Massachusetts Skills Capital Grant Program

FY20 Grant Program Round 2 Guidelines and Application Form

The Massachusetts Workforce Skills Cabinet (WSC) was created by an Executive Order of Governor Charlie Baker on February 26, 2015. The Cabinet aligns the Executive Offices of Education, Labor and Workforce Development, and Housing and Economic Development toward a comprehensive economic growth agenda. The Cabinet is charged with creating and implementing a strategy to ensure that individuals can develop and continuously improve their skills and knowledge to meet the varying hiring needs of employers in the Commonwealth. The Workforce Skills Cabinet has adopted criteria to guide its collaborative work:

  • Be Demand-Driven: Meets a business-driven need, as documented in the funding application and verified in the funding review, award, and implementation
  • Leverages Partnerships: Builds connections between and among educational institutions (including middle/high schools, community colleges, and state colleges/universities), and between educational institutions, private sector businesses and non-profit organizations
  • Reflects Regional Plans: Reflects Workforce Skills Cabinet Regional Planning Blue Print and aligned existing regional economic development, workforce development, and higher education plans to meet the business-driven need
  • Maximizes Increase in Skilled Workers: Leads to an increase in the number of skilled workers in a cost-effective way to meet business-driven hiring needs, and, to the greatest extent possible, focuses on improving the skills of students and/or individuals facing barriers to employment
  • Leverages Other Funding: Builds on other sources of local, state, federal and private funding to meet common goals
  • Builds on Proven Programs: Supports or expands a program that has shown proven results, or is based on a model that has shown proven results
  • Demonstrates Sustainability: Shows evidence of the ability to sustain a contribution to the workforce pipeline after grant funds have expired

As part of the Workforce Skills Cabinet’s work to align resources to better meet common goals, the former Manufacturing Training Equipment Grants (administered by EOHED) and the Vocational Opportunity Challenge Grants (formerly administered by A&F) have been combined into one unified and integrated program - the Skills Capital Grant Program. The 2016 MA Economic Development Bill established three years of funding of $45 million for the WSC to administer the Skill Capital Grant Program to increase the capacity and quality of vocational training and education by providing funds to eligible schools and institutions for the purchase and installation of vocational-technical equipment. The 2018 Economic Bond Bill established an additional $75 million funding for the WSC to administer the Skill Capital Grant program. Workforce Skills Cabinet Skills Capital Grant Program, to date has provided 233 grants totaling $64,376,404.

Program Overview

Purpose: The Skills Capital Grant Program will award grants for the purchase and installation of equipment and related improvements and renovations necessary for installation and use of such equipment to support vocational and technical training. This equipment will upgrade and expand career technical education and training programs that are aligned to regional economic and workforce development priorities for in-demand industries, provided that grant applications facilitate collaboration to provide students training pathway’s to career opportunities in high-skill, high-demand industry sectors, and include all of the following characteristics:

  • respond to WSC Regional Planning Blueprint and Labor Market Information
  • engage industry partners in supporting structured work readiness activities and work-based learning experiences
  • offer focused college and career guidance and advisement systems
  • provide integrated rigorous instructional courses
  • support secondary and postsecondary linkages
  • provide the opportunity to obtain an industry-recognized credential, apprenticeship, or college credits towards a Certificate, Associate, or Baccalaureate degree

FY20 Grant Program Highlights:

Total Grant Program Up to $12,000,000
Grant Size Organization may only submit one application and may select from the two options provided.
  • Option 1: FY 20 Award - Minimum Grant: $50,000 - Maximum Grant: $500,000
  • Option 2: Multi year Award Request (FY 20 and FY 21); $750,000 to $1,5000,000. Applicants seeking multi-year funding are required to meet matching resources and budgeting requirements identified on the multi-year funding budget sheet.
Eligible Applicants The following Massachusetts organizations providing services aligned to the federal Perkins Act definition of career and technical education are eligible to apply as lead applicants on behalf of a partnership:
  • Community-based and correctional organizations, including adult basic education and English Language Learner programs providing career technical instruction
  • Nonprofit education, training or other service providers
  • Vocational education institutions and Labor organizations
  • Regional Vocational Schools or High Schools
  • Community Colleges

