MassSTEP ABE and MassSTEP ESOL programs are funded in two phases: planning and implementation. Planning Grants are optional. Applicants do not need to have first received a planning grant to apply for an Implementation grant.
MassSTEP ABE provides adult education (AE) concurrently and contextually with workforce preparation activities, and workforce training to accelerate learning outcomes, including student attainment of a high school credential and one or more relevant industry-recognized credentials (IRCs). MassSTEP ESOL provides adult ESOL instruction concurrently and contextually with civics education in addition to workforce preparation activities and workforce training to accelerate learning outcomes, including student attainment of one or more relevant IRCs occupations.
Planning grants are competitive grants designed for partnerships among education providers, training providers, employers, and workforce partners to identify MassSTEP ABE and MassSTEP ESOL needs for adult learners. Implementation grants are competitive grants designed for partnerships among education providers, training providers, employers, and workforce partners to implement an instructional program for adult learners in high wage/high demand career pathways. Grants must be developed consistent with Public Law 113–128, Sections 201 through 243 .
MassSTEP models are intended to accelerate entry into employment and are generally 16 weeks or less.
Programs may submit multiple Planning and Implementation proposals. For example, an applicant could submit a proposal for a MassSTEP ESOL advanced manufacturing and another for a MassSTEP ABE welding. (Note: Each proposal will be reviewed and scored separately, and each must include all required documents.)
Please note that ACLS will only review planning proposals for new MassSTEP ABE or MassSTEP ESOL services and not current ones.
The following priorities have been established for MassSTEP ABE and MassSTEP ESOL program proposals that are informed by evidence-based practice.1
Planning: Priorities are to support applicants that propose to:
Implementation: Priorities are to support applicants that demonstrate:
Eligible applicants are:
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.
Fund Code 671 and 359: Federal CFDA 84.002
Fund Code 661: State
Planning: Approximately $100,000 is available for planning grants. Applicants may request up to $10,000 for a planning grant to determine the readiness of the partnership to support a multi-year instructional program.
Implementation: Approximately $2,500,000 is available for implementation grants. Applicants may request up to $50,000 per cohort of students for up to three cohorts or $150,00 total for implementation grants to deliver MassSTEP ABE or MassSTEP ESOL services. If the costs per cohort are above $50,000 applicants must provide a rationale.
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.
Funds must be used in accordance with the FY24–FY28 Policies for Effective MassSTEP Programs in Community Adult Learning Centers and Correctional Institutions to provide services to eligible students; eligible students are:
Planning: Funding must be used to conduct a systematic analysis of the readiness of a collaboration to deliver a quality MassSTEP ABE or MassSTEP ESOL instructional program. Applicants must:
Funds must be used to support collaboration, planning, and/or research. These costs may include but are not limited to:
Funding must be used to:
Not less than 95 percent of funds must be spent on adult education direct services and literacy activities; not more than 5 percent may be spent on administrative costs (related to planning, administration, (including carrying out performance accountability requirements), professional development, providing adult education and literacy services in alignment with local workforce plans, carrying out one-stop partner responsibilities, and state approved indirect costs charged to the grant.
Programs may negotiate a higher administrative cost percentage by submitting a written request and rationale with application.
Adult Education Services is a restricted rate program that is subject to a statutory "supplement not supplant" restriction. Grantees are required to use a restricted indirect cost rate of 8%, unless your calculated indirect cost rate is less than 8%, than you must use the lower rate for your budget. If you have an approved negotiated federal indirect cost rate, it must be submitted to DESE. If you do not have an approved indirect cost rate agreement, you must apply annually to DESE for an approved indirect cost rate. The indirect cost rate is calculated using costs specified in the grantee's indirect cost plan. Those specified costs may not be charged as direct costs to the grant or to any other grant under any circumstances.
Planning Grants: Upon approval – 4/14/2023
Implementation Grants: Upon Approval (No earlier than 7/1/2023) – 6/30/2024 conditionally renewable for up to an 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). Planning grants are not renewable.
Adult and Community Learning Services
All inquiries concerning planning applications must be submitted in writing to the online portal for planning proposals by Friday, February 10, 2023. All inquiries concerning implementation proposals must be submitted to the online portal in writing to by Friday, May 5, 2023. All answers will be posted to the ACLS Funding Opportunities website.
Bidders' Conferences for both planning and implementation will be held via Zoom on
Tuesday, January 24th from 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM:Join Zoom Meeting
and Thursday, January 26th from 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM:Join Zoom Meeting
Planning: Proposals must be received at the Department by 3:00 PM Eastern on Friday, February 17, 2023*
Implementation: Proposals must be received at the Department by 3:00 PM Eastern on Friday, May 12, 2023*
* All responses must be received by the due date listed above. Failure to do so will result in disqualification. Responses not received on time will not be reviewed. Applicants applying after the due date may be notified their application was received late and will not be reviewed. Applications must be submitted as directed in the Submissions Instructions below. Failure to do so may result in disqualification. If you need assistance with submitting your application, please reach out to the contact person listed on this funding opportunity.
Part I — General — Program Unit Signature Page — (Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants)
Part II — Budget Details
Part III — Required Program Information
Note: planning grant grantees will submit a Planning Grant Final Report on April 14, 2023 to the planning final report portal.
Part II — Class Plan and Budget Workbook
Part IV — Demonstrated Effectiveness
FY 2024 Statement of Assurances
General Education Provisions Act Form (GEPA)
Appendix A — Administrative Cost — Negotiation Request Form (if needed)
Appendix B — Adult Education Curriculum sample (designed by applicant)
Appendix C — Workforce Training curriculum sample (designed by applicant)
Employer Letter(s) of Support
FY24–FY28 Policies for Effective MassSTEP Programs in Community Adult Learning Centers and Correctional Institutions
MassSTEP Brand Standards and Implementation Guide
FY24–FY28 Massachusetts Policies for Effective Adult Education in Community Adult Learning Centers and Correctional Institutions
Additional resources can be found on the ACLS MassSTEP webpage.
Proposals must be submitted electronically via the appropriate online portal.
Planning proposals should be submitted to the planning online portal.
Implementation proposals should be submitted to the implementation 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:
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 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.
Awarded Recipients: Upon award, recipients will be required to enter all required forms in EdGrants. Once selected, recipients will be contacted with further instructions on the process. Any recipient awarded in implementation who was also awarded in planning will be required to increase the planning project in EdGrants. The Part I will need to reflect the total for planning and implementation. The approved implementation budget will need to be entered and all documents uploaded in EdGrants. If the Administrative Cost Justification Form is needed, this must be uploaded to EdGrants as well. Once selected, recipients will be contacted with further instructions on the process.
Applicants who only applied to implementation and awarded will be required to enter the approved budget and attach all documents in EdGrants. Once selected, recipients will be contacted with further instructions on the process.
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.
Applicants are required to provide page numbers on every page of the proposal, including material not subject to the page limits. Any response that exceeds the page limit will not be reviewed and considered in scoring. (Note: Required forms and budget pages are not included in these page limits.)
All narrative responses must be in Arial 10 point font, with 1" margins.
Narrative responses may not exceed six pages for planning and 10 pages for implementation.
1 (e.g., I-BEST )
Last Updated: February 15, 2023
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
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TTY: (800) 439-2370
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