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Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Administration for Children and Families

[Program Announcement No. OCS-2002-06]

Request for Applications Under The Office of Community Services'Fiscal Year 2002 Job Opportunities for Low-income Individuals (JOLI) Program

AGENCY: Office of Community Services, Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services.
ACTION: Announcement of availability of funds and request for applications under the Office of Community Services' FY 2002 Job Opportunities for Low-income Individuals (JOLI) Program.
SUMMARY: The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Community Services (OCS), announces that, based on availability of funds, competing applications will be accepted for new grants pursuant to the Secretary's discretionary authority under section 505 of the Family Support Act of 1988, as amended.
DATES: To be considered for funding, applications must be postmarked on or before April 22, 2002. Applications postmarked after that date will not be accepted for consideration. Detailed application submission instructions including the addresses to which applications must be submitted are found in Part IV-B, Application Submission.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ros Relaford, Technical Assistance Manager, OCS Operations Center, Call: 1-800-281-9519
or E-mail:OCS@lcgnet.com.

For a copy of this announcement, contact:OCS Operations Center, 1815 North Fort Meyer Drive, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22209,1-800-281-9519.

In addition, this announcement is accessible on the OCS website for reading or downloading at:http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/ocs/kits1.htm.

If this Program Announcement is not available at these sources, it may be obtained by telephoning or writing the office listed underFor Further Information, Contact.

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number for this program is 93.593. The title is Job Opportunities for Low-income Individuals (JOLI) Program.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This program announcement consists of seven parts plus Attachments.

Part I—Background Information A. Legislative Authority B. Program Purpose C. Project Goals D. Definitions of Terms Part II—Program Objectives and Requirements A. Eligible Applicants B. Project and Budget Periods C. Availability of Funds and Grant Amounts D. Mobilization of Resources E. Program Participants/Beneficiaries F. Prohibition and Restrictions on the Use of Funds G. Multiple Submittals H. Re-Funding I. Sub-Contracting or Delegating Projects J. Maintenance of Effort K. Program Focus L. Creation of Jobs and Employment Opportunities M. Cooperative Partnership Agreement with the Designated Agency Responsible for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program N. Third Party Project Evaluation O. Economic Development Strategy P. Training and Support for Micro-Business Development Q. Cooperative Partnership Agreement with the Designated Agency Responsible for the Child Support Enforcement(CSE)Program Support for Non-custodial Parents R. Technical Assistance to Employers S. Applicant Experience and Cost-per-Job T. Loan Funds U. Business Plan V. Dissemination of Project Results W. Third Party Agreements Part III—The Project Description, Program Proposal Elements and Review Criteria A. Purpose B. Project Summary/Abstract C. Objectives and Need for Assistance D. Results or Benefits Expected E. Approach F. Organizational Profiles G. Budget and Budget Justification H. Non-Federal Resources I. Evaluation Criteria Part IV—Application Procedures A. Availability of Forms B. Application Submission C. Intergovernmental Review D. Application Consideration E. Criteria for Screening Applications Part V—Instructions for Completing Forms SF-424 A. SF-424—Application for Federal Assistance B. SF-424A—Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs C. SF-424B—Assurances for Non-Construction Part VI—Contents of Application and Receipt Process A. Contents of Application B. Application Format C. Acknowledgement of Receipt Part VII—Post Award Information and Reporting Requirements A. Notification of Grant Award B. Attendance at Evaluation Workshops C. Reporting Requirements D. Audit Requirements E. Prohibitions and Requirements with Regard to Lobbying F. Applicable Federal Regulations Attachments Application forms and required Attachments. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 10 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, gathering and maintaining the data needed and reviewing the collection information. The project description is approved under Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Control Number 0970-0139 which expires 12/31/2003. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

Part I—Background Information A. Legislative Authority

Section 505 of the Family Support Act of 1988, Public Law 100-485, as amended, authorizes the Secretary of HHS to enter into agreements with nonprofit organizations (including community development corporations) for the purpose of conducting projects designed to create employment opportunities for certain low-income individuals (42 U.S.C. 9926).

B. Program Purpose

The purpose of the JOLI program is to test and evaluate ways of creating employment and business opportunities for individuals receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) assistance and other low-income individuals through self-employment, micro-enterprise, new business ventures, expansion of existing businesses through technical and financial assistance and non traditional initiatives.

C. Project Goals

The ultimate goals of the projects to be funded under the JOLI Program are:

(1) To achieve through project activities and interventions, the creation of new employment opportunities for TANF recipients and other low-incomeindividuals which can lead to economic self-sufficiency of members of the communities served;

(2) To evaluate the effectiveness of these interventions and of the project design through which they were implemented; and

(3) To make possible the replication of successful programs.

D. Definitions of Terms

For purposes of this Program Announcement, the following definitions apply:

(1)Budget period: The interval of time into which a multi-year period of assistance (project period) is divided for budgetary and funding purposes.

(2)Community-level data:Key information to be collected by each grantee that will allow for a national-level analysis of common features of JOLI projects. This consists of data on the population of the target area, including the percentage of TANF recipients and others on public assistance, and the percentage whose incomes fall below the poverty line; the unemployment rate; the number of new business starts and business closings; and a description of the major employers and average wage rates and employment opportunities with those employers.

