Veterans Employment Pay for Success Grant Program (“VEPFS program”), 54216-54226 [2016-19304]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 157 / Monday, August 15, 2016 / Notices Dated: August 5, 2016. Stuart Feldstein, Director, Legislative and Regulatory Activities, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, August 8, 2016. Robert deV. Frierson, Secretary of the Board. Dated at Washington, DC, this 5th day of August 2016. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Ralph E. Frable, Assistant Executive Secretary. [FR Doc. 2016–19268 Filed 8–12–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810–33–P; 6210–01–P; 6714–01–C DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS Veterans Employment Pay for Success Grant Program (‘‘VEPFS program’’) VA Center for Innovation, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). ACTION: Notice of funding availability. AGENCY: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is establishing a grant program (Veterans Employment Pay for Success (VEPFS)) under the authority of 38 U.S.C. 3119 to award grants to eligible entities to fund projects that are successful in accomplishing employment rehabilitation for Veterans with a Service-connected Disability. VA will award grants on the basis of an sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:23 Aug 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 eligible entity’s proposed use of a Pay for Success (PFS) strategy to achieve goals. This Notice includes the general process for awarding the grant, criteria and parameters for evaluating grant applications, priorities related to the award of a grant, and general requirements and guidance for administering a VEPFS grant program. DATES: Applications for a grant under the VEPFS program must be submitted to Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time September 14, 2016. Successful applicants will be notified by September 30, 2016. The award made through the VEPFS program will cover a period of 60 months. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patrick Littlefield, Executive Director, VA Center for Innovation. Patrick.Littlefield@va.gov, (202) 256– 7176. If mailing correspondence, other than application material, please send to: VA Center for Innovation, VA Central Office, Attn: Patrick Littlefield (320), 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420. Disclosure: Publication of this Notice does not obligate VA to award any grant or to obligate the entire amount of funding available. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Program Description A. Background This competition of the VEPFS program is a collaborative effort by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Corporation for National and PO 00000 Frm 00176 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Community Service (CNCS) to test the Pay for Success (PFS) model as a way to improve suitable Employment Outcomes for Veterans with a Serviceconnected Disability of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Improving suitable Employment Outcomes, as noted in Appendix I, means creating positive impact in terms of these outcomes, where the results for individuals that receive the Intervention are better than the results for a valid comparison group that did not receive the Intervention. Throughout this document, the nomenclature of outcomes, consistent with the Pay for Success field’s use of the term, is inextricably linked to impact in this Notice. This competition seeks to create a meaningful difference in Veterans’ lives that would not otherwise exist. This goal is consistent with the mission of VA, which is to fulfill President Lincoln’s promise, ‘‘To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan’’ by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s Veterans. VA’s Office of Economic Opportunity within the Veterans Benefits Administration has a further defined mission to ‘‘Help Veterans attain personal and economic success’’ through a variety of benefits, services, and activities including promoting employment opportunities for Veterans. The targeted veterans for this Pay for Success (PFS) pilot will need to have Service-connected Disability of PTSD. E:\FR\FM\15AUN1.SGM 15AUN1 EN15AU16.019</GPH> 54216 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 157 / Monday, August 15, 2016 / Notices sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES While VA and other government organizations, such as the Department of Labor, have programs that assist Veterans in seeking employment, there is not an employment program that focuses specifically and solely on Veterans with PTSD. VA is interested in enhancing vocational services with the intent of improving overall Employment Outcomes for this target group of Veterans. This PFS competition will target the effective delivery of employment Interventions to Veterans with a Service-connected Disability of PTSD. Employment Outcomes will be related to success in obtaining and sustaining suitable employment. The overarching goal of this competition is to generate positive impact for Veterans as they seek to return to competitive employment. Please see Appendix II for more information on the background of the focus of this competition. Background on the Social Innovation Fund as Partner to VA The Social Innovation Fund (SIF) at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has chosen to partner with VA on this program. The mission of CNCS is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. Through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and the Volunteer Generation Fund, CNCS has helped to engage millions of citizens in meeting community and national challenges through service and volunteer action. Through the SIF, CNCS has augmented its traditional activities with an enhanced focus on identifying and growing innovative, evidence-based approaches to our nation’s challenges. The purpose