Additionally eligible are:

  • Industry or employer associations
  • Innovation Centers that are eligible to receive funds from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
  • Community-based organizations with recognized success in training adults with barriers to employment
Use of Grant Funds Purchase and installation of equipment and any related improvements and renovations necessary for installation and use of such equipment.
Grant Targeted Population and Occupations This program is intended to benefit youth and adult students as well as incumbent workers who are enrolled in eligible schools and vocational programs, who are preparing and training to enter the workforce or advance their careers. The program seeks to support eligible schools that are providing workforce skills training for high demand industries identified by Workforce Skills Cabinet Regional Blueprint, such as advanced manufacturing, healthcare, information technology, hospitality, and life sciences. Applicants will be required to identify the target industries and occupations for their training and to demonstrate the demand for jobs and career opportunities in that industry. Preference will be given to applications that document that funding will support building instructional capacity to support them and to significantly close skills gap as identified by the Regional Blueprint. The Workforce Skills Cabinet will prioritize the list of Chapter 74 programs included as Appendix A.
Goals of Funding

The purchase and installation of vocational training equipment must support the organization to meet the Career Pathway needs for the target populations in the following goals:

Preference for funding Increasing Capacity. (high recognition for achieving all three):

  • Increase in number of students able to participate in an existing program
  • Create a new program to meet demonstrated demand, based on labor market data and employer partnerships.
  • Increase the availability and utilization of the equipment outside of the organization’s normal working hours (e.g. after 5 PM, on Saturday, and/or on Sunday) to serve additional students.

Consideration for funding: Maintaining Quality

  • If no increase in the number of participating students is projected in the existing program, the applicant must demonstrate a significant improvement in the skills of the students who are able to participate in the program because equipment will be replaced or updated, validated by relevant employers.
Terms of Award Grants will be awarded as cost reimbursement contracts, with an anticipated contract start date of November 1, 2019. All purchases of equipment and grant expenditures must be completed by June 30, 2020.
Matching Funds Applicants must demonstrate sustainable partnerships with relevant employers and in-kind or cash match to support programs supported by the grant request.

 

Request for Proposals Released On or before August 29, 2019
Webinar for Applicant Guidance At 3:00 PM Thursday, September 12, 2019
To confirm eligibility, an optional letter of intent is requested by potential applicants. Letter should identify the type of program to be supported by funding.

On September 16, 2019 to be submitted to james.poplasky@mass.gov
Link to Letter of Intent form:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WDB75BS

Proposals will only be accepted through the online application system. By 3:00 PM on Thursday September 26, 2019
Projected Grant Awards Announcement On or about October 24, 2019
Anticipated Contract Start Date On or about November 1, 2019
Funding Disbursement On a rolling basis, upon verification of approved submitted purchases, requests for equipment, and related installation costs.
Contract End Date June 30, 2020

More information may be found by visiting the Commbuys web site.

General Contracting Information

A. Program Administration: This program is offered by the Massachusetts Workforce Skills Cabinet and funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through its capital budget. The grant application process will be administered by the Executive Office of Education (EOE), in coordination with the Workforce Skills Cabinet.


B. Grants Range and Matching Requirement: Organization may only submit one application and may select from the two options provided.

  • Option 1: FY 20 Award - Minimum Grant: $50,000 - Maximum Grant: $500,000 Applicants must demonstrate an in-kind or cash match from employers or other source besides state funding. Applicants must limit their funding request to supporting a maximum of two training program areas
  • Option 2: Multi year Award (FY 20 and FY 21 Funding); $750,000 to $1,5000,000. Applicants must limit their funding request to supporting a maximum of four training program areas Applicants seeking multi-year funding are required to meet matching resources and budgeting requirements identified on the multi-year funding budget sheet. For every $3 of Skills Capital Grant funds requested Applicants must secure a minimum of $1 of cash match to support related equipment or infrastructure from employers or other source besides state funding. Documentation of an awardees available matching resources will be required prior to contracting.