(3)Community development corporation:A private, nonprofit entity, governed by a board of directors consisting of residents of the community and business and civic leaders, that has as a principal purpose planning, developing, or managing low-income housing or community development projects.

(4)Hypothesis:An assumption made in order to test its validity. It should assert a cause-and-effect relationship between a program intervention and its expected result. Both the intervention and result must be measured in order to confirm the hypothesis. For example, the following is a hypothesis: “Eighty hours of classroom training in small business planning will be sufficient for participants to prepare a successful loan application.” In this example, data would be obtained on the number of hours of training actually received by participants (the intervention), and the quality of loan applications (the result), to determine the validity of the hypothesis (that eighty hours of training is sufficient to produce the result).

(5)Intervention:Any planned activity within a project that is intended to produce changes in the target population and/or the environment and that can be formally evaluated. For example, assistance in the preparation of a business plan and loan package are planned interventions.

(6)Job creation:To bring about, by activities and services funded under this program, new jobs, that is, jobs that were not in existence before the start of the project. These activities can include self-employment/micro-enterprise training, the development of new business ventures or the expansion of existing businesses.

(7)Nonprofit organization:Any organization (including a community development corporation) exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 by reason of paragraph (3) or (4) of Section 501(c) of such Code.

(8)Non-traditional employment for women or minorities:Employment in an industry or field where women or minorities currently make up less than twenty-five percent of the work force.

(9)Outcome evaluation:An assessment of project results as measured by collected data which define the net effects of the interventions applied in the project. An outcome evaluation will produce and interpret findings related to whether the interventions produced desirable changes and their potential for replicability. It should answer the question: Did this project work?

(10)Private employers:Third party nonprofit organizations or third party for-profit businesses operating or proposing to operate in the same community as the applicant, and which are proposed or potential employers of project participants.

(11)Process evaluation:The ongoing examination of the implementation of a program. It focuses on the effectiveness and efficiency of the program's activities and interventions (for example, methods of recruiting participants, quality of training activities, or usefulness of follow-up procedures). It should answer questions such as: Who is receiving what services and are the services being delivered as planned? It is also known as formative evaluation, because it gathers information that can be used as a management tool to improve the way a program operates while the program is in progress. It should also identify problems that occurred and how they were dealt with and recommend improved means of future implementation. It should answer the question: “How was the program carried out?” In concert with the outcome evaluation, it should also help explain, “Why did this program work/not work?”; and, “What worked and what did not?”

(12)Program participant/beneficiary:An individual eligible to receive TANF assistance under Title I of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act) and any other individual whose income level does not exceed 100 percent of the official poverty line as found in the most recent revision of the Poverty Income Guidelines published by the Department of Health and Human Services. (See Attachment A.)

(13)Project period:The total time a project is approved for support, including any extensions.

(14)Self-sufficiency:A condition where an individual or family, by reason of employment, does not need and is not eligible for public assistance.

(15)Third party:Any individual, organization, or business entity that is not the direct recipient of grant funds.

(16)Third party agreement:A written agreement entered into by the grantee and an organization, individual or business entity (including a wholly-owned subsidiary), by which the grantee makes an equity investment or a loan in support of grant purposes.

(17)Third party in-kind contributions:The value of non-cash contributions provided by non-federal third parties which may be in the form of real property, equipment, supplies and other expendable property, and the value of goods and services directly benefitting and specifically identifiable to the project or program.

Part II—Program Objectives and Requirements

The objective of the JOLI program is to conduct projects to create new employment and business opportunities for certain low-income individuals through the provision of technical and financial assistance to private employers in the community, self-employment/micro-enterprise programs, and/or new business development programs.

A. Eligible Applicants

Organizations eligible to apply for funding under this program are nonprofit organizations (including community development corporations and charitable organizations) that are exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 by reason of paragraph (3) or (4) of section 501(c) of such Code. Applicants must provide documentation of their tax exempt status. The applicant can accomplish this by providing a copy of the applicant's listing in the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) most recent list of tax-exempt organizations described in section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code or by providing a copy of the currently valid IRS tax exemption certificate. Failure toprovide evidence of Section 501(c)(3) or (4) tax exempt status will result in rejection of the application.

B. Project and Budget Periods

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, Public Law 104-193, reauthorized and modified Section 505 of the Family Support Act of 1988, the JOLI authorizing legislation. Among the modifications effected was the deletion of sub-section (e) that had legislatively-mandated project duration. Applicants are therefore free to apply for projects from one to three year durations, depending on the proposed work program and the applicant's assessment of the time required to achieve the proposed project goals.

OCS has made the programmatic determination that the nature of job creation and career development projects which meet the funding criteria set forth in this announcement is such that it is not feasible to divide funding into 12-month increments, and that completion of the entire project is in each case necessary to achieve the purposes of the JOLI program. Consequently, budget periods for grants under this announcement may be up to three years.

C. Availability of Funds and Grant Amounts

All grant awards are subject to the availability of appropriated funds. It is anticipated that approximately $4,750,000 will be available in FY 2002 for JOLI for new grants.

