Frequently Asked Questions for the Accelerating Industry-Led Regional Partnerships for Talent Development)
Updated on November 13, 2014
What is the objective of the Research and Evaluation Program?
Through the Research and Evaluation (“R&E”) program, EDA develops and disseminates tools on new and emerging economic development concepts that practitioners and policymakers can utilize to make more informed economic development decisions. R&E program investments provide critical, cutting-edge research and best practices to regional, state, and local practitioners in the economic development field, thereby enhancing understanding and implementation of economic development concepts throughout the country. EDA also regularly evaluates the impacts and outcomes of its various programs as a means of identifying policy and program modifications that will increase the agency’s efficiency and effectiveness.
What is the Accelerating Industry-Led Regional Partnerships for Talent Development competition?
The goal of this competition is to identify, disseminate, and facilitate the replication of best practices in private-public partnerships to build a regional pool of workers with the skills needed by regional businesses. Through this Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO), EDA seeks a non-profit “national partner” that will work with a Federal team led by the Department of Commerce to launch a learning exchange to identify, promote, and expand upon successful best practices for industry-driven regional partnerships for talent development. The learning exchange is a mechanism to identify, understand, and elevate best practices, facilitate peer learning and deepen knowledge, spark replication and advancement across regions, and inform the long-term public investment in talent development.
Who is eligible to apply for funding?
- A State;
- An Indian tribe;
- A city or other political subdivision of a State;
- An entity that is a nonprofit organization, an institution of higher education, a public-private partnership, a science or research park, a Federal laboratory, or an economic development organization or similar entity;
- Due to the national scope of this project the requirement for a letter of support from the applicant’s local government is waived.
- A consortium of any of the entities described in (1) through (4) above.
EDA is not authorized to provide grants to individuals.
How much funding is available for the Accelerating Industry-Led Regional Partnerships for Talent Development competition?
EDA plans to allocate up to $500,000 for this award through its Research and Evaluation program. These funds were appropriated under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (P.L. 113-76).
What is the minimum match required?
Generally, the amount of the EDA award may not exceed 50 percent of the total cost of the project. However, under this announcement, the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development (“Assistant Secretary”) has established a maximum EDA investment rate of up to 80 percent where the project: (a) merits, and is not otherwise feasible without, such an increase to the EDA investment rate; or (b) will be of no or only incidental financial benefit to the recipient. See section 204(c)(3) of PWEDA (42 U.S.C. § 3144); 13 C.F.R. § 301.4(b)(4).
What can be considered in-kind contributions?
In-kind contributions may provide the required non-federal share of the total project cost and can consist of non-cash contributions directly related to the proposed project, such as space, equipment, or services. The market value of the space can be used as in-kind contribution for the life of the project. The most common in-kind contributions are space (leasing a building, office space, meeting area) and/or in some cases personnel time/employee salaries that are used directly related to the project.
What is the anticipated duration of the project?
EDA anticipates an eighteen (18) month project period, subject to the availability of funds, EDA policy and satisfactory performance under the award. Applicants should ensure that their proposal and budget clearly specify how they will complete the scope of work outlined above within this timeframe.
How do I obtain an application package?
An application package can be obtained electronically at www.grants.gov. Applicants may search for this funding opportunity on Grants.gov using Funding Opportunity Number: EDARegionalTalent2014
When is the deadline for submission and where do I submit the application package?
The closing date for receipt of applications for this program is January 9, 2015. Applications should be submitted electronically via www.grants.gov (Grants.gov) and must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, January 9, 2015. EDA will not accept paper, facsimile or email transmissions of applications for this program.
Applications received after the closing date and time will not be considered for funding.
What are the evaluation criteria for applications received under the Accelerating Industry-Led Regional Partnerships for Talent Development competition?
A panel comprised of at least three Federal employees will be formed to review applications. The review panel will evaluate applications and rate and rank them using the evaluation criteria categories identified below. Sub-categories of each will be weighed equally toward the category’s point total. The follow major categories, and their weights, are articulated in detail in section V of this FFO:
- Strategic Approach (30 points);
- Partnership Organization and Personnel (20 points);
- Feasibility of Budget, Financial Match, Deliverables and Timeline (20 points);
- Research Products and Services (20 points); and,
- Sustainability and Scalability (10 points).
Can projects contain construction activity?
There is no funding available for construction projects under this program, including projects related to the design or renovation of buildings.
How do I contact EDA about this FFO?
For additional information, please contact EDA’s Performance and National Programs Division (PNPD) by email at RNTA@eda.gov.
Will EDA conduct an informational webinar?
Yes, an informational webinar will be held on a date to be announced in late November. A recording of the webinar will be made available on EDA’s website. Please check the EDA website and this document for updates regarding the webinar.
Where can I find examples of past projects that qualified for this type of grant?
Due to the innovative nature of this competition, there are no directly related or applicable examples of prior projects. For guidance to steer the general direction and concept of a proposal, EDA recommends prospective applicants: (1) read section I.A. of this FFO, and (2) review the July 2014 White House report: Ready to Work: Job Driven Training and American Opportunity which contains the Job-Driven Training Checklist. A link to these resources are contained in section I.A. of the FFO. For examples of Research and Evaluation project on different subject matters, prospective applicants are encouraged to visit: http://www.eda.gov/tools/.
