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Questions and Answers on the 2017 Implementation Grant Solicitation
will be posted

Questions and Answers are broken down by topic.

General Questions Technical Questions Proposal Format/Application Partnership Plan Selection Process Funding   Industry Specific Questions

To view frequently asked questions from the April 2017 Solicitation for Planning Grant Proposals, please click here.

To view frequently asked questions from the July 2015 Solicitation for Implementation Grant Proposal, please click here.

To view frequently asked questions from the April 2015 Solicitation for Planning Grant Proposals, please click here.

Click on each question to show the answer.


General Program Inquiries

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1. What is the grant cycle (start and end dates) for the Implementation Grant? 
The Implementation Grant will be released in April 2017. The submission deadline will be in July 2017.
2. How long are the Real Jobs Partnerships? 
Planning Grant awards are for three months. Implementation Grant awards are initially authorized for three years, with an option to renew for an additional two years. Additional funds are available through a PITCH process, and allocations will be based on available funds and performance of the workforce training plan. Please see www.dlt.ri.gov/realjobs/Background.htm and www.dlt.ri.gov/realjobs/AddFunds.htm for more information on the PITCH process. Continued funding of Real Jobs Partnerships will be subject to the availability of state and federal funds.
3. What does it mean to become a partnership?
A Real Jobs Rhode Island Partnership is a partnership between its members and the Department. The Partnerships are responsible for creating a comprehensive plan that will help guide its evolving and/or expanding workforce development efforts. The Department takes an active role in managing partnerships and connecting them with other industry players to assist the partnerships in evolving and expanding.
4. Once a partnership gets a grant, what happens three years down the road?
The state interest is in growing the economy. The goal is that that company/partnership will have achieved outcomes or have institutionalized successful strategies and models.
5. How long will the Real Jobs RI program last? I don’t want to invest in a partnership to only have the
    program disappear?
The Real Jobs RI program is well-funded. The Department cannot guarantee funding, but does not foresee the program ending in the near future. The program is structured so that the partnerships initially contracts with the Department for three years, with an optional renewal for an additional two years.
6. How does the Planning Grant fit in?
The Real Jobs RI Planning Grant is a mechanism to bring industry players together to begin to build a strategy for a larger investment. It is intended to help a partnership focus on a specific need, design a solution, and identify partners who can support the partnership’s activities. It is intended to help Planning Grant recipients put together an Implementation Grant proposal.
7. What happens after a company is awarded an Implementation Grant, and will the company then incur
     costs?
The goal is that that company/partnership will have achieved outcomes or have institutionalized successful strategies and models.
8. How are you measuring partnership performance and evaluating the Real Jobs RI program?
Each Real Jobs Partnership is unique. Specific performance measures are negotiated after awards are made, but each partnership reports basic outcomes such who was trained, how many people completed the training, and how many people got jobs. The Department has been working with the Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government on developing performance measures that can used in active contract management.
9.Recent performance numbers have shown that there are not many low income or people on public benefits in the training programs. Can you explain why?
The way the Department collects data causes participant-level information to be inaccurate. There is no way to guarantee that someone has been honest when filling out an enrollment form, especially when they know a potential employer will see their information. When participants are asked for verification documents, they often go home and do not come back. The Department is working on more efficient and less invasive ways of collecting this type of data.
10. Is there a priority or focus on underserved populations? Are you looking to put a lens on underserved populations and what a partnership would look like to get those folks on some sort of pathway??
This program is about meeting industry demand. However, as the economy continues to improve, there are fewer people left behind. Those that are left behind tend to be harder to serve, and will need to brought back into the labor market. The first Real Jobs RI Implementation Grant recipients included several regional partnerships with more of a population focus, but had companies behind them with jobs that needed to be filled. The Governor’s Workforce Board will soon be introducing a new program called Real Pathways that will be a sister program to Real Jobs RI, but will be population-focused.
11. Will the PowerPoint and the materials from the Pre-Proposal Conference be posted online?
You can view them, along with a copy of the Solicitation, at http://www.dlt.ri.gov/realjobs/Solicitation.htm.
12. Do you typically provide the attendance sheet for others to view?
No, but we encourage you to register in the Real Jobs RI Directory to connect with other organizations that are interested in forming a partnership. You can register at www.dlt.ri.gov/realjobs/Connect.htm.
13. Who will be the Grant Advisor for my industry partnership?
Grant Advisors will be assigned once awards are made. You can view their contact information on our website at www.dlt.ri.gov/realjobs/ContactRJRI.htm.


