Notice of Funding Availability for the Ladders of Opportunity Initiative: Pilot On-the-Job-Training Supportive Services Program, 57651-57656 [2015-24245]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 185 / Thursday, September 24, 2015 / Notices Submit comments directly to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) up to October 26, 2015. ADDRESSES: Direct comments to the Department of State Desk Officer in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). You may submit comments by the following methods: • Email: oira_submission@ omb.eop.gov. You must include the DS form number, information collection title, and the OMB control number in the subject line of your message. • Fax: 202–395–5806. Attention: Desk Officer for Department of State. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Direct requests for additional information regarding the collection listed in this notice, including requests for copies of the proposed collection instrument and supporting documents, to Megan Huber, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs; U.S. Department of State; SA–5, 2200 C Street NW., Washington, DC 20522, who may be reached on 202–632–9487 or at alumni@ state.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: • Title of Information Collection: Exchange Alumni Virtual Program. • OMB Control Number: None. • Type of Request: New Collection. • Originating Office: Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Alumni Affairs Division, ECA/P/A. • Form Number: DS–7010. • Respondents: Exchange program alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs. • Estimated Number of Respondents: 100. • Estimated Number of Responses: 100. • Average Time per Response: Approximately 30 minutes per response. • Total Estimated Burden Time: 50 hours. • Frequency: On Occasion. • Obligation to Respond: Voluntary. We are soliciting public comments to permit the Department to: • Evaluate whether the proposed information collection is necessary for the proper functions of the Department. • Evaluate the accuracy of our estimate of the time and cost burden for this proposed collection, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used. • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected. • Minimize the reporting burden on those who are to respond, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES DATES: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:45 Sep 23, 2015 Jkt 235001 Please note that comments submitted in response to this Notice are public record. Before including any detailed personal information, you should be aware that your comments as submitted, including your personal information, will be available for public review. Abstract of Proposed Collection The Exchange Alumni Virtual Program provides a platform for former participants of U.S. governmentsponsored exchange programs to extend and multiply the impacts of their exchanges by virtually engaging with foreign alumni and students. The program supports critical foreign policy goals, such as enhancing English learning and the promotion of American culture and values abroad, particularly in countries where views of American culture may not always be positive. The program also provides American alumni with an opportunity to develop their foreign language skills in critical languages or other competencies gained on their exchange programs, while continuing to deepen their own cultural awareness and global skills. The information is sought pursuant to the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, as amended (also known as the Fulbright-Hays Act) (22 U.S.C. 2451 et seq.) Respondents to this form are U.S. government-sponsored exchange program alumni. Alumni Affairs collects data from program applicants in order to determine eligibility and to choose the best candidates for the program. Methodology Information will be collected electronically, via the International Exchange Alumni Web site, alumni.state.gov. Dated: September 16, 2015. Mark Taplin, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State. [FR Doc. 2015–24272 Filed 9–23–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4710–05–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Highway Administration Notice of Funding Availability for the Ladders of Opportunity Initiative: Pilot On-the-Job-Training Supportive Services Program Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of funding availability. AGENCY: PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 57651 The FHWA announces a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for a Pilot On-the-Job-Training Supportive Services (OJT/SS) Program through the Ladders of Opportunity Initiative in the amount of $3 million. The FHWA seeks to award discretionary grants to State Departments of Transportation (State DOTs), or to other State agencies or local governments applying through their State DOTs as subrecipients, in award amounts of up to $500,000 each. The FHWA may choose to fund the program for more or less than the announced amount, including applying any future appropriated funds toward the projects proposed in response to this NOFA. This NOFA solicits proposals that promote innovative, nationally and regionally significant, highway construction workforce development programs that invest in America’s economic growth and build ladders of opportunity into the middle class for American workers. The term ‘‘highway construction workforce’’ should be read broadly to encompass the workforce necessary to carry out activities eligible for funding under FHWA’s Surface Transportation Program (STP) at section 133(b) of title 23, United States Code (U.S.C.). Applications should outline areas of upcoming demand in the State’s highway construction workforce and ensure that proposed programs would train workers in skills to fill specific workforce shortages. DATES: Complete proposals are due by 11:59 p.m., e.t. on December 23, 2015. ADDRESSES: Applicants must submit all proposals electronically through https:// www.grants.gov/. All entities intending to apply should initiate the process of registering on the grants.gov Web site immediately to ensure registration before the submission deadline. Instructions for applying can be found in the ‘‘FIND’’ module of grants.gov. Mail and fax submissions will not be accepted. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: For further information concerning this notice please contact Martha Kenley, FHWA’s Office of Civil Rights, by email at martha.kenley@ dot.gov; by telephone at 202–366–8110; or by mail at Federal Highway Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. For legal questions, please contact Jim Esselman, FHWA Office of Chief Counsel, by email at james.esselman@ dot.gov; by phone at 202–366–6181; or by mail at Federal Highway Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 E:\FR\FM\24SEN1.SGM 24SEN1 57652 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 185 / Thursday, September 24, 2015 / Notices p.m. e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The FHWA On-the-Job Training (OJT) Program, described at section 230.111 of title 23, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), requires State DOTs to make full use of apprenticeship and training programs targeted to developing the skills of women, minorities, and disadvantaged individuals and moving them into journey-level positions to ensure that a competent workforce is available to meet highway construction hiring needs. The OJT Program addresses the historical underrepresentation of these groups in highway construction skilled crafts. The FHWA established the OJT/SS Program to: (a) Increase the overall effectiveness of State DOTs’ on-the-job-training requirements in connection with Federal-aid highway construction projects; and (b) to seek other ways to increase the training opportunities for women, minorities, and disadvantaged individuals who have been historically underrepresented in the industry. Funding for OJT/SS derives from section 140(b) of title 23, U.S.C., which authorizes DOT to direct not more than $10,000,000 per year toward surface transportation and technology training. In recent years, FHWA has allocated OJT/SS funds annually to State DOTs through a formula process. That process will continue. Through this notice, FHWA announces an opportunity for State DOTs, or for other State agencies or local governments applying through their State DOTs as subrecipients, to compete for supplementary OJT/SS funds to foster increased focus on workforce development under DOT’s Ladders of Opportunity Initiative. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Table of Contents A. Program Description 1. Authority 2. Policy Priorities B. Federal Award Information 1. Available Funding and Expected Awards C. Eligibility Information 1. Eligible Applicants 2. Cost Sharing or Matching 3. Strategic Partnerships 4. Other Eligibility Requirements D. Application and Submission Information 1. AddressTo Request Application Package 2. Content and Form of Application Submission 3. Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) and System for Award Management (SAM) 4. Submission Dates and Times 5. Funding Restrictions E. Application Review Information 1. Criteria 2. Review and Selection Process VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:45 Sep 23, 2015 Jkt 235001 3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates F. Federal Award Administration 1. Federal Award Notices 2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements 3. Reporting G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts H. Other Information 1. Protection of Confidential Business Information A. Program Description 1. Authority Section 140(b) of title 23, U.S.C., authorizes FHWA’s OJT/SS Program, under which FHWA funds State DOTs to undertake surface transportation and technology training, including skill improvement programs for workforce development. The FHWA’s regulation at 23 CFR 230.113 sets forth requirements State DOTs must follow in implementing on-the-job training supporting services authorized under 23 U.S.C. 140(b). Under these authorities, FHWA is issuing this NOFA for the Ladders of Opportunity Initiative Pilot OJT/SS Program. The OJT programs eligible for supportive services under 23 CFR 230.113 include training and apprenticeship programs approved by a State’s FHWA Division Office, registered apprenticeship programs approved by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) or a State Apprenticeship Agency (SAA) recognized by the USDOL, or other training programs approved by the USDOL. Approved projects will help to bring American workers into the middle class and build critical skills to meet immediate and expected workforce demand in the highway construction industry. 