The 1996 amendments to the JOLI authorizing legislation also deleted the limitation on the number of grants to be made in any one fiscal year. Thus, OCS expects to award up to 7 new grants in FY 2002, based on the amounts requested and contingent on the availability of funds. Given the limited funds available for the JOLI program, applicants should make a realistic assessment of the time and funds needed to achieve the goals set forth in their proposal, and design a work program and budget accordingly. The grant request should be for an amount needed, up to a maximum of $700,000, to implement that part of the project plan supported by OCS funds, taking into consideration other cash and in-kind resources mobilized by the applicant in support of the proposed project. (See Paragraph D, below, Mobilization of Resources, and Part III, Element VI: Budget Appropriateness and Reasonableness.)

In summary, grants of up to $700,000 in OCS funds for project periods and budget periods of up to three years will be awarded to selected organizations under this program in FY 2002.

D. Mobilization of Resources

OCS will give favorable consideration in the review process to applicants who mobilize cash and/or third party in-kind contributions for direct use in the project. The firm commitment of these resources must be documented and submitted with the application in order to be given credit in the review process under the Public-Private Partnerships project element (Part III, Element V). Except in unusual situations, this documentation must be in the form of letters of commitment from the organization(s)/individual(s) from which resources will be received. Even though there is no matching requirement for the JOLI Program, grantees will be held accountable for any match, cash or in-kind contribution proposed or pledged as part of an approved application. (See Part III, Element V, and Part V, Instructions for Completing the SF-424, Section C, Non-Federal Resources.)

E. Program Participants/Beneficiaries

A low-income individual eligible to participate in a project conducted under this program is any individual eligible to receive TANF assistance under a State program funded under Part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act, or any other individual whose income level does not exceed 100 percent of the official poverty line. Within these categories, emphasis should be on individuals who are receiving TANF assistance or its equivalent under State auspices; those who are unemployed; those residing in public housing or receiving housing assistance; non-custodial parents, and those who are homeless.

Attachment A to this announcement is an excerpt from the current poverty guidelines. Annual revisions of these guidelines are normally published in theFederal Registerin February or early March. Grantees will be required to apply the most recent guidelines throughout the project period. These revised guidelines also may be obtained at public libraries, Congressional offices, by writing the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, or by accessing the following website:“http://aspe.os.dhhs.gov/poverty/poverty.htm”.

No other government agency or privately-defined poverty guidelines are applicable for the determination of low-income eligibility for this program.

F. Prohibition and Restrictions on the Use of Funds

The use of funds for new construction or the purchase of real property is prohibited. Costs incurred for the rearrangement and alteration of facilities required specifically for the grant program are allowable when specifically approved in advance by ACF in writing.

If the applicant is proposing a project which will affect a property listed in, or is eligible for inclusion in, the National Register of Historic Places, it must identify this property in the narrative and explain how it has complied with the provisions of section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 as amended. If there is any question as to whether the property is listed in, or is eligible for inclusion in, the National Register of Historic Places, the applicant should consult with the State Historic Preservation Officer. (See Attachment D: SF-424B, Item 13 for additional guidelines.) Failure to comply with the cited Act will result in the application being ineligible for funding consideration.

G. Multiple Submittals

Due to the limited amount of funds available under this program, only a single proposal from any one eligible applicant will be funded by OCS from FY 2002 JOLI funds pursuant to this announcement.

H. Re-funding

OCS will not provide funding to a previously funded grantee to carry out the same work plan in the same target area.

I. Sub-Contracting or Delegating Projects

An applicant will not be funded where the proposal indicates that the applicant, if funded, will serve as a straw-party, that is, act as a mere conduit of funds to a third party without performing a substantive role itself. This prohibition does not bar sub-contracting or sub-awarding for specific services or activities needed to conduct the project.

J. Maintenance of Effort

The application must include an assurance that activities funded under this Program Announcement are in addition to, and not in substitution for, activities previously carried out without Federal assistance. (See Part VI, Section A.8 and Attachment M.)

K. Program Focus

The Congressional Conference Report on the 1992 appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and related agencies directed the ACF torequire economic development strategies as part of the application process to ensure that highly qualified organizations participate in the program. [H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 282, 102nd Cong., 1st Sess. 39 (1991)]

Priority will be given to applicants proposing to serve those areas containing the highest percentage of individuals receiving TANF assistance under a State program, which is funded under Part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act.

While projected employment in future years may be included in the application, it is essential that the focus of the project concentrate on the creation of new full-time, permanent jobs and/or new business development opportunities for TANF recipients and other low-income individuals during the grant project period. OCS is particularly interested in receiving innovative proposals that grow out of the experience and creativity of applicants and the needs of their clientele and communities.

Applicants should include strategies which seek to integrate projects financed and jobs created under this program into a larger effort of broad community revitalization which will promote job and business opportunities for eligible program participants and impact the overall economic environment.

OCS will only fund projects that create new employment and/or business opportunities for eligible program participants. That is, new, full-time permanent jobs through the expansion of a pre-identified business or new business development, or by providing opportunities for self-employment. In addition, projects should enhance the participants' capacities, abilities and skills and thus contribute to their progress toward self-sufficiency.

With national welfare reform a reality, and many States implementing “welfare-to-work” programs, the need for well-paying jobs with career potential for TANF recipients becomes ever more pressing. In this context, the role of JOLI as a vehicle for exploring new and promising areas of employment opportunity for the poor is more important than ever.

