Employment Grant

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NJCDD-Grant-2019-RFP-Employment

NJCDD announces funding opportunity in innovative initiatives to increase meaningful competitive employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in New Jersey

In accordance with goals outlined in the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities’ (NJCDD) 5-Year Plan for 2017-2021, the NJCDD is currently accepting proposals in Innovative Initiatives to Increase Meaningful Competitive Employment for individuals with developmental disabilities.  Interested entities must submit a full project proposal for funding consideration.

In order to be considered, prospective applicants MUST submit proposals to NJCDD within 40 days of this announcement (please see the timeline outlined below).  Applicants are required to complete NJCDD’s FY2019 Grant Proposal Form, Budget and Budget Narrative. Scroll down to find all forms.

Entities applying for NJCDD funding are strongly encouraged to review the Council’s Effective Grant Writing Guide and NJCDD Grant Budget Tips, also available below. These documents will help applicants ensure that proposals comply with established guidelines.

Grant Requirements

Council 5-Year Plan Goal: Employment
Goal: Advance New Jersey’s practices and performance as an Employment First state, considering all individuals with developmental disabilities.

Implementation Target:
Support pilot programs utilizing identified best practices to determine the effectiveness of these practices in New Jersey.

New Jersey became an Employment First state in 2012, joining the national movement to deliver meaningful employment, competitive wages, and career ladder opportunities for people with disabilities. Employment First is a philosophy implemented through policies, programs, and services that promote competitive employment in the general workforce as the first and preferred post education outcome for people with any type of disability.

In spite of this policy shift, individuals with I/DD remain unemployed and underemployed today. Data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the percentage of working-age people with disabilities in the labor force is about one-third that of persons with no disability. Higher education does little to level the playing field: adults with a disability who hold a college degree have an employment rate 27 percentage points lower than all adults with a college degree. In addition, workers with disabilities face significant gaps in pay and compensation when compared to workers with no disability.

New Jersey stakeholders identified barriers to meaningful competitive employment. Pre employment barriers affecting those ages 14-21 include but are not limited to:

  1. Parents and school districts are unaware of service systems, including DDD and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS).
  2. Families have lower expectations about the types of job options available to their teens.
  3. Public schools tend to focus on academic skills over vocational skills.
  4. Vocational training opportunities for students with I/DD are limited, and few students with I/DD are accepted into county vocational programs.
  5. Too few districts use person-centered transition planning approaches.

Employment barriers affecting those of working age include but are not limited to:

  1. Lack of networking opportunities.
  2. Lack of prerequisite skills needed for the jobs they seek.
  3. Lack of awareness of opportunities for advancement, and/or strategies to position themselves for advancement.
  4. On-line applications and traditional interview processes.
  5. Employers are unaware of the benefits of employing those with I/DD.
  6. Employers are unaware of the skill sets of employees with I/DD.
  7. Employers fear they lack skills and information needed to support employees with I/DD.
  8. Some employers view hiring people with I/DD as an act of charity, not an action that is good for business and the bottom line.
  9. Job development is typically not coordinated across agencies.
  10. Turnover rate among direct care staff in supported employment is high.
  11. Employers may need workers during hours when it is difficult to get transportation and/or support staff for those with I/DD.
  12. Range and scope of job opportunities are typically limited, and are often low wage, entry-level positions.
  13. Transportation to and from work.

Promising practices identified by stakeholders include but are not limited to:

  1. Person-centered planning approaches.
  2. Community-based learning.
  3. Vocational or certificate programs.
  4. Business engagement.
  5. Employer-oriented job matching.
  6. Job carving.
  7. Innovations in resume development, the job search process, the job matching process, and the interview process, such as reverse job fairs and “speed interview” opportunities.
  8. Use of technology for remote work.
  9. Innovative use of technologies.
  10. Social enterprise options.
  11. Single agency job sourcing, i.e., service providers working together to source jobs/share info and contact.
  12. Opportunities for self-employment and business ownership.

The goal of the RFP is to invite stakeholders to submit actionable plans that have the potential for replication and will demonstrate effective and sustainable ways to expand options for people with I/DD such that they experience meaningful competitive employment, upward mobility/career ladder, and access to high value jobs.

NJCDD seeks to fund projects that will result in improved coordination and collaboration between and among key stakeholders (employers, business owners, school district staff, educators, providers/funders of employment services) and supports (DDD, DVRS), to expand the development of competitive employment.

NOTE: Funds cannot be used to supplant other government funds used for the purposes of individual employment support.