2. Policy Priorities The Ladders of Opportunity Initiative Pilot OJT/SS Program seeks to provide skills training for transportation workers that will lead to journey-level careers and/or the development of stackable credentials for workers in the highway construction industry. The FHWA is seeking projects that create new nationally or regionally significant workforce development programs or that augment or replicate successful existing programs that will benefit highway construction firms or the highway construction industry. While either type of effort will be considered, FHWA will likely give greater consideration to programs or approaches with an existing track record of success. In evaluating proposed projects, FHWA will give priority to projects that focus on one or more of the following activities: PO 00000 Frm 00086 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 • Targeting areas with high rates of unemployment; • encouraging increased participation of minority groups, disadvantaged individuals, and women; • providing career pathways that support the movement of targeted populations from initial or short-term employment opportunities to sustainable careers; • leveraging the use of other resources to support the proposed project; • addressing gaps in areas with current or projected workforce shortages in fields related to highway construction; • pre-employment training/ preparation/tracking; and • recruitment and hiring. B. Federal Award Information 1. Available Funding and Expected Awards Through the Ladders of Opportunity Initiative Pilot OJT/SS Program, FHWA seeks to award a total of $3 million through discretionary grants to State DOTs, or to other State agencies or local governments applying through their State DOTs as subrecipients, in award amounts of up to $500,000. The FHWA may choose to fund the program for more or less than the announced amount, including applying any future appropriated funds toward the projects proposed in response to this NOFA. C. Eligibility Information 1. Eligible Applicants Eligible applicants are State DOTs. Other State agencies or local governments may apply through their State DOTs as subrecipients. 2. Cost Sharing or Matching The funding announced by this NOFA was authorized by both SAFETEA–LU and MAP–21. While there are no minimum cost-share requirements, FHWA will give greater weight to applications with higher non-Federal cost share, or that designate the use of Federal-aid highway funds under 23 U.S.C. 504(e) toward proposed projects. 3. Strategic Partnerships To be eligible for funding under this NOFA, applicants must commit to working in partnership with one or more external strategic partner(s) with a substantial interest and involvement in the project. An external partner must be an entity that has no direct relationship to the primary applicant. For example, the external partner may not be a department within the applicant’s organization. An external partner entity could include, but is not limited to: E:\FR\FM\24SEN1.SGM 24SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 185 / Thursday, September 24, 2015 / Notices a. Educational institutions, which include entities providing professional accreditation, degree, and/or certification programs, such as universities, community colleges, or trade schools; b. public workforce investment systems, such as local workforce investment boards and their one-stop systems; c. labor organizations, such as labor unions and labor management organizations; d. contractor associations; and/or e. non-profit organizations that support the mission of highway construction and transportation workforce development. The applicant need not necessarily identify a particular strategic partner in its application, but if it does not, it must commit to soliciting proposals from potential partners to ensure the competitive nature of the program. 4. Other Eligibility Requirements a. Allowable Activities Projects must provide direct support to highway construction workforce development programs that are qualified under 23 CFR 230.111 (i.e., training or apprenticeship programs approved by the FHWA, registered apprenticeship programs approved by the USDOL or an SAA, or other training programs approved by the USDOL). The term ‘‘highway construction workforce’’ should be read broadly to encompass the workforce necessary to carry out activities eligible for funding under FHWA’s STP at 23 U.S.C. 133(b). Capital expenses, such as equipment purchases, are not considered to be eligible costs unless they directly relate to the FHWA-funded workforce development program. Acceptable costs can include, but are not limited to: Faculty/instructors, including salaries and fringe benefits; support staff; classroom space; books, materials, and supplies; and transportation stipends for participants. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES b. Unallowable Costs The FHWA funds under this program are not intended as an offset to regular State DOT or other applicant employee salaries and may not be used to cover the regular or overtime salaries of applicant employees. Funds made available under this program shall not be used to finance the training of applicant agency employees or to provide services in support of such training. Funds may be used to cover the costs of staff directly engaged in a program management or training role at an agency. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:45 Sep 23, 2015 Jkt 235001 c. Application Limitations Applicants, whether a State DOT or a subrecipient applying through the State DOT, may submit more than one proposal. An applicant will not receive greater consideration as a result of submitting multiple proposals. D. Application And Submission Information 1. Address To Request Application Package This NOFA contains all information needed to apply for the grant. Applicants must submit proposals electronically through https:// www.grants.gov. All entities intending to apply should initiate the process of registering on the grants.gov Web site immediately to ensure registration before the submission deadline. Instructions for applying can be found in the ‘‘FIND’’ module of grants.gov. Mail and fax submissions will not be accepted. 2. Content and Form of Application Submission The applicant should submit a project narrative statement describing the project objectives, proposed work tasks, outputs, and benefits of the proposed project for which Federal assistance is being requested. If the project is a proposal seeking support for an existing program, it should describe the proposed project within the context of the larger effort. The narrative also should indicate whether the applicant will provide matching funds, the expected duration of the project, and other information that would assist FHWA in understanding and evaluating the project. Each submission for a project narrative statement should not exceed 10 pages (single-spaced, single-sided, 12 point font on 8.5 x 11 inch paper) and must include the information listed below: a. Project Title, Objective(s), and Contact Person At the top of the document, state the title of the project and provide 2–3 sentences describing the intended project goals and outcomes. List the contact person for the application along with his or her address, title, phone number, fax number, and email address. b. Statement of the Problem(s) Characterize the workforce issue or problem present in the highway construction industry that the project directly addresses, and describe how the applicant identified the issue (i.e., whether the applicant surveyed PO 00000 Frm 00087 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 57653 workforce investment boards, labor organizations, contractors, educational institutions, or other interested stakeholders). Describe how the project will specifically address the issue for the applying organization. Provide a description of the new or existing program to be supported by the proposed project. Describe how the project meets the policy priorities identified in Section A.2. of this NOFA. Explain why the specified approach is being taken as opposed to others and how its innovative aspects have potential for nationwide or regional application. In addition to innovative workforce practices, cite the unique features of the project, such as technological innovations, reductions in cost or time, or social and community involvement. Finally, identify uncertainties and external factors that could affect the schedule, cost, or success of the program. The applicant may provide supporting documentation as an attachment that will not count toward the total page limit. The FHWA will consider such information supplementary but will not necessarily consider it in the project selection process. c. Geographic Location, Target Groups, and Emphasis Areas Give a precise location or locations of the project and identify the area(s) and target group(s) to be directly served by the proposed effort. The applicant may attach maps or other graphic aids as needed. d. Strategic Partners Applicants must commit to working in partnership with one or more external strategic partner(s) with a substantial interest and involvement in the project. An external partner must be an entity that has no direct relationship to the primary applicant. For example, the external partner may not be a department within the applicant’s organization. An external partner entity could include, but is not limited to: (1) Educational institutions, which include entities providing professional accreditation, degree, and/or certification programs, such as universities, community colleges, or trade schools; (2) public workforce investment systems, such as local workforce investment boards and their one-stop systems; (3) labor organizations, such as labor unions and labor management organizations; and/or (4) non-profit organizations that support the mission of highway E:\FR\FM\24SEN1.SGM 24SEN1 57654 