Technical Questions

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1. Can a fiscal agent be the convener/lead applicant on more than one project?
Yes, within reason. We will try to determine if your organization has the capacity to take on that role in multiple partnerships.
2. Does the Convener need to be an incorporated entity?
No. The “Convener” is a role. It can be a person, but that person needs to have credibility within the industry in order to be able to bring different players to the table.
3. Is the Convener also responsible for ensuring compliance within the partnership?
Compliance is part of the Fiscal Agent’s responsibility. The Convener plays a critical project management role, including managing outreach, activities, logistics and coordination and drafting of the Real Jobs Partnership (RJP) workforce training plan. The Fiscal Agent acts on behalf of the Lead Applicant by performing all financial management duties of the grant and accepting responsibility for the proper use of grant funds. The Fiscal Agent is responsible for receiving and safeguarding grant funds. If award funds include federal funds, the grant recipient must comply with the Uniform Guidance.
4. Can State Agencies and Departments be part of a Real Jobs Partnership?
Specific proposals will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but a State Agency can serve as a strategic partner within a Real Jobs Partnership. They would not, however, be considered an Employer Partner.
5. Can state entities be the lead applicant?
Yes.
6. Are you looking for Planning Grants to target only one industry or can a Planning Grant look at a few to assess which would be the most effective?
Industry demand should drive partnership organization.
7. What if you are working with two industries that have the same need?
Then there is one industry – a cross sector industry partnership..
8. Can Planning Grant funds be used to pay for a grant writer?
No, but they may pay for a consultant
9. Are indirect costs allowed?
Indirect costs are allowed. When using federal funds the guidelines state that a rate must be requested in the absence of a federally approved rate. A “de minimis rate” of 10% of modified total direct costs may be used. More information can be found at www.dol.gov/oasam/boc/DCD-2-CFR-Guid-Jan2015.pdf.
10. Is the grant based on reimbursement?
Generally, the Department does a monthly reimbursement. However, advance and other reimbursement schedules are negotiated upon award.
11. Is it possible to have partners across state lines?
Yes, but an out-of-state partner cannot be the Lead Applicant. The proposal must also explain the rationale behind using an out-of-state partner, as the purpose of Real Jobs RI is to stimulate Rhode Island’s economy.
12. Is it possible to include out of state employers within our partnership?
Yes. Economic regions – and businesses within our state – cross state lines. However, a stronger application will have more of a focus on Rhode Island.
13. Fiscal agent: Do you have to be a 501(c)(3) to be the Fiscal Agent?
No, but if a business is listed as the fiscal agent, then the business must be registered in Rhode Island.
14. Is there any flexibility in the $500/day maximum consultant fee?
The $500/day limit is a Division of Purchasing requirement that cannot be changed.
15. If we are planning to hire a consultant, do you want us to include a resume of qualifications in an appendix in our application, or is a description of their expertise in the narrative sufficient?
A resume for the individual is recommended to provide a fuller picture of their qualifications. However this is not a requirement.
16. Can an Employer or Strategic Partner be part of a proposal Partnership if they have been a Partner in a previous Planning or Implementation Grant?
Yes – a partner (employer or strategic) can be party to more than one proposal. However, if that entity is the LEAD on any proposal, they will want to make sure they speak to their capacity to participate in multiple grants.


Proposal Format/Application

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1. What makes a successful proposal? 
The partnerships that have been successful came to the table with an employer and industry that identified a clear problem for why they are unable to hire people in the jobs they need filled. The level of employer involvement was clear – the employers were excited about the work that the partnership could do, and had the partners that they wanted.
2. What is the Letter of Application requested in IV.C under Proposal Format and Submission Information? 
The Letter of Application is a cover letter from the Lead Applicant, expressing their intent to apply for the Real Jobs RI Solicitation for Planning Grant Proposals and what the partnership hopes to achieve.
3. Is there a page limit for the proposal narrative in the Planning Grant? 
The proposal narrative may not exceed 20 pages.
4. When submitting a Planning Grant, can applicants utilize DLT staff and resources to acquire labor, wage, skills gap and projections data and statistics or to conduct studies to collect that data? 
DLT’s Labor Market Information (LMI) Division publishes a number of publications on labor and workforce data that can be accessed on the LMI website. If the information needed is not available, you may contact LMI for assistance. Their contact information is available here.
5. Do in-kind or matching funds need to be documented? 
Yes. Applicants are asked to identify in-kind, matching and/or leveraged resources in their proposal and on the final financial report.
6. Who should letters of support be addressed to? 
The Letter of Support should be address to Alyssa Alvarado, Grant Officer – Real Jobs RI..
7. Is it acceptable to have a group letter of support that demonstrates buy-in from member companies and
     other stakeholders? 
Group letters are not encouraged as each individual letter should show genuine commitment from the employer partner and other stakeholders as well as an understanding of their specific role and commitments.
8. Do you have a template format for letters of support? 
We do not have a template letter to provide.
9. A Letter of Good Standing from the RI Division of Taxation is required to be submitted with the proposal. I fear that the actual letter will not arrive in time to submit it with the Planning Grant proposal. Will you accept the "Request for Letter of Good Standing" with a copy of payment to the RI Division of Taxation?? 
Yes, we will accept a copy of the request with proof of payment. If awarded, however, the Department must receive the letter before payments can be issued. If applicable, any outstanding taxation matters would have to be remedied.