My organization received a prior EDA grant. Will that affect my eligibility for these new competitions?
No. However, EDA will consider past performance on previous EDA awards when making selections.
What if my organization is planning on subcontracting out a portion of the work? Is the subcontractor considered a co-applicant?
If your organization intends to enter into a buyer and seller relationship that is bound under a contract, then only your organization is required to submit application forms and documents. The subcontractor would not be considered a co-applicant. However, the services to be retained will need to be acquired under an open and free competitive process that is in compliance with federal procurement standards under the applicable Uniform Administrative Requirements regulations.
How do you determine who the co-applicant(s) is (are) and what forms they are required to submit?
If the other entities in question will be partnered with the lead applicant in the management of the grant, and will have direct access to the grant award funds in the form of direct transfers of the proceeds of the award, then that entity can be considered a co-applicant. Co-applicants are required to provide:
- Form SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance)
- Form SF-424 B (Assurances-Non-Construction Programs)
- Form CD-511 (Certification Regarding Lobbying)
- Form SF-LLL (Disclosure of Lobbying Activities)
- If the applicant or co-applicant is a non-profit, a copy of the (1) Certificate of good standing from the State in which the non-profit organization is incorporated; (2) non-profit organization’s current Articles of Incorporation or other formation documents, as applicable; (3) By-Laws; and (4) resolution (or letter) from a general purpose subdivision of State government acknowledging that the non-profit organization is acting in cooperation with officials of that political subdivision (see 13 C.F.R. § 301.2).
Is there a limit on the indirect cost rate?
Indirect costs are allowed based on the rate approved by your cognizant agency.
Does EDA allow program income to be considered a match or an addition to the award?
EDA does not allow for program income to be considered as matching share of cost for the projects that it funds. Funds committed as matching share of cost must be accessible at the time a project is scheduled to begin. Matching share of cost cannot consist of money that may be collected at a future date. EDA treats program income as an offset to the total project costs, which impacts the cost that can be counted for the purposes of reimbursement.
What is EDA’s definition of regional partnership and regional eco-system?
The terms “regional partnerships” and “regional eco-systems” are used interchangeably within this document, and in this context are meant to encompass active participation and engagement from the following: (a) business and industry; (b) business and industry intermediaries and/or consortium; (c) state and/or local government leaders; (d) regional and/or local economic development; (e) secondary, post-secondary, and adult-education; (f) regional and/or local workforce development organizations; (g) organized labor and/or community based organizations; and (h) other organizations that may be strong contributors to the regional eco-system for talent development such as philanthropic organizations, incubators and accelerators.
What is EDA’s definition of industry-led?
The term “industry-led” is meant to denote talent development activities at a regional and local level that are focused on meeting the skills needs of regional employers, with significant participation by those employers and industry consortia in the process. This does not mean that the activities do not involve public sector partners and/or business intermediaries, only that the process is driven by the specific training needs identified by industry partners.
What is EDA’s definition of talent development?
The term “talent development” is synonymous with skills development or workforce development and is meant to encompass the breadth of job-driven training for new and incumbent workers. (See section I.A. for definition of Job-Driven Training.).
What is EDA’s definition of learning exchange?
The term “learning exchange” is meant to describe the mechanism by which a national partner facilitates identifying and teaching of job-driven training best practices and peer learning of regional partnerships with defined outcomes to increase a region’s economic competitiveness.
What is EDA’s definition of region and regional?
The terms “region” and “regional” are meant to represent local and regional “place-based” areas that are defined by the participating applicant areas including regions that may cross state boundaries.
Under the section: “Requirements for Project Narratives” it indicates that a 1-2 page resume should be included for each key personnel involved in the project. Are these resumes included in the 15 page maximum?
Key personnel resumes can be uploaded as an attachment to the Grants.gov application and are not included in the project narrative. The project narrative, however, should include an overall description of personnel roles, activities/deliverables and overall purpose.
Under the section: “Requirements for Project Narratives” it indicates that applicants must include a budget narrative, but in the application there is also a section for budget information, do applicants need to complete both forms?
Yes, both forms are required in order to submit a complete application. In the application, there are two sections for budget information, one is the Form 424A Budget Information Non-Construction Programs, which identifies each budget line item, the second section is the budget narrative (included in project proposal) which provides a clear budget justification of each line item, and how each budget category will be used to support the proposed project.
The FFO discusses a maximum amount for an EDA grant, but can applicants apply for less than that amount?
Yes, an applicant can apply for less than the maximum amount stated in the grant opportunity.
What distress criteria must be met in order to be eligible to receive EDA funding?
As this is a national initiative aimed at assisting economically distressed communities across the nation, it is not necessary for the successful applicant to actually be located in an economically distressed area.
How are applications reviewed?
Applications will be reviewed based on the process outlined in section V.B of the FFO, using the evaluation criteria outlined in sections V.A.1-5.
How are applicants notified if they are selected for the Accelerating Industry-Led Regional Partnerships for Talent Development Challenge?
After the Grants Officer selects the winning applicants, the grant awards will be issued. The grant award (using Form CD-450) will be submitted by two-day delivery service to the appropriate business office of the winning applicant and must be signed and returned without modification to EDA by an authorized representative of the winning applicant within 30 days after receipt. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified that their application was not selected for funding.