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 185 / Thursday, September 24, 2015 / Notices construction and transportation workforce development. The applicant need not necessarily identify a particular strategic partner in its application, but if it does not, it must commit to soliciting proposals from potential partners to ensure the competitive nature of the program. e. Scope of Work Outline a plan of action, organized by work task, pertaining to the scope and detail of how the applicant will accomplish the proposed work. List estimated milestone dates for all major activities. The applicant should clearly demonstrate the connection between each activity and the overall project objectives. The Scope of Work also should address supporting activities, such as marketing plans for recruiting participants and/or dissemination strategies for sharing the results, if such are critical to the success of the program. f. Final Deliverable Proposals must describe at least one final project deliverable and how it will improve the state of the practice. Final products and project deliverables must be made available at no cost to FHWA and other agencies at the project’s close for dissemination throughout the industry. Acceptable final products and deliverables include but are not limited to class materials, Web sites or software, recruitment materials, flyers, brochures and reports. Additionally, written quarterly progress reports and a final report are required. g. Period of Performance Provide a schedule for completion of tasks assuming a total period of performance of up to 36 months. If the applicant is proposing a phased plan, describe the schedule for additional phases on a separate page or separate pages which will not be counted toward the page maximum. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES h. Budget Proposal Provide a cost proposal indicating staffing levels, hours, and direct costs for the total project and the amount of funding requested from FHWA. The proposal must describe the source and the amount of matching funds, if any. The cost proposal also must set forth the nature and value of in-kind resources that team members will contribute, if any. Provide a line-item budget for the total project, with enough detail to indicate the various key components of the project. The proposal must apply cost principles found in 2 CFR part 200, subpart E. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:45 Sep 23, 2015 Jkt 235001 i. Performance Measurement Provide an approach for demonstrating the local, national or regional impact of the project on the highway construction industry and broader employment opportunities, including the number of jobs directly supported or created by the program. The proposal should include a description of the applicant’s plan for recording the outcomes and reporting in a Final Report at the end of the project. The Final Report should contain, at minimum: (1) Number of Individuals Affected Applicants should define ‘‘affected individuals’’ in terms that make sense for the proposed project. For example, other reported outcomes could include: • Number of target individuals (women, minorities, and disadvantaged individuals) entered into the program; • number of individuals who successfully complete the program, achieve an applicable credential, etc.; • number of placed new workers and/ or advanced incumbent workers; • number of retained workers after 90 days or some other relevant period. (2) Performance Metrics The FHWA prefers quantitative metrics but will consider qualitative metrics if they are based on the experiences of those affected by the program (as opposed to the selfassessment of the applicant or partner agencies). Metrics could include, but are not limited to, survey results, exit interviews, and longitudinal tracking of staff (during the period of performance only). At least one performance metric is required. As part of the proposal, provide projections (for quantitative measures) or short hypotheses (for qualitative measures) of what type of impact/performance FHWA could expect from the project. responsibilities among potential partner entities and an organizational chart, if applicable. Include responsibilities, such as regular reporting, performance measurement, and technical/ management interactions with FHWA. k. Project Staff List all known key individuals who will work on the project, along with short descriptions of their appropriate technical expertise and experience. Attach resumes or curriculum vitae if available. Project staff resumes or curriculum vitae will not count towards the total page count for proposal submissions. Describe how the applicant will engage in a competitive process to solicit organizational partners and/or consultants. 3. Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) and System for Award Management (SAM) Each applicant is required to (i) be registered in SAM before submitting its application; (ii) provide a valid DUNS number in its application; (iii) continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by a Federal awarding agency. The FHWA may not make a Federal award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements. If an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time FHWA is ready to make a Federal award, FHWA may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a Federal award and use that determination as a basis for making a Federal award to another applicant. (4) A 1–2 Page Statement of Applicability to Other Entities The applicant must describe how the project could be scaled and/or altered for application elsewhere once the project is complete, and what benefits could be realized by doing so. 4. Submission Dates and Times Complete proposals for the Ladders of Opportunity Initiative Pilot OJT/SS Program must be submitted electronically through the grants.gov Web site by 11:59 p.m., e.t. on December 23, 2015. Late applications will not be accepted. Applicants are encouraged to begin the process of registration on the grants.gov Web site well in advance of the submission deadline. Registration is a multi-step process, which may take several weeks to complete before submission of an application. Applicants who are already registered on grants.gov may need to take steps to keep their registration up to date before they submit a proposal. j. Project Management Describe the applicant’s proposed approach for managing and staffing the project, including the distribution of 5. Funding Restrictions Costs incurred before the FHWA award are not eligible as project expenses, and FHWA cannot (3) A 1–2 Page Project Description The project description should state the project’s initial goals and measure achievements against those goals. This statement can also include ‘‘lessons learned.’’ PO 00000 Frm 00088 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\24SEN1.SGM 24SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 185 / Thursday, September 24, 2015 / Notices retroactively approve a project. The recipient or subrecipient may begin to incur project costs on the date that the grant agreement is executed. The FHWA expects grantees to implement the projects awarded as soon as possible and to fully expend grant funds during the period of performance, recognizing that full transparency and accountability are required for all expenditures. E. Application Review Information 1. Criteria The FHWA will evaluate the applications submitted according to the criteria set forth below: a. Statement of Need The FHWA will evaluate the extent to which the project identifies a clear and specific industry need for the Federal investment in the proposed highway construction workforce development activities and how well the proposed project addresses the policy priorities in Section A.2. of this NOFA. An applicant must submit data and provide evidence of the industry need and value for the proposed program. b. Innovation The FHWA will evaluate the extent to which a project identifies a unique, significant, or innovative approach to address workforce development issues in the highway construction industry. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES c. Furthering Ladders of Opportunity The FHWA will use the following activity areas to evaluate the extent to which an applicant demonstrates how this program or project can assist in building ladders of opportunity to the middle class by building pathways to job opportunities in the highway construction field: (1) Targeting areas with high rates of unemployment; (2) providing career pathways that support the movement of the targeted population from initial or short-term employment opportunities to sustainable careers; (3) encouraging increased participation of minority groups, disadvantaged persons, and women; (4) leveraging the use of other resources to support workforce development; (5) addressing gaps in areas with current or projected workforce shortages in fields related to highway construction; (6) pre-employment training/ preparation/tracking; and (7) recruitment and hiring. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:45 Sep 23, 2015 Jkt 235001 57655 d. Outcomes and Deliverables h. Strategy and Project Work Plan The FHWA will evaluate the extent to which the applicant demonstrates a results-oriented approach to managing and operating the project. In particular, FHWA will evaluate the extent to which the applicant identifies an approach for demonstrating the local, national, or regional impact of the project on the surface transportation industry and broader employment opportunities, including the number of jobs directly supported or created by the program. The FHWA prefers quantitative metrics but will consider qualitative metrics if they are based on the experiences of those affected by the program (as opposed to the selfassessment of the applicant or partner agencies). Metrics could include, but are not limited to, survey results, exit interviews, and longitudinal tracking of staff (during the period of performance only). At least one performance metric is required. As part of the proposal, provide projections (for quantitative measures) or short hypotheses (for qualitative measures) of what type of impact/performance FHWA could expect from the project. The FHWA will also evaluate the extent to which the applicant describes the products and deliverables that will be produced as a result of the project activities. The period of performance will be up to 36 months from the date of execution of the grant documents. This performance period includes all necessary implementation and start-up activities, execution of the program, and completion of final deliverables as specified in the applicant’s Scope of Work. The FHWA will evaluate the project work plan pursuant to the following factors: (1) The presentation of a coherent plan that demonstrates the applicant’s complete understanding of all the activities, responsibilities, and costs required to implement each phase of the project and achieve projected outcomes; (2) the demonstrated feasibility and reasonableness of the timeline for accomplishing all necessary implementation activities, including the ability to expeditiously begin training; and (3) the extent to which the budget aligns with the proposed work plan and is justified with respect to the adequacy and reasonableness of resources requested. e. Strategic Partnerships Applicants must commit to working in partnership with one or more external strategic partner(s) with a substantial interest and involvement in the project. Applicants need not necessarily identify a particular strategic partner in their applications, but if they do not, they must identify the competitive process they intend to follow for soliciting proposals from appropriate agencies, organizational partners and/or consultants in support of the proposed project. f. National Replicability The FHWA will evaluate whether the project has national or regional applicability and whether it will provide a replicable model of workforce development practices. g. Cost Sharing Both SAFETEA–LU and MAP–21 authorized the funding announced by this NOFA. While there are no minimum cost-share requirements, FHWA will give greater weight to applications with higher non-Federal cost share, or that designate the use of Federal-aid highway funds under 23 U.S.C. 504(e) toward proposed projects. PO 00000 Frm 00089 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 i. Project Management and Organizational Capacity The FHWA will evaluate the capacity of the applicant to effectively staff and/ or oversee the proposed initiative and deliver the proposed outcomes, as well as the fiscal, administrative, and performance management capacity to implement the key components of this project. The FHWA also will evaluate the track record of the applicant to implement projects of similar focus, size, and scope. 2. Review and Selection Process A technical evaluation committee will review proposals using the project selection criteria. Members of the technical evaluation committee reserve the right to screen and rate the applications FHWA receives and to seek clarification from any applicant about any statement in its application that FHWA finds ambiguous and/or to request additional documentation to be considered during the evaluation process to clarify information contained within the proposal. After considering the findings of the technical evaluation committee, the FHWA Administrator will determine the final selection and amount of funding for each project. The FHWA may consider geographic diversity and the applicant’s receipt of other discretionary awards in its award decisions. E:\FR\FM\24SEN1.SGM 24SEN1 57656 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 185 / Thursday, September 24, 2015 / Notices F. Federal Award Administration Information 1. Federal Award Notices After FHWA has selected the proposals to be funded, it will notify successful applicants by email or telephone of their status. In addition, FHWA will publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing successful applicants. Upon notification of intent to award funds, FHWA may withdraw its offer to provide Federal assistance if the recipient or subrecipient does not commence its competitive process to solicit partners and/or consultants consistent with its proposal submission within 90 days following the date of the offer. 2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements All awards will be administered pursuant to the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards found in 2 CFR part 200. Applicable Federal laws, rules, and regulations set forth in title 23, U.S.C., and title 23 of the CFR, apply. The successful applicant shall grant FHWA, upon request, the right of access to all records and the right to audit all aspects of the project. The successful applicant, and all partners and consultants shall be required to submit non-collusion certifications. 3. Reporting The FHWA requires the successful applicant to submit quarterly written reports to FHWA, containing statistical data and narrative sufficient to evaluate the progress of the project and to identify any problems. The FHWA also requires the successful applicant to submit a detailed final report at the project end, containing statistical data and narrative sufficient to evaluate whether the project met its projected outcomes. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts For general program information, please use the contact information in the front of this notice. Please contact the grants.gov helpdesk for assistance with electronic applications via email at support@grants.gov or call toll-free at (800) 518–4726. H. Other Information 1. Protection of Confidential Business Information All information submitted as part of or in support of any application shall use publicly available data or data that can be made public and methodologies VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:45 Sep 23, 2015 Jkt 235001 that are accepted by industry practice and standards, to the extent possible. If the application includes information you consider to be a trade secret or confidential commercial or financial information, the applicant should do the following: (1) Note on the front cover that the submission ‘‘Contains Confidential Business Information (CBI)’’; (2) mark each affected page ‘‘CBI’’; and (3) highlight or otherwise denote the CBI portions. The FHWA protects such information from disclosure to the extent allowed under applicable law. In the event FHWA receives a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the information, FHWA will follow the procedures described in its FOIA regulations at 49 CFR 7.17. Only information that is ultimately determined to be confidential under that procedure will be exempt from disclosure under FOIA. the application process before the submission deadline. Instructions for applying can be found on FTA’s Web site at https://www.fta.dot.gov/grants/ 13077.html and in the ‘‘find’’ module of grants.gov. Mail and fax submissions will not be accepted. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sean Ricketson, FTA Office of Research Demonstration and Innovation, 202– 366–6678 or sean.ricketson@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents A. Program Description B. Federal Award Information C. Eligibility Information D. Application and Submission Information E. Application Review F. Federal Award Administration G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts SUMMARY: A. Program Description The Low and No Emission Vehicle Deployment (LoNo) Program provides funding for transit agencies for capital acquisitions and leases of zero-emission and low-emission transit buses, including acquisition, construction, and leasing of required supporting facilities such as recharging, refueling, and maintenance facilities. The main purpose of the LoNo Program is to deploy the cleanest and most energy efficient U.S.-made transit buses that have been largely proven in testing and demonstrations but are not yet widely deployed in transit fleets. The LoNo Program is a capital program focused on deploying new production vehicles that are market-ready or near market-ready. It is not a program for designing and developing prototypes. The program gives priority consideration to the deployment of buses with the lowest energy consumption and least harmful emissions, including direct carbon emissions. Complete proposals must be submitted electronically through the grants.gov ‘‘Apply’’ function by November 23, 2015. Prospective applicants should initiate the process by registering on the GRANTS.GOV Web site promptly to ensure completion of B. Federal Award Information The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP–21), Public Law 112–141, July 6, 2012, amended 49 U.S.C. 5312 to add a new paragraph (d)(5) authorizing FTA to make grants to finance eligible projects under the ‘‘Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment Program’’ (LoNo Program). The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (FY 2015 Appropriations) Public Law 113–235, December 16, 2014, has made available $22.5 million in FY 2015 to carry out the LoNo Program. Of that amount, a minimum of $3.0 million is available for supporting facilities and related equipment. Given that projects must be competitively selected pursuant Authority: 23 U.S.C. 140(b). Issued: September 18, 2015. Gregory G. Nadeau, Administrator, Federal Highway Administration. [FR Doc. 2015–24245 Filed 9–23–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–22–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Transit Administration FY15 Discretionary Funding Opportunity: Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment Program (LoNo) Program Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) and for Request for Proposals (RFP). AGENCY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announces the availability of $22.5 million of Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 funds for the deployment of low or no emission transit buses. Of that amount, a minimum of $3.0 million is available for supporting facilities and related equipment. If additional funding is appropriated for this program in FY 2016, FTA may, at its discretion, also make those funds available under this announcement. DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00090 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\24SEN1.SGM 24SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 185 (Thursday, September 24, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 57651-57656]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-24245]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration


Notice of Funding Availability for the Ladders of Opportunity 
Initiative: Pilot On-the-Job-Training Supportive Services Program

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of funding availability.

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SUMMARY: The FHWA announces a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for 
a Pilot On-the-Job-Training Supportive Services (OJT/SS) Program 
through the Ladders of Opportunity Initiative in the amount of $3 
million. The FHWA seeks to award discretionary grants to State 
Departments of Transportation (State DOTs), or to other State agencies 
or local governments applying through their State DOTs as 
subrecipients, in award amounts of up to $500,000 each. The FHWA may 
choose to fund the program for more or less than the announced amount, 
including applying any future appropriated funds toward the projects 
proposed in response to this NOFA. This NOFA solicits proposals that 
promote innovative, nationally and regionally significant, highway 
construction workforce development programs that invest in America's 
economic growth and build ladders of opportunity into the middle class 
for American workers. The term ``highway construction workforce'' 
should be read broadly to encompass the workforce necessary to carry 
out activities eligible for funding under FHWA's Surface Transportation 
Program (STP) at section 133(b) of title 23, United States Code 
(U.S.C.). Applications should outline areas of upcoming demand in the 
State's highway construction workforce and ensure that proposed 
programs would train workers in skills to fill specific workforce 
shortages.

DATES: Complete proposals are due by 11:59 p.m., e.t. on December 23, 
2015.

ADDRESSES: Applicants must submit all proposals electronically through 
https://www.grants.gov/. All entities intending to apply should initiate 
the process of registering on the grants.gov Web site immediately to 
ensure registration before the submission deadline. Instructions for 
applying can be found in the ``FIND'' module of grants.gov. Mail and 
fax submissions will not be accepted.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:  For further information 
concerning this notice please contact Martha Kenley, FHWA's Office of 
Civil Rights, by email at martha.kenley@dot.gov; by telephone at 202-
366-8110; or by mail at Federal Highway Administration, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. For legal questions, please contact 
Jim Esselman, FHWA Office of Chief Counsel, by email at 
james.esselman@dot.gov; by phone at 202-366-6181; or by mail at Federal 
Highway Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 
20590. Office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30

[[Page 57652]]

p.m. e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The FHWA On-the-Job Training (OJT) Program, 
described at section 230.111 of title 23, Code of Federal Regulations 
(CFR), requires State DOTs to make full use of apprenticeship and 
training programs targeted to developing the skills of women, 
minorities, and disadvantaged individuals and moving them into journey-
level positions to ensure that a competent workforce is available to 
meet highway construction hiring needs. The OJT Program addresses the 
historical under-representation of these groups in highway construction 
skilled crafts. The FHWA established the OJT/SS Program to: (a) 
Increase the overall effectiveness of State DOTs' on-the-job-training 
requirements in connection with Federal-aid highway construction 
projects; and (b) to seek other ways to increase the training 
opportunities for women, minorities, and disadvantaged individuals who 
have been historically underrepresented in the industry.
    Funding for OJT/SS derives from section 140(b) of title 23, U.S.C., 
which authorizes DOT to direct not more than $10,000,000 per year 
toward surface transportation and technology training. In recent years, 
FHWA has allocated OJT/SS funds annually to State DOTs through a 
formula process. That process will continue.
    Through this notice, FHWA announces an opportunity for State DOTs, 
or for other State agencies or local governments applying through their 
State DOTs as subrecipients, to compete for supplementary OJT/SS funds 
to foster increased focus on workforce development under DOT's Ladders 
of Opportunity Initiative.

Table of Contents

A. Program Description
    1. Authority
    2. Policy Priorities
B. Federal Award Information
    1. Available Funding and Expected Awards
C. Eligibility Information
    1. Eligible Applicants
    2. Cost Sharing or Matching
    3. Strategic Partnerships
    4. Other Eligibility Requirements
D. Application and Submission Information
    1. AddressTo Request Application Package
    2. Content and Form of Application Submission
    3. Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) and 
System for Award Management (SAM)
    4. Submission Dates and Times
    5. Funding Restrictions
E. Application Review Information
    1. Criteria
    2. Review and Selection Process
    3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates
F. Federal Award Administration
    1. Federal Award Notices
    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
    3. Reporting
G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts
H. Other Information
    1. Protection of Confidential Business Information

A. Program Description

1. Authority

    Section 140(b) of title 23, U.S.C., authorizes FHWA's OJT/SS 
Program, under which FHWA funds State DOTs to undertake surface 
transportation and technology training, including skill improvement 
programs for workforce development. The FHWA's regulation at 23 CFR 
230.113 sets forth requirements State DOTs must follow in implementing 
on-the-job training supporting services authorized under 23 U.S.C. 
140(b). Under these authorities, FHWA is issuing this NOFA for the 
Ladders of Opportunity Initiative Pilot OJT/SS Program. The OJT 
programs eligible for supportive services under 23 CFR 230.113 include 
training and apprenticeship programs approved by a State's FHWA 
Division Office, registered apprenticeship programs approved by the 
U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) or a State Apprenticeship Agency (SAA) 
recognized by the USDOL, or other training programs approved by the 
USDOL. Approved projects will help to bring American workers into the 
middle class and build critical skills to meet immediate and expected 
workforce demand in the highway construction industry.