of the SIF is to grow the impact of innovative community-based solutions that have compelling evidence of improving the lives of people in lowincome communities throughout the United States. The SIF directs resources toward increasing the evidence-base, capacity, and scale of the organizations it funds in order to improve the lives of people served by those organizations. The SIF also generates broader impact by leveraging the grant program in various ways to improve how philanthropies, Federal government departments and agencies, state and local government, and communitybased organizations deploy funds to address social challenges. Additionally, it enhances the ability of the nonprofit sector to support the growth of innovative, high-impact organizations. Ultimately, SIF PFS efforts are intended to: • Increase knowledge in the social sector about which capacity building VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:23 Aug 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 and PFS Project-structuring practices increase the likelihood of successful implementation of PFS projects as well as other evidence-based approaches and related social financing mechanisms. • Accelerate the development of the field to make it easier to adopt outcomes-focused funding models. • Attract capital to finance effective solutions to challenges facing lowincome communities nationwide and to high-performing organizations that demonstrate the ability to strengthen, grow, and sustain effective solutions for challenges facing low-income communities. CNCS’s partnership on this program provides expertise on PFS to pair with VA’s expertise on Veterans’ issues. B. Funding Purpose The VEPFS program will fund a demonstration project (‘‘demonstration’’) to support and assess the use of Pay for Success (PFS) to improve Employment Outcomes for Veterans with a Service-connected Disability of PTSD. The program will specifically target Veterans with a Service-connected Disability of PTSD in low-income communities or in geographical areas that have the highest demonstrated employment need. Improved Employment Outcomes will be based on whether: • Employment is consistent with a Veteran’s interests, aptitudes, skills, and abilities; • Employment improves (or does not aggravate/worsen) the Veteran’s disabling conditions; • Employment requires reasonably developed skills; • Employment provides the Veteran with a Living Wage (preferred) or improves the Veteran’s earnings annually; and • Competitive employment is sustained. PFS is a strategy of procuring positive outcomes that manifest in positive impact by paying for an Intervention only once it produces those outcomes. PFS projects typically involve two elements: a PFS Agreement and PFS financing. 1. A PFS Agreement provides for payment when an Intervention achieves positive outcomes at pre-set target levels, as compared to the outcomes achieved by a counterfactual group. (Pre-set means set in, and by the signatories to, the PFS Agreement before the Intervention is deployed.) Achievement of outcomes is typically verified by an Evaluator using a robust methodology agreed upon by all parties to a transaction to ascertain impact. PO 00000 Frm 00177 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 54217 2. PFS financing, sometimes referred to as social impact bonds, is the provision of mission-driven capital that covers the upfront costs of delivering the Intervention and potentially other project costs. Given that verifying the outcomes that trigger Outcomes Payments may take several years, Service Providers often will not have the resources to self-finance the costs of implementing a preventive Intervention during an agreement period. PFS financing covers these costs. Such thirdparty investment is typically at-risk and return of capital (and any potential return on investment) via the Outcomes Payor is dependent, in whole or in part, on the achievement of outcomes identified in the PFS Agreement. Projects involving either solely a PFS Agreement, or both a PFS Agreement and PFS Financing, are considered viable projects to ultimately receive Outcomes Payments funded by the VEPFS program. Please see the diagram in Appendix II for the typical, though not mandatory, steps in a PFS project that includes PFS financing. Note that the PFS Agreement must be in accordance with standards relating to evaluation methodology, metrics for Employment Outcomes, and investor rate of return to be issued by VA in the terms and conditions of the grant agreement. For definitions related to the VEPFS program, please see Appendix I. The VEPFS program will fund Outcomes Payments, which by definition in Appendix I are tied to impact, for a High-Quality PFS Project designed to improve Employment Outcomes among Veterans with a Service-connected Disability of PTSD. Through this competition, VA will select an entity to act as an Outcomes Payor, administering the Federal funds and matching non-Federal funds to pay for improved Employment Outcomes. The key objectives of this demonstration are as follows: 1. Pilot test the PFS model operated by a project coordinator to learn whether the PFS approach is feasible to fund a Veterans’ employment initiative. 2. Assist Veterans with a Serviceconnected Disability of PTSD in securing employment and/or increasing earnings. 3. Add evidence to the knowledge base about effective and integrated Interventions to support Veterans’ employment. 4. Conduct research to identify lessons learned and best practices on the feasibility of testing effective Veterans’ employment Interventions. E:\FR\FM\15AUN1.SGM 15AUN1 54218 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 157 / Monday, August 15, 2016 / Notices C. Approach sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES 1. Applicants must present either a Partial Project Partnership or Full Project Partnership for a High-Quality PFS Project at the time of application. 