Colleges / State Agencies

The information below is intended for state entities that require ISAs as part of their grant award process. Not intended for Private or Community Based Organizations.

  1. ISA process timeline

  2. MA Expenditure Classification Handbook

  3. MA Comptroller's Office Fringe Information

  4. ISA and EdGrants Amendment Requirements

  5. Process for waiving indirect costs (state agencies only)

  6. Indirect Waiver Request form (state agencies only)

  7. Section 5D: Indirect and fringe benefit costs expended from the General Fund: recovery by the comptroller (state agencies only)

  8. Federal Grants Cost Allocation

Programs with administration cost above 5% will also need to submit an Administrative Cost Justification Form.

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

Proposals must be submitted electronically via the RFP submission portal.

Last Updated: October 5, 2022

 
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