2. Policy Priorities

    The Ladders of Opportunity Initiative Pilot OJT/SS Program seeks to 
provide skills training for transportation workers that will lead to 
journey-level careers and/or the development of stackable credentials 
for workers in the highway construction industry. The FHWA is seeking 
projects that create new nationally or regionally significant workforce 
development programs or that augment or replicate successful existing 
programs that will benefit highway construction firms or the highway 
construction industry. While either type of effort will be considered, 
FHWA will likely give greater consideration to programs or approaches 
with an existing track record of success.
    In evaluating proposed projects, FHWA will give priority to 
projects that focus on one or more of the following activities:
     Targeting areas with high rates of unemployment;
     encouraging increased participation of minority groups, 
disadvantaged individuals, and women;
     providing career pathways that support the movement of 
targeted populations from initial or short-term employment 
opportunities to sustainable careers;
     leveraging the use of other resources to support the 
proposed project;
     addressing gaps in areas with current or projected 
workforce shortages in fields related to highway construction;
     pre-employment training/preparation/tracking; and
     recruitment and hiring.

B. Federal Award Information

1. Available Funding and Expected Awards

    Through the Ladders of Opportunity Initiative Pilot OJT/SS Program, 
FHWA seeks to award a total of $3 million through discretionary grants 
to State DOTs, or to other State agencies or local governments applying 
through their State DOTs as subrecipients, in award amounts of up to 
$500,000. The FHWA may choose to fund the program for more or less than 
the announced amount, including applying any future appropriated funds 
toward the projects proposed in response to this NOFA.

C. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

    Eligible applicants are State DOTs. Other State agencies or local 
governments may apply through their State DOTs as subrecipients.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching

    The funding announced by this NOFA was authorized by both SAFETEA-
LU and MAP-21. While there are no minimum cost-share requirements, FHWA 
will give greater weight to applications with higher non-Federal cost 
share, or that designate the use of Federal-aid highway funds under 23 
U.S.C. 504(e) toward proposed projects.

3. Strategic Partnerships

    To be eligible for funding under this NOFA, applicants must commit 
to working in partnership with one or more external strategic 
partner(s) with a substantial interest and involvement in the project. 
An external partner must be an entity that has no direct relationship 
to the primary applicant. For example, the external partner may not be 
a department within the applicant's organization. An external partner 
entity could include, but is not limited to:

[[Page 57653]]

    a. Educational institutions, which include entities providing 
professional accreditation, degree, and/or certification programs, such 
as universities, community colleges, or trade schools;
    b. public workforce investment systems, such as local workforce 
investment boards and their one-stop systems;
    c. labor organizations, such as labor unions and labor management 
organizations;
    d. contractor associations; and/or
    e. non-profit organizations that support the mission of highway 
construction and transportation workforce development.
    The applicant need not necessarily identify a particular strategic 
partner in its application, but if it does not, it must commit to 
soliciting proposals from potential partners to ensure the competitive 
nature of the program.

4. Other Eligibility Requirements

a. Allowable Activities
    Projects must provide direct support to highway construction 
workforce development programs that are qualified under 23 CFR 230.111 
(i.e., training or apprenticeship programs approved by the FHWA, 
registered apprenticeship programs approved by the USDOL or an SAA, or 
other training programs approved by the USDOL). The term ``highway 
construction workforce'' should be read broadly to encompass the 
workforce necessary to carry out activities eligible for funding under 
FHWA's STP at 23 U.S.C. 133(b). Capital expenses, such as equipment 
purchases, are not considered to be eligible costs unless they directly 
relate to the FHWA-funded workforce development program. Acceptable 
costs can include, but are not limited to: Faculty/instructors, 
including salaries and fringe benefits; support staff; classroom space; 
books, materials, and supplies; and transportation stipends for 
participants.
b. Unallowable Costs
    The FHWA funds under this program are not intended as an offset to 
regular State DOT or other applicant employee salaries and may not be 
used to cover the regular or overtime salaries of applicant employees. 
Funds made available under this program shall not be used to finance 
the training of applicant agency employees or to provide services in 
support of such training. Funds may be used to cover the costs of staff 
directly engaged in a program management or training role at an agency.
c. Application Limitations
    Applicants, whether a State DOT or a subrecipient applying through 
the State DOT, may submit more than one proposal. An applicant will not 
receive greater consideration as a result of submitting multiple 
proposals.

D. Application And Submission Information

1. Address To Request Application Package

    This NOFA contains all information needed to apply for the grant. 
Applicants must submit proposals electronically through https://www.grants.gov. All entities intending to apply should initiate the 
process of registering on the grants.gov Web site immediately to ensure 
registration before the submission deadline. Instructions for applying 
can be found in the ``FIND'' module of grants.gov. Mail and fax 
submissions will not be accepted.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

    The applicant should submit a project narrative statement 
describing the project objectives, proposed work tasks, outputs, and 
benefits of the proposed project for which Federal assistance is being 
requested. If the project is a proposal seeking support for an existing 
program, it should describe the proposed project within the context of 
the larger effort.
    The narrative also should indicate whether the applicant will 
provide matching funds, the expected duration of the project, and other 
information that would assist FHWA in understanding and evaluating the 
project. Each submission for a project narrative statement should not 
exceed 10 pages (single-spaced, single-sided, 12 point font on 8.5 x 11 
inch paper) and must include the information listed below:
a. Project Title, Objective(s), and Contact Person
    At the top of the document, state the title of the project and 
provide 2-3 sentences describing the intended project goals and 
outcomes. List the contact person for the application along with his or 
her address, title, phone number, fax number, and email address.
b. Statement of the Problem(s)
    Characterize the workforce issue or problem present in the highway 
construction industry that the project directly addresses, and describe 
how the applicant identified the issue (i.e., whether the applicant 
surveyed workforce investment boards, labor organizations, contractors, 
educational institutions, or other interested stakeholders). Describe 
how the project will specifically address the issue for the applying 
organization. Provide a description of the new or existing program to 
be supported by the proposed project. Describe how the project meets 
the policy priorities identified in Section A.2. of this NOFA.
    Explain why the specified approach is being taken as opposed to 
others and how its innovative aspects have potential for nationwide or 
regional application. In addition to innovative workforce practices, 
cite the unique features of the project, such as technological 
innovations, reductions in cost or time, or social and community 
involvement.
    Finally, identify uncertainties and external factors that could 
affect the schedule, cost, or success of the program. The applicant may 
provide supporting documentation as an attachment that will not count 
toward the total page limit. The FHWA will consider such information 
supplementary but will not necessarily consider it in the project 
selection process.
c. Geographic Location, Target Groups, and Emphasis Areas
    Give a precise location or locations of the project and identify 
the area(s) and target group(s) to be directly served by the proposed 
effort. The applicant may attach maps or other graphic aids as needed.
d. Strategic Partners
    Applicants must commit to working in partnership with one or more 
external strategic partner(s) with a substantial interest and 
involvement in the project. An external partner must be an entity that 
has no direct relationship to the primary applicant. For example, the 
external partner may not be a department within the applicant's 
organization. An external partner entity could include, but is not 
limited to:
    (1) Educational institutions, which include entities providing 
professional accreditation, degree, and/or certification programs, such 
as universities, community colleges, or trade schools;
    (2) public workforce investment systems, such as local workforce 
investment boards and their one-stop systems;
    (3) labor organizations, such as labor unions and labor management 
organizations; and/or
    (4) non-profit organizations that support the mission of highway