C. Eligible Purchases: The intent of the program is to allow qualified programs to purchase training equipment. Minor one-time installation costs may be included in the request, as well as requests for minor facility renovations necessary for the successful installation and usage of the equipment. The main purpose of the funding is to purchase equipment, not to renovate classroom space. Recipients may begin to incur costs upon contract execution. For FY 20 Awards all costs must be incurred between the contract execution date and June 30, 2020, inclusive. Expenses incurred after June 30, 2020 will not be eligible for reimbursement by this program. Requests for reimbursement may be submitted to EOE periodically, but no later than June 30, 2020. For multiyear awards (FY20-21) EOE will confirm the required reimbursement timeliest during the contracting process with the latest requests for reimbursement required to be submitted to EOE no later than June 30, 2021.

D. Reimbursement:

  1. Awards are structured as cost-reimbursement grants, meaning that recipients are expected to incur expenses before receiving any funds from the Commonwealth. EOE will accept purchase orders as ‘incurred expenses’ to help facilitate cash flow for recipients who may have difficulty incurring expenses before receiving funds. EOE will provide invoicing forms and instructions.
  2. Upon submission of complete invoices with proper documentation, payments will be disbursed via electronic fund transfer (“EFT”).
  3. In compliance with the Office of the State Comptroller rules and regulations, no grant recipient shall expend grant funds until a contract has been fully executed with EOE. Upon contract execution recipients will be allowed to incur costs. Costs must be incurred between contract execution and up to, including, June 30, 2020. No expenses incurred after June 30, 2020 will be reimbursed by this program. Requests for reimbursement may be submitted to EOE no later than August 6, 2020. If a multi year award is made EOE will issue a similar multi-year contract agreement that will complete June 30, 2021.
  4. Grantees will forfeit any remaining award unused after the contract expires. EOE shall give due consideration to any extenuating circumstances presented in writing by the applicant and may waive this restriction at its discretion.
  5. As a condition of funding EOE will require that the awardee provide information on enrollment, partnering and number of credentials awarded related to programs supported by the grant for the next three fiscal years.

Grant Program Details

A. Eligibility

  1. Applicants may apply for no more than one grant. Applicants must limit their funding request to no more than two program areas.
  2. Successful applicants from a prior year are eligible but will be expected to have completed their projects or be near completion. However, preference may be given to applicants who have not received or received limited Skills Capital Grant funding in the past.

B. Review of Applications

Step 1: Threshold Criteria Screening
Submissions will be screened for completeness, conformity to the program requirements, and timeliness of response. Reviewers will determine the eligibility of each applicant, evaluate applications and confirm the alignment to Workforce Skills Cabinet Regional Planning Blueprint and relevance to meeting the needs of priority sectors, critical occupations and aligned to strategies identified in the plan. Submissions that are incomplete, non-conforming, or late may not be considered.

Step 2: Compliance Screening
The Executive Office of Education will conduct an analysis to ensure all lead applicants are in compliance with state and federal law. Lead applicants are encouraged to review these criteria and ensure they are in compliance prior to submitting an application. Executive Office of Education will conduct the following reviews to ensure compliance:

  • Ensure applicants are in good standing with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. Commonwealth Corporation will conduct this screening by reviewing the Certificate of Good Standing (C.O.G.S.) submitted in the Qualifications Submission Package. Please note that community colleges, public vocational technical high schools and public state universities serving as the lead applicant do not need to submit a Certificate of Good Standing.
  • Please follow this guidance when requesting and submitting a Certificate of Good Standing from the Department of Revenue:
    • The Certificate of Good Standing from the Department of Revenue is NOT the same and should not be confused with a Certificate of Incorporation from the Secretary of State
    • C.O.G.S. must be less than six months old
    • Please visit the Department of Revenue’s website:
      (http://www.mass.gov/dor/businesses/programs-and-services/certificate-of-good-standing.html) for more information about the C.O.G.S. and to complete an online application to obtain a Certificate
    •  Applications for a C.O.G.S. can take 4-6 weeks to be processed
  • Ensure applicant is in full compliance with all obligations to the Department of Unemployment Assistance, Department of Industrial Accidents, and any other obligations to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Commonwealth Corporation will work with the Department of Unemployment Assistance to conduct this review.

Step 3: Review Committee
A review committee will review and score all eligible submissions and recommendations will be presented to the Workforce Skills Cabinet for final approval. The Executive Office of Education reserves the right to request additional information from any applicant to ensure that the review committee has a complete understanding of the program concept. The review committee may be comprised of designees from the Executive Office of Executive Office of Education, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, Executive Office of Administration and Finance, as well as representatives from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of Higher Education, MA Life Sciences Center, Commonwealth Corporation, Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and various other government, business, and/or industry leaders.

Selection Criteria: Applications will be reviewed and scored based on overall scores in the following selection criteria areas, with a possible total of 100 base points and 10 Bonus Points. Preference will be given to applicants who are significantly expanding capacity to close Workforce Skill Gaps. Additionally, preference maybe given to organizations who have received no or minimal funding in the past 3 years. Furthermore, the Workforce Skills Cabinet will prioritize the list of Chapter 74 programs included as Appendix A for funding consideration.

Selection Criteria Base Points
A. Demand-driven and Reflects Regional Blueprint Plans, based on labor market data included in WSC Regional Planning Blueprint industry sector, critical occupation priorities and identified strategies 25
B. Leverages Partnerships and Matching Funds with Employers, Educational , Economic Development and Workforce partners and leverage Non-State Matching Funds

20

Bonus 5 Points

C. Optimizes Regional Training Capacity and Significantly Increases Supply of Skilled Workers in High-Demand Industries by expanding targeted population student learning, enrollment and credentialing, as validated by relevant employers

25

Bonus 5 Points

D. Builds on Proven Programs that demonstrate achieve high quality and consistent results 10
E. Demonstrates Sustainability of program enrollments and to provide resources to maintain and operate the new equipment 10
F. Project Implementation and Budgeting of project plan and documentation of resource requirements 10

Step 4: Notification of Grant Award Status
All applicants will be notified of their award status by email. Applicants that are identified for an award may be required to submit a copy of the organization’s most recent audited financial statement prior to grant announcement or the execution of a final contract. In addition, prior to the grant award, Executive Office of Education staff may review an organization’s fiscal systems and internal controls to verify that the organization has the capacity to manage public grant funds and administer the program.


Additional Evaluation Notes:
In addition to the scoring system outlined above, the Workforce Skills Cabinet (Executive Office of Education) reserves the right to consider only submissions that, in our sole judgment, are complete and responsive to the solicitation’s requirements and include all required application components.

Grant Application Sections

Demand-driven and Reflects Regional Plans:
Applicants should show strong evidence that the program, for which they will be purchasing and installing equipment to support, is closing the skills gap and meeting the needs of employers in their region. Strong evidence includes regional labor market data available from Workforce Skills Cabinet Regional Planning Blueprints, research-based report or study, a letter of support from the Regional Workforce Development Board confirming that there is a high demand in the specified program and explaining how the program aligns to the region’s Labor Market Blueprint, and a letter of support from two or more employers confirming a workforce need and the role(s) they will play in partnering activities. Describe alignment to industry sectors, high-demand occupations and strategies prioritized in the Workforce Skills Cabinet Regional Blueprint in your region. If you are not familiar with this Regional Blueprint please contact your local Workforce Board for more information. Plans can be found at https://www.mass.gov/regional-workforce-skills-planning-initiative. Additionally, the Workforce Skills Cabinet will prioritize the list of Chapter 74 programs included as Appendix A for funding consideration.