The proposal must:

  1. Identify and quantify the employment barrier(s) or challenge(s) to be addressed (i.e., What is the specific barrier? How does it affect people with I/DD? How many people are affected by the barrier or challenge?)
  2. Describe the activities/strategies that will be used to address the challenge(s) or barrier(s) identified. Specifically describe the number of individuals with I/DD expected to benefit from the activity/strategy, the age range of the individuals, and the ways in which they will benefit.
  3. Describe how the strategy will meet the key components of the RFP goal:
    • Expand options for people with I/DD such that they experience meaningful competitive employment, upward mobility/career ladder, and/or access to high value jobs.
    • Improve coordination and collaboration between and among key stakeholders (employers, business owners, school district staff, educators, providers/funders of employment services) and supports (DDD, DVRS), to expand the development of competitive employment.
  4. Define clear and measurable goal(s) for the activity/strategy.
  5. Define the geographic area (e.g., statewide, county, multi-county, town or municipally) to benefit from the activity/strategy.
  6. Identify partnerships, collaborations, and interagency coordination that leverage resources in the current system. All partnerships/collaborations and interagency coordination must have a letter of agreement from the other party/parties unless it is a joint application.
  7. Describe the data to be collected and used to demonstrate the success of the activity/strategy. How will it be collected? Outcome measures might include but are not limited to:
    • Number of individuals working.
    • Number of individuals in new jobs.
    • Number of individuals with continuing employment.
    • Number of interviews.
    • Number of new jobs identified/created.
    • Number of individuals promoted to higher paying jobs.
    • Number of new employers.
    • Wage increases/number of individuals who experience an increase in wages.
    • Range and scope of new jobs/employers.
    • Range of individuals employed.
    • Satisfaction measure for employer and employee.
    • Number of stakeholders engaged.
  8. Describe ways in which the activity/strategy can be replicated and/or sustained after Council funding is complete.
  9. Describe the activities that will be used to disseminate/replicate the practice (turnkey training, workshops, seminars, apps, etc.).

The Council is seeking proposals from applicants knowledgeable about human resources, professional development, recruiting, employment, supported employment, job development, job and career training, and employment and pre-employment-related services and supports for the individual with I/DD in New Jersey, and who have the resources and demonstrated capacity to carry out the work described in their proposal.

Eligible applicants may include but are not limited to:

  1. Private for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, including providers of employment support services, employment agencies, job search firms, and third-party agencies.
  2. Public and private employers of all sizes who are seeking to diversify their workforce.
  3. State, county, or local government entities, including school districts.
  4. Other organizations that may contribute to the success of the project team, including consultants, not-for-profit organizations, business and civic organizations, and institutions of higher education.

The credentials of the organization(s) and the CV of the person(s) to be engaged in this work must be described and attached to the proposal. The Council encourages proposals from two or more collaborating.

Specific implementation targets and deliverables will vary, based on each proposal. At a minimum, proposals must include sequential implementation targets and deliverables that address:

  1. Identification of resources/infrastructure.
  2. Data collection (quantitative and qualitative) to demonstrate effectiveness.
  3. Evidence that the activity addresses and furthers the identified goals of the RFP.
  4. A plan for sustainability and replication.
  5. A written plan that describes the project, its process, and its outcomes, along with recommendations for replication and expansion.
  6. Concrete and measurable activities to disseminate the practice (turnkey training, workshops, seminars, apps, etc.).
  7. Benchmarks for project workflow and completion, tied to funding drawdown.

Applicants who receive funding must submit written quarterly reports to the Council that address the progress made on the implementation targets.  Contract payments are predicated upon successful completion of implementation targets and must be documented in order for payments to be issued.

The applicant(s) must provide a timeline for each of the components of this RFP.
Contract Period: October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020
Funding Amount: $20,000.00 – $120,000.00* per year.

*Funding is based on the size and scope of work, and the number of individuals impacted. The Grant Review Committee will consider the amount requested and the value as determined by the anticipated impact of activities proposed. Proposals that leverage partnerships and additional funding streams are strongly encouraged. Applicants may submit funding requests for one year of additional funding. There is no guarantee, however, that funding beyond the initial contract period will be granted.

NJCDD FY-2019 Grants Timeline

Notice of Funds Available June 17, 2019
Applicant Question Period June 19 to June 25, 2019 by 5pm
Posted Answers to Questions Submitted July 2, 2019 by 5pm
Proposal Submission Deadline July 26, 2019 by 2:00 pm
NJCDD Proposal Review July 29 to August 16, 2019
Contract Notification Not later than August 29, 2019
Contract Period October 01, 2019 to September 30, 2020

DEADLINES:

10 HARD COPIES of each proposal must be received by NJCDD on Friday, July 26, 2019, 2 p.m.

Proposals may be submitted by mail or in person to the following address:
NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities c/o Grants
20 West State Street, 6th Floor
PO Box 700, Trenton, NJ 08625-0700

Please send 10 complete signed copies of each proposal submitted. E-signature is acceptable.
Applicants must also email a copy of the full proposal to grants@njcdd.org on Friday, July 26, 2019 by 2 p.m

Questions and Answers

#1. When the Council asks us to quantify how many people are effected [sic] with [sic] the specific barrier or challenge are they looking for a percentage of the people we serve?

Answer: NJCDD anticipates that the methods used to quantify those affected by a barrier or challenge (percentage, raw numbers, estimates) will vary by the applicant, the challenge or barrier, and the activity. Data with broader implications (regional, statewide) should be included when possible.