Within the JOLI Program framework of job creation through new or expanding businesses or self-employment, OCS would welcome proposals offering business or career opportunities to eligible participants in a variety of fields. For instance, these might include day care and transportation, which are not only opportunities for employment, but when not available can be serious barriers to employment for TANF recipients; environmental justice initiatives involving activities such as toxic waste clean-up, water quality management, or Brownfields remediation; health-related jobs such as home health aides or medical support services; and non-traditional jobs for women and minorities.

L. Creation of Jobs and Employment Opportunities

The requirement for creation of new, full-time permanent employment opportunities (jobs) applies to all applications. OCS has determined that the creation of non-traditional job opportunities for women or minorities in industries or activities where they currently make up less than twenty-five percent of the work force meets the requirements of the JOLI legislation for the creation of new employment opportunities. OCS continues to solicit other JOLI applications that propose the creation of jobs through the expansion of existing businesses, the development of new businesses, or the creation of employment opportunities through self-employment/micro-enterprise development.

Proposed projects must show that the jobs and/or business/self employment opportunities to be created under this program will contribute to achieving self-sufficiency among the target population. The employment opportunities should provide hourly wages that exceed the minimum wage and also provide benefits such as health insurance, child care, and career development opportunities.

M. Cooperative Partnership Agreement With the Designated Agency Responsible for the TANF Program

A formal, cooperative relationship between the applicant and the designated State agency responsible for administering the TANF program (as provided for under Part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act) in the area served by the project is a requirement for funding. The application should include a signed, written agreement between the applicant and the designated State agency responsible for administering the TANF program, or a letter of commitment to such an agreement within 6 months of a grant award (contingent only on receipt of OCS funds). The agreement must describe the cooperative relationship, including specific activities and/or actions each of these entities propose to carry out over the course of the grant period in support of the project.

The agreement, at a minimum, must cover the specific services and activities that will be provided to the target population. (See Attachment I for a list of the State Human Services Administrators administering TANF.)

N. Third Party Project Evaluation

Proposals must include provision for an independent methodologically sound evaluation of the effectiveness of the activities carried out with the grant and their efficacy in creating new jobs and business opportunities. There must be a well-defined process evaluation and an outcome evaluation whose design will permit tracking of project participants throughout the proposed project period. The evaluation must be conducted by an independent evaluator, i.e., a person with recognized evaluation skills who is organizationally distinct from, and not under the control of, the applicant. It is important that each successful applicant should have a third party evaluator selected and performing at the very latest by the time the work program of the project is begun, and if possible before that time, so that he or she can participate in the final design of the program in order to assure that data necessary for the evaluation will be collected and available.

O. Economic Development Strategy

As noted in A. above, the Congress, in the Conference Report on the FY 1992 appropriation, directed ACF to require economic development strategies as part of the application process for JOLI to ensure that highly qualified organizations participate in the program. Accordingly, applicants must include in their proposal an explanation of how the proposed project is integrated with and supports a larger economic development strategy within the target community. Where appropriate, applicants should document how they were involved in the preparation and planned implementation of a comprehensive community-based strategic plan, such as that required for applying for Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Community (EZ/EC) status, to achieve both economic and human development in an integrated manner, and how the proposed project supports the goals of that plan. (See Part III, Sub-Element III(b).)

P. Training and Support for Micro-Business Development

In the case of proposals for creating self-employment micro-business opportunities for eligible participants, the applicant must detail how it will provide training and support services to potential entrepreneurs. The assistance to be provided to potentialentrepreneurs must include, at a minimum: (1) Technical assistance in basic business planning and management concepts; (2) assistance in preparing a business plan and loan application; and, (3) access to business loans.

Q. Support for Noncustodial Parents

OCS and the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), both part of the ACF, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to foster and enhance partnerships between OCS grantees and local Child Support Enforcement (CSE) agencies. (See Attachment N for the list of CSE State Offices that can identify local CSE agencies.) In the words of the MOU:

“The purpose of these partnerships will be to develop and implement innovative strategies in States and local communities to increase the capability of low-income parents and families to fulfill their parental responsibilities. Too many low-income parents are without jobs or resources needed to support their children. A particular focus of these partnerships will be to assist low-income, non-custodial parents of children receiving TANF to achieve a degree of self-sufficiency that will enable them to provide support that will free their families of the need for such assistance.”

Accordingly, a rating factor and a review criterion have been included in this Program Announcement that will award two points to applicants who have entered into partnership agreements with their local CSE agency to provide for referrals to their project in accordance with provisions of the OCS-OCSE MOU. (See Part III, Sub-Element III(c).)

R. Technical Assistance to Employers

Technical assistance should be specifically addressed to the needs of the private employer in creating new jobs to be filled by eligible individuals and/or to the individuals themselves in areas such as job-readiness, literacy and other basic skills training, job preparation, self-esteem building, etc. Financial assistance may be provided to the private employer as well as to the individual.

If the technical and/or financial assistance is to be provided to pre-identified businesses that will be expanded or franchised, written commitments from the businesses to create the planned jobs must be included with the application.

S. Applicant Experience and Cost-per-Job

In the review process, favorable consideration will be given to applicants with a demonstrated record of achievement in promoting job and enterprise opportunities for low-income people.