[[Page 57654]]

construction and transportation workforce development.
    The applicant need not necessarily identify a particular strategic 
partner in its application, but if it does not, it must commit to 
soliciting proposals from potential partners to ensure the competitive 
nature of the program.
e. Scope of Work
    Outline a plan of action, organized by work task, pertaining to the 
scope and detail of how the applicant will accomplish the proposed 
work. List estimated milestone dates for all major activities. The 
applicant should clearly demonstrate the connection between each 
activity and the overall project objectives. The Scope of Work also 
should address supporting activities, such as marketing plans for 
recruiting participants and/or dissemination strategies for sharing the 
results, if such are critical to the success of the program.
f. Final Deliverable
    Proposals must describe at least one final project deliverable and 
how it will improve the state of the practice. Final products and 
project deliverables must be made available at no cost to FHWA and 
other agencies at the project's close for dissemination throughout the 
industry. Acceptable final products and deliverables include but are 
not limited to class materials, Web sites or software, recruitment 
materials, flyers, brochures and reports. Additionally, written 
quarterly progress reports and a final report are required.
g. Period of Performance
    Provide a schedule for completion of tasks assuming a total period 
of performance of up to 36 months. If the applicant is proposing a 
phased plan, describe the schedule for additional phases on a separate 
page or separate pages which will not be counted toward the page 
maximum.
h. Budget Proposal
    Provide a cost proposal indicating staffing levels, hours, and 
direct costs for the total project and the amount of funding requested 
from FHWA. The proposal must describe the source and the amount of 
matching funds, if any. The cost proposal also must set forth the 
nature and value of in-kind resources that team members will 
contribute, if any. Provide a line-item budget for the total project, 
with enough detail to indicate the various key components of the 
project. The proposal must apply cost principles found in 2 CFR part 
200, subpart E.
i. Performance Measurement
    Provide an approach for demonstrating the local, national or 
regional impact of the project on the highway construction industry and 
broader employment opportunities, including the number of jobs directly 
supported or created by the program. The proposal should include a 
description of the applicant's plan for recording the outcomes and 
reporting in a Final Report at the end of the project. The Final Report 
should contain, at minimum:
(1) Number of Individuals Affected
    Applicants should define ``affected individuals'' in terms that 
make sense for the proposed project. For example, other reported 
outcomes could include:
     Number of target individuals (women, minorities, and 
disadvantaged individuals) entered into the program;
     number of individuals who successfully complete the 
program, achieve an applicable credential, etc.;
     number of placed new workers and/or advanced incumbent 
workers;
     number of retained workers after 90 days or some other 
relevant period.
(2) Performance Metrics
    The FHWA prefers quantitative metrics but will consider qualitative 
metrics if they are based on the experiences of those affected by the 
program (as opposed to the self-assessment of the applicant or partner 
agencies). Metrics could include, but are not limited to, survey 
results, exit interviews, and longitudinal tracking of staff (during 
the period of performance only). At least one performance metric is 
required. As part of the proposal, provide projections (for 
quantitative measures) or short hypotheses (for qualitative measures) 
of what type of impact/performance FHWA could expect from the project.
(3) A 1-2 Page Project Description
    The project description should state the project's initial goals 
and measure achievements against those goals. This statement can also 
include ``lessons learned.''
(4) A 1-2 Page Statement of Applicability to Other Entities
    The applicant must describe how the project could be scaled and/or 
altered for application elsewhere once the project is complete, and 
what benefits could be realized by doing so.
j. Project Management
    Describe the applicant's proposed approach for managing and 
staffing the project, including the distribution of responsibilities 
among potential partner entities and an organizational chart, if 
applicable. Include responsibilities, such as regular reporting, 
performance measurement, and technical/management interactions with 
FHWA.
k. Project Staff
    List all known key individuals who will work on the project, along 
with short descriptions of their appropriate technical expertise and 
experience. Attach resumes or curriculum vitae if available. Project 
staff resumes or curriculum vitae will not count towards the total page 
count for proposal submissions. Describe how the applicant will engage 
in a competitive process to solicit organizational partners and/or 
consultants.

3. Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) and System for 
Award Management (SAM)

    Each applicant is required to (i) be registered in SAM before 
submitting its application; (ii) provide a valid DUNS number in its 
application; (iii) continue to maintain an active SAM registration with 
current information at all times during which it has an active Federal 
award or an application or plan under consideration by a Federal 
awarding agency. The FHWA may not make a Federal award to an applicant 
until the applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM 
requirements. If an applicant has not fully complied with the 
requirements by the time FHWA is ready to make a Federal award, FHWA 
may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a Federal 
award and use that determination as a basis for making a Federal award 
to another applicant.

4. Submission Dates and Times

    Complete proposals for the Ladders of Opportunity Initiative Pilot 
OJT/SS Program must be submitted electronically through the grants.gov 
Web site by 11:59 p.m., e.t. on December 23, 2015. Late applications 
will not be accepted. Applicants are encouraged to begin the process of 
registration on the grants.gov Web site well in advance of the 
submission deadline. Registration is a multi-step process, which may 
take several weeks to complete before submission of an application. 
Applicants who are already registered on grants.gov may need to take 
steps to keep their registration up to date before they submit a 
proposal.

5. Funding Restrictions

    Costs incurred before the FHWA award are not eligible as project 
expenses, and FHWA cannot

[[Page 57655]]

retroactively approve a project. The recipient or subrecipient may 
begin to incur project costs on the date that the grant agreement is 
executed. The FHWA expects grantees to implement the projects awarded 
as soon as possible and to fully expend grant funds during the period 
of performance, recognizing that full transparency and accountability 
are required for all expenditures.