Partnership Plan

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1. How can a potential applicant identify employer demand? 
Successful applicants have used many different methods. Some of those methods include Labor Market Information data, skills gap studies, and employer focus groups.
2. How can a potential applicant identify a high demand industry? 
Real Jobs Rhode Island is looking for partnerships with significant employer involvement and commitment. Industries can be defined in many different ways. Partnerships could be comprised of employers from different industries that have an occupation in common. Data on industries in Rhode Island can be found in sources such as Labor Market Information data and the 2016 economic study on Rhode Island, Rhode Island Innovates: A Competitive Strategy for the Ocean State, by the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, TEConomy Partners, LLC and Monitor Deloitte.
3. Where can I find examples of sector partnerships? 
A list of past Real Jobs RI planning grant recipients can be found on our website at http://www.dlt.ri.gov/realjobs/pdfs/PlanGrantRecipients.pdf. A list of current Real Jobs RI partnerships can be found on our website at http://www.dlt.ri.gov/realjobs/ImpGrantWin.htm. Examples of sector partnerships in other states can also be found on our website at http://www.dlt.ri.gov/realjobs/resourcesApps.htm.
4. Can we target a specific population? 
Yes. However, it is more important to identify industry and/or employer demand in the planning grant. A recruitment and training strategy can be built out in the Implementation Grant round.
5. Some high-demand careers provide a necessary service, but offer low entry-level wages. Our partnership will
   create a career ladder that will provide new and incumbent workers with support to enter the field and continue
   developing their skills and credentials. Would you encourage a partnership to submit a proposal that targets a
   lower-paying industry if there is a high demand for qualified staff?
We are looking for partnerships that are responsive to industry demand and fill current vacancies. We encourage proposals that fulfill these two requirements.
6. Would Real Jobs RI consider awarding grant funds for a career field that typically starts with low-paying wages?
Real Jobs RI will be awarding funds to Real Jobs Partnerships that intend to create an industry sector training plan that addresses employers’ workforce needs, advances the skills of Rhode Island workers, grows the State’s economy, and increases sustainable employment opportunities for working families.


Selection Process

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1. Is there an internal (DLT) preference for certain entities within certain sectors?
There is no internal preference for certain sectors or entities within those sectors. Certain sectors may benefit from multiple partnerships, and other sectors may be non-traditional. The goal of the Real Jobs Partnership is to grow the industry’s capacity to put people to work.
2. What is the selection process?
Final approval for each grant award shall be determined by the Director of the Department of Labor and Training, based on the recommendations of the Review Committee and taking into account other factors, such as geographic distribution and industry diversity.
3. If you are not chosen, are we going to have a meeting to debrief on why you were not chosen?
Staff can meet with applicants upon request to explain why the proposal was not funded.
4. Do you anticipate certain reasons right now why plans might be rejected?
Plans must be industry-led and demand driven. If they are not, they will be rejected.



Funding

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1. How much are Planning Grant and Implementation Grant awards?
The Planning Grant award is $20,000. The Implementation Grant award will be a soft cap of $150,000. Submissions should generally target that amount but could exceed it with sufficient justification..
2. The Planning Grant period lasts for three months. Does this mean that the funds have to be spent in that window?
Yes. Any unspent funds at the end of the Planning Grant period must be returned to DLT with the final financial and program narrative report.
3. Can the Implementation Grant pay for certain barriers to employment such as daycare and transportation?
Real Jobs RI is looking to braid funds from multiple sources to address the significant needs or challenges for a partnership. Suggestions that have been made in the past include identifying a daycare provider as a collaborative partner or solutions such as using in-kind contributions and leveraging of other resources.


Industry Specific Questions

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1. If a hospital is one of the employer partners, can another hospital in the same healthcare system count as a second employer partner?
Yes, but the proposal should still describe the relationship between the two hospitals for the purpose of the partnership.
2. What if I’m part of a nonprofit? Would you consider that part of an industry?
Nonprofits are employers too. Different organizations and publications categorize ‘industries’ differently. The industry gathering should have a defining element. Some partnerships have defined training for similar groups as “Incumbent Worker Training for Job Creators” because there are many skills that you need throughout your organization. The important thing is to bring employer partners to the table who have a workforce need.
 

 

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Real Jobs Rhode Island
Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training

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