In view of inflation and other economic factors, OCS considers the cost of creating a job under the JOLI program to be $10,000 or less.

Favorable consideration will be given to those applicants who show the lowest cost-per-job created for low-income individuals. For this program, OCS views $15,000 in OCS funds as the maximum amount for the creation of a job and, unless there are extenuating circumstances, will not fund projects where the cost-per-job in OCS funds exceeds this amount. Only those jobs created and filled by low-income people will be counted in the cost-per-job formula. (See Part III, Sub-Element III (d).)

T. Loan Funds

The creation of a revolving loan fund with funds received under this program is an allowable activity. However, OCS encourages the use of funds from other sources for this purpose. Loans made to eligible beneficiaries for business development activities must be at or below market rate.

Note:

Interest accrued on revolving loan funds may be used to continue or expand the activities of the approved project.

U. Business Plan

Where the applicant is proposing the development and startup of a new business or the expansion of an existing business, a business plan that follows the outline in Attachment L to this announcement must be submitted as an Appendix to the proposal.

V. Dissemination of Project Results

Applications should include a plan for disseminating the results of the project after expiration of the grant period. Applicants may budget up to $2,000 for dissemination purposes. Final project reports should include a description of dissemination activities with copies of any materials produced.

W. Third Party Agreements

Any applicant submitting a proposal for funding who proposes to use some or all of the requested OCS funds to enter into a third party agreement in order to make an equity investment (such as the purchase of stock) or a loan to an organization, or business entity (including a wholly-owned subsidiary), must include in the application, along with the business plan, a copy of the signed third party agreement for approval by OCS.

• A third party agreement covering an equity investment must contain, at a minimum, the following:

1. The type of equity transaction (e.g. stock purchase);

2. Purpose(s) for which the equity investment is being made;

3. Cost per share;

4. Number of shares being purchased;

5. Percentage of ownership of the business; and,

6. Number of seats on the board, if applicable.

• A third party agreement covering a loan transaction must contain, at a minimum, the following information:

1. Purpose(s) for which the loan is being made;

2. Rates of interest and other fees;

3. Terms of loan;

4. Repayment schedules;

5. Collateral security; and,

6. Default and collection procedures.

• All third party agreements must include written commitments as follows:

From the third party (as appropriate):

1. A minimum of 75% of the jobs to be created as a result of the infusion of grant funds will be filled by low-income individuals;

2. The grantee will have the right to screen applicants for jobs to be filled by low-income individuals and to verify their eligibility;

3. If the grantee's equity investment equals 25% or more of the business's assets, the grantee will have representation on the board of directors;

4. Reports will be made to the grantee regarding the use of grant funds no less than on a quarterly basis;

5. A procedure will be developed to assure that there are no duplicate counts of jobs created; and,

6. Detailed information should be provided on how the grant funds will be used by the third party by submitting a narrative Source and Use of Funds Statement. In addition, the agreement must provide details on how the grantee will provide support and technical assistance to the third party in areas of recruitment and retention of low-income individuals.

From the grantee:

Detailed information on how the grantee will provide support and technical assistance to the third party in areas of recruitment and retention of low-income individuals.

• All third party agreements should be accompanied by:

1. A signed statement from a Certified or Licensed Public Accountant as to the sufficiency of the third party's financial management system in accordance with 45 CFR 74, to protect adequately any federal funds awarded under the application;

2. Financial statements for the third party organization for the prior threeyears. (If not available because the organization is a newly-formed entity, include a statement to this effect.); and,

3. Specifications as to how the grantee will provide oversight of the third party for the life of the agreement. Also, the agreement will specify that the third party will maintain documentation related to the expenditure of grant funds loaned to or invested in the third party and grant objectives as specified in the agreement and will provide the grantee and HHS access to that documentation.

If a signed third party agreement is not available when the application is submitted, the applicant must submit, as part of the narrative, as much of the above-mentioned information as possible in order to enable reviewers to evaluate the proposal.

Note:

The funds for a third party agreement will not be released until the agreement has been approved by OCS.

Part III—The Project Description, Program Proposal Elements and Review Criteria A. Purpose

The project description provides the major means by which an application is evaluated and ranked to compete with other applications for available assistance. The project description should be concise and complete and should address the activity for which Federal funds are being requested. Supporting documents should be included where they can present information clearly and succinctly. Applicants are encouraged to provide information on their organizational structure, staff, related experience, and other information considered to be relevant. Awarding offices use this and other information to determine whether the applicant has the capability and resources necessary to carry out the proposed project. It is important, therefore, that this information be included in the application. However, in the narrative the applicant must distinguish between resources directly related to the proposed project from those that will not be used in support of the specific project for which funds are requested.

B. Project Summary/Abstract

Provide a summary of the project description (a page or less) with reference to the funding request.

C. Objectives and Need for Assistance

Clearly identify the physical, economic, social, financial, instructional, and/or other problem(s) requiring a solution. The need for assistance must be demonstrated and the principal and subordinate objectives of the project must be clearly stated; and supporting documentation, such as letters of support and testimonials from concerned interests other than the applicant, may be included. Any relevant data based on planning studies should be included or referred to in the endnotes/footnotes, and incorporate demographic data and participant/beneficiary information, as needed. In developing the project description, the applicant may volunteer or be requested to provide information on the total range of projects currently being conducted and supported (or to be initiated), some of which may be outside the scope of the program announcement.

