Funding Opportunity Title: Future Ready Iowa Employer Innovation Fund - Round 1
- Deadline: Applications for the first round of funds are due by Thursday, August 1, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. Central Time. Subsequent application deadlines will be determined depending on the availability of funds after the first round is awarded.
- Application Notification: A Notice of Intent to Award will be posted on the Future Ready Iowa website https://www.futurereadyiowa.gov/innovation.
The purpose of the fund is expanding opportunities for more Iowans to earn for-credit and non-credit postsecondary credentials leading to high-demand jobs and encouraging Iowa employers, community leaders and others to collaborate to support regional workforce talent development. Future Ready Iowa establishes the goal of 70 percent of Iowans in the workforce having education or training beyond high school by the year 2025, but also seeks to strengthen the talent pipeline longer term. Iowa’s current attainment level has stalled at around 58 percent. To help change this, the fund will award competitive grants to support regional initiatives that accelerate credential attainment. Iowa Workforce Development is seeking collaborative applications that propose new, cutting-edge ideas as well as proven strategies.
The purpose of this Notice of Funding Opportunity is to solicit applications that will enable Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) to award grant funding to match local investment and support the goals of the Employer Innovation Fund and Future Ready Iowa.
2. Funding Priorities
IWD seeks to prioritize the investment of resources in the following areas:
- Innovative and creative initiatives lead by employers to address local needs and expand opportunities for credit and noncredit education and training leading to high-demand jobs.
- Earning of high-demand credentials by Iowans from underrepresented populations (African-American, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaskan, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander).
- Strategies that increase the number of eligible students receiving financial assistance under the Future Ready Iowa Skilled Workforce Last-Dollar Scholarship or Skilled Workforce Grant Programs.
- Proposals that include performance-based bonuses for high school students who earn national-industry-recognized credentials in high-demand fields.
- Proposal’s connection to high-demand jobs from the State Workforce Board list, regional community college lists, locally identified high-demand jobs or non-credentialed programs supported by regional or statewide data, innovative measures, geographic diversity and equity.
- Proposal expands internships leading to high-demand jobs.
- Proposal includes community engagement with community partners or incorporating existing community programs.
3. Performance Measures
All applications must include performance measures that logically connect a project’s goal(s) with proposed activities and demonstrate an overall theory of change. Performance measures should include to the extent possible whether the expected results were achieved.
4. Program Authority
IWD’s authority to award these grants is found in the Future Ready Iowa Act of 2018 (Iowa House File 2458).
Internship: Temporary employment of a student that focuses on providing the student with work experience in the student’s field of study.
High-demand job: A job identified by the workforce development board or a community college pursuant to Iowa Code §84A.1B, subsection 13A.
Outcome: A type of performance measure that indicates progress toward achieving the intended result of a program and usually represents a change in the situation of beneficiaries of a service, such as completing a training program or securing employment upon completion of training provided.
Participant: A reportable individual who has received grant-assisted services.
1. Estimated Available Funds
The State of Iowa has appropriated $1.2 million to support the Employer Innovation Fund. The source of funding is state appropriated and subject to annual appropriations.
2. Estimated Award Amount
IWD anticipates awarding grants ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. Grant awards may vary in amount as determined by the scope of the project. Funding decisions are made as funding is available and IWD is not obligated to provide the maximum grant amount requested. If more funds are requested than are available, funds will be awarded proportionately to eligible proposals to provide the greatest amount of support across all eligible applicants.
3. Project and Award Period
The period of performance for this award is one year. Applicants should plan for a 12-month budget period. IWD estimates the following project dates:
Start Date: October 1, 2019
End Date: September 30, 2020
Dates are tentative and are subject to change. Final dates will be determined during the award process.
4. Type of Award
IWD may award cost reimbursement grants to successful applicants.
5. Use of Funds
The Employer Innovation Fund can be used to support credit and non-credit programs, along with wrap-around support programs such as child care, transportation, books, equipment, fees or other innovative ideas and proposals that can assist Iowa residents in completing training and education. It cannot be used for administrative expenses of operating the program or implementing the project.
6. Cost Sharing or Matching
The Employer Innovation Fund is a match grant. What this means is that the grant is intended to serve as a match to funds raised privately by the applicant. Applicants may request an Employer Innovation Fund match grant for an amount up to the amount of the private funds raised.
Applicants must prove the existence of and security of the original funds in order to qualify for a match from the Employer Innovation Fund. Documentation must be included in the application submission as an attachment. Proof may be provided by an official statement from an FDIC-insured financial institution holding the funds. In the absence of a statement from a financial institution, an affidavit from a certified public accountant can be used to certify the existence and security of the funds to be matched.
Housing expenses, such as rent, do not qualify for consideration for matching funds, nor do administrative or personnel costs for overseeing a project or implementation of a plan.