Leverages Partnerships and Matching Funds:
Applicants should show strong evidence that the proposed equipment to be used by the program is reflective of and aligned to other secondary, post-secondary, apprentice and training career pathway programs in the region. Also, applicants should show that the use of equipment increases overall training capacity and maximizes the program’s impact on employment outcomes. Organizations must ensure they have all the partners needed to reach and support their target population in securing employment for their target occupation.

Applicants should explain how the proposed funding will complement or leverage other state, federal or private funding. Examples of existing statewide resources include grants funded through the Learn to Earn Initiative (EOLWD/EOE/EOHHS/EOHED), Urban Agenda Grant Program (EOHED), Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund (EOLWD, Commonwealth Corporation), Advanced Manufacturing Training Program Workforce Development Grants (EOHED), Dual Enrollment (DHE), or grants from foundations or federal government, and core operational resources. 

  • Option 1: FY 20 Award - Minimum Grant: $50,000 - Maximum Grant: $500,000 Applicants must demonstrate an in-kind or cash match from employers or other source besides state funding.
  • Option 2: Multi year Award (FY 20 and FY 21 Funding); $750,000 to $1,5000,000.. For every $3 of Skills Capital Grant funds requested Applicants must secure a minimum of $1 of cash match to support related equipment or infrastructure from employers or other source besides state funding. Documentation of an awardees available matching resources will be required prior to contracting.

Optimizes Regional Training Capacity and Significantly Increases Supply of Skilled Workers in High Demand Industries While Serving the Targeted Population:

Applicants must explain how the grant funding will improve the skills of the students and provide:

Preference for funding Increasing Capacity. (high recognition for achieving all three):

  • Increase in number of students able to participate in an existing program
  • Create a new program to meet demonstrated demand, based on labor market data and employer partnerships.
  • Increase the availability and utilization of the equipment outside of the organization’s normal working hours (e.g. after 5 PM, on Saturday, and/or on Sunday) to serve additional students.

Consideration for funding: Maintaining Quality

  • If no increase in the number of participating students is projected in the existing program, the applicant must demonstrate a significant improvement in the skills of the students who are able to participate in the program because equipment will be replaced or updated, validated by relevant employers.

Builds on Proven Programs: Applicants should demonstrate that their funding proposal will improve the capacity and quality of a program that has achieved high quality and consistent results, or that launching of a new program is based on other programs that have achieved such results. For example, the program is approved by a state or federal agency, accredited, approved by a trade association or has been evaluated by a third party to determine its effectiveness. The applicant should also demonstrate the ability to successfully implement new initiatives and expend grant funding on a timely basis. If the applicant is currently applying for a new Chapter 74 Vocational program or Innovation Pathway designation they must be clearly identify the stage in the process and timeline for approval. Please note funds may be awarded conditionally on achieving program designation. Similarly, funds may be awarded conditionally if an Institution of Higher Education is applying for new program approval or is required to inform the Department of Higher Education on an option or certificate prior to student enrollment. Status must be clearly stated noting the stage in the process and timeline for approval.

  1. Demonstrates Sustainability: Applicants should show evidence of the ability to provide resources to maintain and operate the new equipment as well as to sustain the enrollment and number of credentials awarded by an expanded or improved program.
  2. Project Implementation and Budgeting: Applicant must provide a project plan outlining milestones and provide documentation of budget resource requirements and matching funds.

Application Forms and Guidance

The following pages comprise the application forms required for this grant program. A complete proposal packet includes the following components: cover page, proposal narrative, proposed budget and a minimum of two letters of support from industry partners. Unless otherwise indicated, all sections must be completed. Complete instructions on how to use the online application system are found here https://webportalapp.com/appform/FY20skillscapital

More information may be found by visiting the Commbuys web site.

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