D. Results for Benefits Expected

Identify the results and benefits to be derived. For example, describe the population to be recruited into the JOLI program, how many jobs and/or businesses are projected to be created, and how the project will assist participants to move toward self-sufficiency.

E. Approach

Outline a plan of action which describes the scope and detail of how the proposed work will be accomplished. Account for all functions or activities identified in the application. Cite factors which might accelerate or decelerate the work and state your reason for taking the proposed approach rather than others. Describe any unusual features of the project such as design or technological innovations, reductions in cost or time, or extraordinary social and community involvement.

Provide quantitative monthly or quarterly projections of the accomplishments to be achieved for each function or activity in such terms as the number of people to be served and the number of jobs to be created, if applicable. When accomplishments cannot be quantified by activity or function, list them in chronological order to show the schedule of accomplishments and their target dates.

If any data are to be collected, maintained, and/or disseminated, clearance may be required from the OMB. This clearance pertains to any “collection of information that is conducted or sponsored by ACF”.

List organizations, cooperating entities, consultants, or other key individuals who will work on the project along with a short description of the nature of their effort or contribution.

F. Organization Profiles

Provide information on the applicant organization(s) and cooperating partners such as organizational charts, Board of Directors, Employer Identification Numbers, contact persons and telephone numbers, and other documentation of professional accreditation, information on compliance with Federal/State/local government standards, documentation of experience in the program area, and other pertinent information. Any non-profit organization must submit proof of its non-profit status with its application. The non-profit agency can accomplish this by providing a copy of one of the following: the applicant's listing in the IRS' most recent list of tax-exempt organizations described in Section 501(c)(3) or (4) of the IRS code; a copy of the currently valid IRS tax exemption certificate; a copy of the articles of incorporation bearing the seal of the State in which the corporation or association is domiciled.

G. Budget and Budget Justification

Provide a line item detail and detailed calculations for each budget object class identified on the Budget Information form, SF-424A. Detailed calculations must include estimation methods, quantities, unit costs, and other similar quantitative detail sufficient for the calculation to be duplicated. The detailed budget narrative must also include a breakout by the funding sources identified in Block 15 of the SF-424.

Provide a narrative budget justification that describes how categorical costs are derived. Discuss the necessity, reasonableness, and allocability of the proposed costs.

The following guidelines are for preparing the budget and budget justification. Both Federal and non-Federal resources shall be detailed and justified in the budget and the budget justification. For purposes of preparing the budget and budget justification, “Federal resources” refers only to the ACF grant applied for. “Non-Federal resources” are all other Federal and non-Federal resources. It is suggested that budget amounts and computations be presented in a columnar format: first column, object class categories; second column, Federal budget; next column(s), non-Federal budget(s), and last column, total budget.

The budget justification should be a narrative.

Personnel

Description:Costs of employee salaries and wages.

Justification:Identify the project director or principal investigator, if known. For each staff person, provide the title, time commitment to the project (in months), time commitment to the project (as a percentage or full-time equivalent), annual salary, grant salary, wage rates, etc. Do not include the costs of consultants or personnel costs of delegate agencies or of specific project(s) or businesses to be financed by the applicant.

Fringe Benefits

Description:Costs of employee fringe benefits unless treated as part of an approved indirect cost rate.

Justification:Provide a breakdown of the amounts and percentages that comprise fringe benefit costs such as health insurance,FICA, retirement insurance, taxes, etc.

Travel

Description:Costs of project-related travel by employees of the applicant organization (does not include costs of consultant travel).

Justification:For each trip, show the total number of travelers, travel destination, duration of trip, per diem, mileage allowances, if privately owned vehicles will be used, and other transportation costs and subsistence allowances. Travel costs for key staff to attend ACF-sponsored workshops should be detailed in the budget.

Equipment

Description:“Equipment” means an article of nonexpendable, tangible personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost which equals or exceeds the lesser of (a) the capitalization level established by the organization for the financial statement purposes, or (b) $5,000.

Note:

Acquisition cost means the net invoice unit price of an item of equipment, including the cost of any modifications, attachments, accessories, or auxiliary apparatus necessary to make it usable for the purpose for which it is acquired. Include ancillary charges, such as taxes, duty, protective in-transit insurance, freight and installation with acquisition cost in accordance with the organization's regular written accounting practices.

Justification:For each type of equipment requested, provide a description, the cost per unit, the number of units, the total cost, and a plan for use in the project, as well as use or disposal after the project ends. An applicant organization that uses its own definition for equipment should provide a copy of its policy or section of its policy which includes the equipment definition.

Supplies

Description:Costs of all tangible personal property other than that included under the Equipment category.

Justification:Specify general categories of supplies and their costs. Show computations and provide other information which supports the amount requested.

Contractual

Description:Costs of all contracts for services and goods except for those which belong under other categories such as equipment, supplies, construction, etc. Third-party evaluation contracts (if applicable) and contracts with secondary recipient organizations, including delegate agencies and specific project(s) or businesses to be financed by the applicant, should be included under this category.