7. Reporting Requirements
Successful applicants will be required to submit reports to document the progress of the project as part of the grant requirements. Annually, all grantees must provide a detailed report of the use of funds by December 31st of the reporting year to the Director of Iowa Workforce Development. The report must include, but is not necessarily limited to:
- Date funds received
- Amount of funds received
- Amount of funds provided by the employer
- The numbers of individuals, agencies and businesses and others who received the funds
- Balance of available funds remaining as of December 31st of the reporting year
- A description of the activities paid for by the funds, the dates of distribution, along with amounts disbursed for each activity, and the number of participants served
- The persistence and/or completion rate for individuals supported by the award, including the specific credit or non-credit program completed
- Employment and wage outcomes after completion.
8. Payment Schedule
The executed grant agreement will specify conditions for payment and payment schedule. Private funds must be expended first, then matching funds may be drawn down on a reimbursement basis.
1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible applicants include employers, employer consortiums, community organizations or other entities that are in good standing with the State of Iowa. IWD encourages applicants to cultivate partnerships to enhance project activities and outcomes. If an employer is not the lead applicant, applicants are required to include a letter of commitment from an employer as a key project partner with the application submission.
Grantees must comply with all applicable provisions of state and federal laws pertaining to nondiscrimination, sexual harassment, and equal employment opportunity.
2. Additional Consideration
Additional consideration will be given to organizations that demonstrate the administrative capacity and a history of successfully implementing innovative projects. Additional consideration will also be given to organizations and projects in local workforce areas and regions throughout the State of Iowa that document how the project will impact workforce, education and economic development.
Application and Submission Information
1. Electronic Submission Instructions
Applicants must submit applications electronically via IowaGrants.gov. IWD recommends that applicants create an account and begin the application in advance of the deadline. For registration guidance, refer to “IowaGrants.gov New User Registration Instructions” (see Appendix D located in the attachment below)
The applicant’s authorized representative must be the person who submits the application. The authorized representative must be using his or her own IowaGrants.gov account in order to sign and submit the application.
Official email communication from IWD regarding this application will be issued from firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants are required to assure these communications are received and responded to accordingly.
Applicants will enter or attach the following components of a complete application in IowaGrants.gov:
- General Information
- Cover Sheet
- Project Information
- Executive Summary
- Project Design
- Performance Measures
- Organizational Capability
- Budget Summary & Budget Narrative
- Application Attachments
- Minority Impact Statement
- Authorization, Assurances, and Certification
See Appendix A in the attachments below for further instructions and application guidance.
3. Submission Dates and Times
Please see the Important Dates section at the beginning of this announcement for the submission deadline. IWD reserves the right to extend the submission deadline and any notice of such extension will be posted on IWD’s website and/or IowaGrants.gov.
Attempted submission of a completed application after the stated due date and time will not be allowed by the system. If a submission is attempted after the published date and time, the applicant will receive a notice stating “The Funding Opportunity is closed.”
Application Review Information
Goals and Measurements
See Appendix C in the attachments below for a full description of criteria and a scoring rubric.
2. Review and Selection Process
A review team will use the criteria listed in this section to review applications under this funding announcement.
3. Applicant Clarification
Some applicants may receive requests to provide clarifying information and/or make changes to their application including changes to the budget. This information is used by IWD staff in making funding recommendations. Applications may be recommended for funding even if they are not asked clarification questions. A request for clarification does not guarantee a grant award. Failure to respond to requests adequately and in a timely manner may result in the removal of applications from consideration.
4. Selection for Funding
Decisions to award grants and the funding levels will be determined per application based upon compliance with the requirements of this funding announcement. Applicants may be selected to enter into a grant agreement, finalizing grant terms, budget, scope-of-work provisions, at which time the final decision to make a grant award will be made. Submission of an applicaiton is not a guarantee of an award.
Awarding Agency Contact(s)
Please direct any questions regarding this NOFO to:
Iowa Workforce Development
1000 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319
Technical Assistance (TA) will be provided throughout the application process, in the form of webinars and direct support. A TA schedule will be available on the Future Ready Iowa website and regularly updated.
- If an applicant fails to meet any eligibility criterion at the time of an application deadline, the application may still be reviewed but the State will not make an award until all eligibility criteria are met.
- IWD reserves the right to request additional information from applicants to evaluate applications.
- IWD, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to reject all applications; to reject individual applications for failure to meet any requirement; to award in part or total, and to waive minor defects and non-compliance. Such a waiver will not modify the program requirements or excuse the applicant from full compliance with program specifications or grant agreement requirements if the grant is awarded. Submission of an application confers no right to an award or to a subsequent grant agreement.
- All application submissions become the property of IWD. If funds are awarded, the contents of all applications will be in the public domain at the conclusion of the selection process and will be open to inspection by interested parties subject to exceptions provided in Iowa Code Chapter 22 or other provision of law.
- IWD is not obligated to award any grants under this program, to pay any costs incurred by the applicant in the preparation and submission of an application or pay any grant-related costs incurred prior to the grant beginning date.
- All decisions by IWD are final.
- Upon IWD approval, the successful applicant will receive a grant agreement via email from IWD. The applicant has 10 working days to sign the grant agreement. If the agreement is not executed within 10 working days, IWD reserves the right to cancel the award. IWD, at its sole discretion, may extend the time period for executing the grant agreement.
- Any grant agreement awarded by IWD shall include specific provisions, terms, and conditions.