#2. When the Council asks for the number of individuals expected to benefit are you asking us to estimate the number of clients that [sic] may be affected by each identified particular barrier our proposal is addressing?

Answer: The RFP requires applicants to identify the total number of individuals (unduplicated) expected to benefit from grant activity. Applicants must estimate the number of individuals who will benefit from each specific activity or strategy.

#3. In reference to #6 Identify partnerships, collaborations & inter-agency coordination: Do we need to get a letter of agreement from all of our referral sources, such as DVRS, DDD, School [sic] districts?

Answer: Generic referral sources do not require a letter of agreement; however, if the successful outcome of a strategy or activity is contingent upon the relationship with the referral source, then a letter of agreement may be beneficial. Any agency that is named in the application as a grant partner, part of a collaborative effort, or part of an inter-agency collaboration and that is expected to help carry out work must provide a letter of agreement.

#4. Sustainability and replication??? How can this be achieved with current funders???? [sic]

Answer: The Council requires applicants to describe how the project could be replicated and/or sustained after the Council funding is complete. The application must include a plan for sustainability and replication, along with recommendations for replication and expansion.

#5. Is billing/payment done quarterly or monthly, and is it based upon each INDIVIDUAL activity/strategy? Can you provide an example of this? If certain strategies are ongoing, how will this be paid?

Answer: Reporting, billing, and payment takes place quarterly.

Payment is predicated upon successful completion of all implementation targets (benchmarks), not each individual activity or strategy. For example, at the end of the first quarter, if all or most of the implementation targets described in the contract have been met, or it can be shown that measurable and satisfactory progress is being made, payment is generally issued.

For on-going strategies, data showing satisfactory progress is generally acceptable.

Payment is typically made as a percentage of the overall contract (i.e., 25 percent per quarter), unless otherwise specified in the contract. Payment is made by check to the contractor.

#6. Is the Council asking us to create our own benchmarks that will be used to determine payment?

Answer: The RFP requires the applicant to identify benchmarks for project workflow and completion, which are tied to funding drawdown. Payment is made quarterly, based on progress toward or achievement of those benchmarks. The Council recognizes that reasonable modifications and changes to these benchmarks may be needed during the course of the contract’s 12-month term, and will work with contractors should the need for an adjustment arise.

#7. Does the Council have a minimum/maximum number of clients to be served?

Answer: No. However, the selection process will consider the overall impact of the activities proposed. This includes a review of the total number of individuals to be affected, as well as the scope of impact on those individuals.

#8. Has the Council ever issued a similar grant? If so, what agencies were awarded, what were [sic] the per-participant cost and what were the specific measurable outcomes of the grant?

Answer: NJCDD has not issued a similar grant with the scope of work as defined. A summary of current grants and grantees can be found on the NJCDD website.

#9. The employment grant reads “Funds cannot be used to supplant other government funds used for the purposes of individual employment support.” As we work to develop our concept, I wanted to confirm that “supplementing” other government funding rather than replacing those funds is acceptable.

Answer: NJCDD funding can supplement but cannot supplant other available government funding for employment. That is, it can add to existing government funding, but cannot replace available government funding.

#10. Is there an age range/limitation regarding the individuals who can/will be served with this grant? Conversely, would it be allowable for any given program to put such restrictions on the grant itself (i.e., to propose a program that only serves individuals with ID/DD ages 17-30)?

Answer: There is no age range or age limitation on who can be served. It is acceptable for the applicant to limit a target a population by age as long as the limitations are aligned with the grant activities. For example, a grant working to better serve seniors might limit age of participants to those 55+; a grant working to serve youth of transition age might limit age of participants to 14-22.

#11. For the purposes of this grant, would employment in an Agency’s Social Enterprise Business [sic] be considered acceptable employment? 

Answer: The Council is seeking applications that propose innovative approaches that offer completive employment. Social enterprise businesses that offer a competitive wage based on the nature of the industry may meet this criteria.

#12. Are there any requirements regarding the minimum number of hours or minimum salary at placement?

Answer: Jobs should offer a competitive wage based on the nature of the industry. Hours should be appropriate to the needs of the individuals served and therefore may vary from individual to individual.

#13. Is this grant strictly for those ages 14-21?

Answer: There is no age range or age limitation on the target group to be served. It is acceptable for the applicant to limit a target population by age as long as the limitations are aligned with the grant activities. For example, a grant working to better serve seniors might limit age of participants to those 55+; a grant working to serve youth of transition age might limit age of participants to 14-22.

#14: How many awards will be made?

Answer: It is anticipated that one award will be made for this RFP, however, the Grant Review Committee reserves the right to consider additional awards.

#15: Could you clarify the application components? Am I correct in thinking that you would need the Proposal file, the Budget file, and vendor certification files for a complete application? Am I missing anything?

Answer: Components of the Proposal include:
>Completed Proposal Narrative Form
>Detailed Budget Narrative (excel file- three tabs)

Assurances and Certifications are due upon award of a contract.

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