Justification:All procurement transactions shall be conducted in a manner to provide, to the maximum extent practical, open and free competition. Recipients and subrecipients, other than States that are required to use Part 92 procedures, must justify any anticipated procurement action that is expected to be awarded without competition and exceed the simplified acquisition threshold fixed at 41 USC 403(11), (currently set at $100,000). Recipients might be required to make available to ACF pre-award review and procurement documents, such as request for proposals or invitations for bids, independent cost estimates, etc.

Note:

Whenever the applicant intends to delegate part of the project to another agency, the applicant must provide a detailed budget and budget narrative for each delegate agency, by agency title, along with the required supporting information referred to in these instructions.

Other

Description:Enter the total of all other costs. Such costs, where applicable and appropriate, may include but are not limited to insurance, food, medical and dental costs (non-contractual), professional services costs, space and equipment rentals, printing and publication, computer use, training costs, such as tuition and stipends, staff development costs, and administrative costs.

Justification:Provide computations, a narrative description and a justification for each cost under this category.

H. Non-Federal Resources

Amounts of non-Federal resources that will be used to support the project as identified in Block “15” of the SF-424. The firm commitment of these resources must be documented and submitted with the application for credit in the review process. A detailed budget must be prepared for each funding source.

I. Evaluation Criteria Proposal Elements and Review Criteria for Applications

Each application which passes the initial screening will be assessed and scored by three independent reviewers. Each reviewer will give a numerical score for each application reviewed. These numerical scores will be supported by explanatory statements on a formal rating form describing major strengths and weaknesses under each applicable criterion published in the Announcement. Scoring will be based on a total of 100 points, and for each application will be the average of the scores of the three reviewers.

The competitive review of proposals will be based on the degree to which applicants:

(1) Adhere to the requirements in PART II and incorporate each of the Elements and Sub-Elements below into their proposals, so as to:

(2) Describe convincingly a project that will develop new employment or business opportunities for TANF recipients and other low-income individuals that can lead to a transition from dependency to economic self-sufficiency;

(3) Propose a realistic budget and time frame for the project that will support the successful implementation of the work plan to achieve the projects goals in a timely and cost effective manner; and,

(4) Provide for the collection and validation of relevant data to support the national evaluation.

In order to simplify the application preparation and review process, OCS seeks to keep grant proposals cogent and brief. Applications with project narratives (excluding Project Summaries, Budget Justifications and Appendices) of more than 30 letter-sized pages of 12 c.p.i. type or equivalent on a single side will not be reviewed for funding.

Applicants should prepare and assemble their project description using the following outline of required project elements. They should, furthermore, build their project concept, plans, and application description upon the guidelines set forth for each of the project elements.

Project descriptions are evaluated on the basis of substance, not length. Pages should be numbered and a table of contents should be included for easyreference. For each of the Project Elements or Sub-Elements below there is at the end of the discussion a suggested number of pages to be devoted to the particular element or sub-element. These are suggestions only, but the applicant must remember that the overall Project Narrative must not be longer than 30 pages.

Evaluation Criteria 1: Organizational Profile Element I—Organizational Experience in Program Area and Staff Skills, Resources and Responsibilities Sub-Element I(a)—Agency's Experience and Commitment in Program Area (Weight of 0-10 points in proposal review)

Applicants should cite their organization's capability and relevant experience in developing and operating programs which deal with poverty problems similar to those to be addressed by the proposed project. They should also cite the organization's experience in collaborative programming and operations which involve evaluations and data collection. Applicants should identify agency executive leadership in this section and briefly describe their involvement in the proposed project and provide assurance of their commitment to its successful implementation.

The application should include documentation that briefly summarizes two similar projects undertaken by the applicant agency and the extent to which the stated and achieved performance targets, including permanent benefits to low-income populations, have been achieved. The application should note and justify the priority that this project will have within the agency, including the facilities and resources that it has available to carry it out.

It is suggested that applicants use no more than 2 pages for this sub-element.

Note:

The maximum number of points will be given only to those organizations with a demonstrated record of achievement in promoting job creation and enterprise opportunities for low-income people.

Sub-Element I(b)—Staff Skills, Resources and Responsibilities (Weight of 0-10 points in proposal review)

The application must identify the two or three individuals who will have the key responsibility for managing the project, coordinating services and activities for participants and partners, and for achieving performance targets. The focus should be on the qualifications, experience, capacity and commitment to the program of the executive officials of the organization and the key staff persons who will administer and implement the project. The person identified as project director should have supervisory experience, experience in finance and business, and experience with the target population. Because this is a new project, within an already-established agency, OCS expects that the key staff person(s) would be identified, if not hired, or provide an estimated hiring time line for each individual to be on board.

The application must also include a resume of the third party evaluator, if identified or hired; or the minimum qualifications and position description for the third party evaluator, who must be a person with recognized evaluation skills who is organizationally distinct from and not under the control of the applicant. (SeeElement IV: Project Evaluation,below, for fuller discussion of evaluator qualifications.)

Actual resumes of key staff and position descriptions should be included in an appendix to the proposal.

It is suggested that applicants use no more than 3 pages for this sub-element.

Evaluation Criteria 2: Approach 1 Element II: Project Theory, Design, and Plan

OCS seeks to learn from the application why and how the project, as proposed, is expected to lead to the creation of new employment opportunities for low-income individuals, which can lead to significant improvements in individual and family self-sufficiency.