2. The Grant Recipient (referred to as ‘‘Recipient’’ in the remainder of the document) will serve as an Outcomes Payor and thus a party to a PFS Agreement that is designed to improve Employment Outcomes among Veterans with a Service-connected Disability of PTSD. 3. The Recipient is responsible for securing non-Federal funds in accordance with the 1:1 cash match requirement for the entire grant award. 4. Within six months of the grant award, the Recipient must submit to VA a proposed high-level project plan that outlines key milestones and associated target deadlines for the duration of the project period. 5. The Project Partnership must produce a High-Quality PFS Project for improving Employment Outcomes among Veterans with a Serviceconnected Disability of PTSD. 6. The Recipient will capture and share with the public key learnings from the PFS activity that this grant supports. The Recipient will work with VA and CNCS in order to disseminate information related to the Recipient’s PFS activity supported by this grant. This requirement involves, but is not limited to, the Recipient providing to VA and making publicly available all major documents and tools developed for the High-Quality PFS Project, including a PFS Agreement, taking into consideration the confidentiality needs of Participants as well as local, state, and Federal laws. 7. VA will ensure a Grant Program Assessment is conducted. The Grant Program Assessment will ascertain the level of progress made towards achieving the objectives articulated in Section I.B. of this Notice throughout, and at the conclusion of, the period of performance. 8. If the Evaluator certifies that the impact of the Intervention, as determined through rigorous evaluation, has met the requirements of the PFS Agreement, Outcomes Payments will be disbursed by the Recipient to the Service Provider. D. Key Programmatic Requirements Any Project Coordinator and Investor(s) must be procured in accordance with the requirements in 2 CFR 200.317–200.326. Alternatively, nonprofit community organizations may continue to comply with the Procurement Standards in OMB Circular VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:23 Aug 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 A–110 for two additional fiscal years, beginning after December 26, 2014, meaning through Fiscal Year 2017. Such election must be specified in the nonprofit organization’s documented policies and procedures. In the case that applicants have not yet procured a Project Coordinator and Investor(s) but plan to, applicants must present a detailed plan for forming a Full Project Partnership at the time of application that follows grant procurement requirements in 2 CFR 200.317–200.326 for any Federal funds utilized. The Recipient must submit to VA a proposed high-level project plan that outlines key milestones and associated target deadlines for the duration of the project period, reflecting the following activities and the duration for each: • Formation of a Full Project Partnership and development and execution of the PFS Agreement; • Delivery of the Intervention; • Employment Outcomes evaluation to ascertain impact; and • Outcomes Payor review of the evaluation and potential release of Outcomes Payments. (Note that Employment Outcomes may be evaluated and Outcomes Payments released at other times for positive impact during this project period if the terms of the PFS Agreement call for multiple payment points.) The Grant Program Assessment activities include, but are not limited to: • Providing interviews, data and documentation of inputs, outputs, and Employment Outcomes to support the Grant Program Assessment; • Requiring participation from the Recipient in the Grant Program Assessment; and • Conducting additional activities to augment the overall knowledge sharing agenda. E. Program Authority Funding applied for under this Notice is provided by VA and CNCS. VA: Funding from VA is authorized by 38 U.S.C. 3119. Section 3119 authorizes VA to make grants to public or nonprofit agencies for the development of projects ‘‘designed to increase the resources and potential for accomplishing the rehabilitation of disabled veterans[,]’’ which include Veterans with Service-connected Disablilities. CNCS: Section 198K of the National and Community Service Act of 1990, Public Law 101–610, as amended, (42 U.S.C. 12653k) established CNCS’s Social Innovation Fund. The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, Public Law 113–235, Division G, Title IV, PO 00000 Frm 00178 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Corporation for National and Community Service, and The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2016, Public Law 114–92, Division H, Title IV, Corporation for National and Community Service, provided that up to 20% of funds made available for the Social Innovation Fund may be provided to PFS. VA and CNCS entered into an interagency agreement, which designates VA as the agency responsible for implementing this PFS project. II. Federal Award Information A. Estimated Available Funds and Award Amount Up to $3.0 million in Federal funding is available for the award. VA intends to award one grant of $3.0 million through this competition. B. Project Period The anticipated start date of grant funding under this announcement is September 30, 2016. The grant award covers a five-year project period. Applications should represent the full five-year period. C. Funding Instrument The funding mechanism for the VEPFS program is a grant. III. Eligibility Information A. Eligible Applicants This competition is limited to public or nonprofit agencies, including nonprofit institutions of higher learning. Eligible nonprofit organizations are defined in 2 CFR 200.70. Eligible applicants must propose to serve Veterans with a Service-Connected Disability of PTSD in low-income communities or in geographical areas that have the highest need in the issue areas. ‘‘Highest