E. Application Review Information

1. Criteria

    The FHWA will evaluate the applications submitted according to the 
criteria set forth below:
a. Statement of Need
    The FHWA will evaluate the extent to which the project identifies a 
clear and specific industry need for the Federal investment in the 
proposed highway construction workforce development activities and how 
well the proposed project addresses the policy priorities in Section 
A.2. of this NOFA. An applicant must submit data and provide evidence 
of the industry need and value for the proposed program.
b. Innovation
    The FHWA will evaluate the extent to which a project identifies a 
unique, significant, or innovative approach to address workforce 
development issues in the highway construction industry.
c. Furthering Ladders of Opportunity
    The FHWA will use the following activity areas to evaluate the 
extent to which an applicant demonstrates how this program or project 
can assist in building ladders of opportunity to the middle class by 
building pathways to job opportunities in the highway construction 
field:
    (1) Targeting areas with high rates of unemployment;
    (2) providing career pathways that support the movement of the 
targeted population from initial or short-term employment opportunities 
to sustainable careers;
    (3) encouraging increased participation of minority groups, 
disadvantaged persons, and women;
    (4) leveraging the use of other resources to support workforce 
development;
    (5) addressing gaps in areas with current or projected workforce 
shortages in fields related to highway construction;
    (6) pre-employment training/preparation/tracking; and
    (7) recruitment and hiring.

d. Outcomes and Deliverables

    The FHWA will evaluate the extent to which the applicant 
demonstrates a results-oriented approach to managing and operating the 
project. In particular, FHWA will evaluate the extent to which the 
applicant identifies an approach for demonstrating the local, national, 
or regional impact of the project on the surface transportation 
industry and broader employment opportunities, including the number of 
jobs directly supported or created by the program.
    The FHWA prefers quantitative metrics but will consider qualitative 
metrics if they are based on the experiences of those affected by the 
program (as opposed to the self-assessment of the applicant or partner 
agencies). Metrics could include, but are not limited to, survey 
results, exit interviews, and longitudinal tracking of staff (during 
the period of performance only). At least one performance metric is 
required. As part of the proposal, provide projections (for 
quantitative measures) or short hypotheses (for qualitative measures) 
of what type of impact/performance FHWA could expect from the project.
    The FHWA will also evaluate the extent to which the applicant 
describes the products and deliverables that will be produced as a 
result of the project activities.
e. Strategic Partnerships
    Applicants must commit to working in partnership with one or more 
external strategic partner(s) with a substantial interest and 
involvement in the project. Applicants need not necessarily identify a 
particular strategic partner in their applications, but if they do not, 
they must identify the competitive process they intend to follow for 
soliciting proposals from appropriate agencies, organizational partners 
and/or consultants in support of the proposed project.
f. National Replicability
    The FHWA will evaluate whether the project has national or regional 
applicability and whether it will provide a replicable model of 
workforce development practices.
g. Cost Sharing
    Both SAFETEA-LU and MAP-21 authorized the funding announced by this 
NOFA. While there are no minimum cost-share requirements, FHWA will 
give greater weight to applications with higher non-Federal cost share, 
or that designate the use of Federal-aid highway funds under 23 U.S.C. 
504(e) toward proposed projects.
h. Strategy and Project Work Plan
    The period of performance will be up to 36 months from the date of 
execution of the grant documents. This performance period includes all 
necessary implementation and start-up activities, execution of the 
program, and completion of final deliverables as specified in the 
applicant's Scope of Work. The FHWA will evaluate the project work plan 
pursuant to the following factors:
    (1) The presentation of a coherent plan that demonstrates the 
applicant's complete understanding of all the activities, 
responsibilities, and costs required to implement each phase of the 
project and achieve projected outcomes;
    (2) the demonstrated feasibility and reasonableness of the timeline 
for accomplishing all necessary implementation activities, including 
the ability to expeditiously begin training; and
    (3) the extent to which the budget aligns with the proposed work 
plan and is justified with respect to the adequacy and reasonableness 
of resources requested.
i. Project Management and Organizational Capacity
    The FHWA will evaluate the capacity of the applicant to effectively 
staff and/or oversee the proposed initiative and deliver the proposed 
outcomes, as well as the fiscal, administrative, and performance 
management capacity to implement the key components of this project. 
The FHWA also will evaluate the track record of the applicant to 
implement projects of similar focus, size, and scope.

2. Review and Selection Process

    A technical evaluation committee will review proposals using the 
project selection criteria. Members of the technical evaluation 
committee reserve the right to screen and rate the applications FHWA 
receives and to seek clarification from any applicant about any 
statement in its application that FHWA finds ambiguous and/or to 
request additional documentation to be considered during the evaluation 
process to clarify information contained within the proposal. After 
considering the findings of the technical evaluation committee, the 
FHWA Administrator will determine the final selection and amount of 
funding for each project. The FHWA may consider geographic diversity 
and the applicant's receipt of other discretionary awards in its award 
decisions.

[[Page 57656]]

F. Federal Award Administration Information

1. Federal Award Notices

    After FHWA has selected the proposals to be funded, it will notify 
successful applicants by email or telephone of their status. In 
addition, FHWA will publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing 
successful applicants. Upon notification of intent to award funds, FHWA 
may withdraw its offer to provide Federal assistance if the recipient 
or subrecipient does not commence its competitive process to solicit 
partners and/or consultants consistent with its proposal submission 
within 90 days following the date of the offer.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    All awards will be administered pursuant to the Uniform 
Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements 
for Federal Awards found in 2 CFR part 200. Applicable Federal laws, 
rules, and regulations set forth in title 23, U.S.C., and title 23 of 
the CFR, apply.
    The successful applicant shall grant FHWA, upon request, the right 
of access to all records and the right to audit all aspects of the 
project.
    The successful applicant, and all partners and consultants shall be 
required to submit non-collusion certifications.

3. Reporting

    The FHWA requires the successful applicant to submit quarterly 
written reports to FHWA, containing statistical data and narrative 
sufficient to evaluate the progress of the project and to identify any 
problems. The FHWA also requires the successful applicant to submit a 
detailed final report at the project end, containing statistical data 
and narrative sufficient to evaluate whether the project met its 
projected outcomes.

G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts

    For general program information, please use the contact information 
in the front of this notice. Please contact the grants.gov helpdesk for 
assistance with electronic applications via email at grants.gov">support@grants.gov 
or call toll-free at (800) 518-4726.

H. Other Information

1. Protection of Confidential Business Information

    All information submitted as part of or in support of any 
application shall use publicly available data or data that can be made 
public and methodologies that are accepted by industry practice and 
standards, to the extent possible. If the application includes 
information you consider to be a trade secret or confidential 
commercial or financial information, the applicant should do the 
following: (1) Note on the front cover that the submission ``Contains 
Confidential Business Information (CBI)''; (2) mark each affected page 
``CBI''; and (3) highlight or otherwise denote the CBI portions.
    The FHWA protects such information from disclosure to the extent 
allowed under applicable law. In the event FHWA receives a Freedom of 
Information Act (FOIA) request for the information, FHWA will follow 
the procedures described in its FOIA regulations at 49 CFR 7.17. Only 
information that is ultimately determined to be confidential under that 
procedure will be exempt from disclosure under FOIA.

    Authority:  23 U.S.C. 140(b).

    Issued: September 18, 2015.
Gregory G. Nadeau,
Administrator, Federal Highway Administration.
[FR Doc. 2015-24245 Filed 9-23-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P