Applicants are urged to design and present their project in terms of a conceptual cause-effect framework. In the following paragraphs, a framework is described that suggests a way to present a project so as to show the logic of the cause-effect relations between project activities and project results. Applicants are not required to use the exact language described; but it is important to present the project in a way that makes clear the cause-effect relationship between what the project plans to do and the results it expects to achieve.

Sub-Element II(a)—Description of Target Population, Analysis of Need, and Project Assumptions (Weight of 0-10 points in application review)

The project design or plan should begin by identifying the underlying program assumptions. These are the beliefs on which the proposed program is built. These assumptions include: the needs of the population to be served; the current services available to that population, and where and how they fail to meet their needs; why the proposed services or interventions are appropriate and will meet those needs; and the impact the proposed interventions will have on the project participants.

In other words, the underlying assumptions of the program are the applicant's analysis of the needs and problems to be addressed by the project, and the applicant's theory of how its proposed interventions will address those needs and problems to achieve the desired result. Thus a strong application is based upon a clear description of the needs and problems to be addressed and a persuasive understanding of the causes of those problems.

In this sub-element of the proposal, the applicant must precisely identify the target population to be served. The geographic area to be impacted should then be described briefly, citing the percentage of low-income individuals and TANF recipients, as well as the unemployment rate and other data relevant to the project design.

The application should include an analysis of the identified personal barriers to employment, job retention and greater self-sufficiency faced by the target population. (These might include such problems as illiteracy, substance abuse, family violence, lack of skills training, health or medical problems, need for childcare, lack of suitable clothing or equipment, or poor self-image.)

The application should also include an analysis of the identified community systemic barriers which the project will seek to overcome. These might include lack of jobs (high unemployment rate); lack of public transportation; lack of markets; unavailability of financing, insurance or bonding; inadequate social services (employment service, childcare, job training); high incidence of crime; inadequate health care; or environmental hazards (such as toxic dumpsites or leaking underground tanks).

Applicants should be sure not to overlook the personal and family services and support that might be needed by project participants after they are on the job which will enhance job retention and advancement.

If the jobs to be created by the proposed project are themselves designed to fill one or more of the needs, or remove one or more of the barriers so identified, this fact should be highlighted in the discussion, e.g., jobsin child care, health care, or transportation.

It is suggested that applicants use no more than 4 pages for this sub-element.

Sub-Element II(b)—Project Strategy and Design: Interventions, Outcomes, and Goals (Weight of 0-10 points in proposal review)

The work plan must describe the proposed project activities, or interventions, and explain how they are expected to result in outcomes which will meet the needs of the program participants and assist them to overcome the identified personal and systemic barriers to employment, job retention, and self-sufficiency. In other words, what will the project staff do with the resources provided to the project and how will what they do (interventions) assist in creating and sustaining employment and business opportunities for program participants in the face of the needs and problems that have been identified.

The underlying assumptions concerning client needs and the theory of how they can be effectively addressed, which are discussed above, lead in the project design to the conduct of a variety of project activities or interventions, each of which is assumed to result in immediate changes, or outcomes.

The immediate changes lead to intermediate outcomes; and the intermediate outcomes lead to the attainment of the final project goals.

The applicant should describe the major activities, or interventions, which are to be carried out to address the needs and problems identified in Sub-Element II(a); and should discuss the immediate changes, or outcomes, which are expected to result. These are the results expected from each service or intervention immediately after it is provided. For example, a job readiness training program might be expected to result in clients having increased knowledge of how to apply for a job, improved grooming for job interviews, and improved job interview skills; or business training and training in bookkeeping and accounting might be expected to result in project participants making an informed decision about whether they are suited for entrepreneurship.

At the next level are the intermediate outcomes, which result from these immediate changes. Often an intermediate project outcome is the result of several immediate changes resulting from a number of related interventions such as training and counseling. Intermediate outcomes should be expressed in measurable changes in knowledge, attitudes, behavior, or status/condition. In the above examples, the immediate changes achieved by the job readiness program, coupled with technical assistance to an employer in the expansion of a business, could be expected to lead to intermediate outcomes of creation of new job openings and in the participant applying for a job with the company. The acquisition of business skills, coupled with the establishment of a loan fund, could be expected to result in the actual decision by the participant to go into a particular business venture or seek the alternative track of pursuing job readiness and training.

Finally, the application should describe how the achievement of these intermediate outcomes will be expected to lead to the attainment of the project goals: employment in newly created jobs, new careers in non-traditional jobs, successful business ventures, or employment in an expanded business, depending on the project design. Applicants must remember that if the major focus of the project is to be the development and startup of a new business or the expansion of an existing business, then a business plan which follows the outline in Attachment L to this announcement must be submitted as an appendix to the proposal. (See Part II, U.)

Applicants do not have to use the exact terminology described above, but it is important to describe the project in a way that makes clear the expected cause-and-effect relationship between what the project plans to do: the activities or interventions, the changes that are expected to result, and how those changes will lead to attainment of the project goals of new employment opportunities and greater self-sufficiency. The competitive review of this sub-element will be based on the extent to which the application makes a convincing case that the activities to be undertaken will lead to the projected results.

It is suggested that applicants use no more than 4 pages for this sub-element.