need ’’ means greater than the national average, and ‘‘issue areas’’ means (1) reductions in poverty or increases in economic opportunity for economically disadvantaged individuals or (2) health, including health services and health eductation. B. Cost Sharing or Matching The Recipient must provide nonFederal cash funds for Outcomes Payments that match by 100% the Federal funds received through this award. An applicant may meet the match requirement with a combination of its own funds and those of other nonFederal sources. At the time of application, applicants must present evidence that they have already secured 10% of their match requirement in nonFederal cash by submitting match E:\FR\FM\15AUN1.SGM 15AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 157 / Monday, August 15, 2016 / Notices verification documents, as explained in Section IV.D. (Other Submission Requirements) of this Notice. C. Other Entities that have been convicted of a Federal crime may not receive assistance described in this Notice. Pursuant to the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, an organization described in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(4), that engages in lobbying activities is not eligible to apply. IV. Application and Submission Information A. Address To Request Application Package Applicants may download the application package from Grants.gov. Questions regarding the application process should be referred to the Program Official: Patrick Littlefield (Executive Director, VA Center for Innovation), Patrick.Littlefield@va.gov, (202) 256–7176 (This is not a toll-free number). Hearing- or speech-impaired individuals may access this number through TTY by calling the Federal Relay Service at 1–800–829–4833 (this is a toll-free number). B. Content and Form of Application sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES 1. Application Content The VEPFS Grant Program application package provided at Grants.gov (Funding Opportunity Number: VA– VACI–2016–01) contains electronic versions of the application forms that are required. Additional attachments to satisfy the required application information may be provided. The application must provide a welldesigned plan with a clear and compelling justification for receiving the requested funds. Reviewers will assess the application on the basis of the program goals, partnership, work plan and budget, expertise and capacity, and match as noted in Section IV. of this Notice. All VEPFS grant applications must consist of the following: Completed applications must have the following components: • Standard Forms (SF) 424, 424A and 424B: The SF–424, SF–424A, and SF– 424B require general information about the applicant and proposed project. • Narrative Æ Executive Summary: An outline of key information and a brief description of the applicant’s proposal. The Executive Summaries of all compliant applications will be published on the VA Web site. The outline of key VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:23 Aug 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 information should include, in outline format, the following: Æ Name of Proposal Æ Name of Intervention Æ Type of Partnership Presented at Time of Application [Full/Partial Project Partnership] Æ Amount of Federal Funds Sought (up to $3.0 million) Æ Match D Amount of Funding Secured as Cash on Hand (at least 10% of the Non-Federal Match Requirement) D Amount of Funding for which Applicant Has Received Commitments D Amount of Funding for which Applicant Has Received Letters of Interest D Amount of Funding for which Applicant Has Plan to Secure Æ Project Description Æ Project Partnership Æ Work Plan and Budget Æ Expertise and Capacity Æ Match Æ Match Verification Documentation See Section V.A. of this Notice for details on information that should be included in the Project Description, Project Partnership, Work Plan and Budget, Expertise and Capacity, Match, and Match Verification Documentation components. Applications may not exceed 50 double-spaced pages as the pages print out from Grants.gov. The Budget section is not included in the page limit. Please note that reviewers will be instructed to stop reading the Narrative section of the grant application after page 50. Reviewers will not consider material past the page limit. Applications must include a Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and an Employer Identification Number. The DUNS number does not replace an Employer Identification Number. You can obtain a DUNS number at no cost by calling the DUNS number request line at (866) 705– 5711 or by applying online at http:// fedgov.dnb.com/webform. The Web site indicates a 48-hour email turnaround time on requests for DUNS numbers; however, VA recommends registering at least 30 days before the application due date. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants must also register with the System for Award Management (SAM) and maintain an active SAM registration until the application process is complete and, if a grant is awarded, throughout the life of the award. SAM registration must be renewed annually. VA suggests finalizing a new registration or renewing an existing one PO 00000 Frm 00179 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 54219 at least two weeks before the application deadline to allow time to resolve any issues that may arise. Applicants must use their SAM-registered legal name and address on all grant applications to VA. VA will not make an award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements and, if the applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time VA is ready to make an award, VA will determine the applicant is not qualified to receive a Federal award and will use this determination as a basis for making the award to another applicant. See the SAM Quick Guide for Grantees at https://www.sam.gov/sam/transcript/ SAM_Quick_Guide_Grants_ Registrations-v1.6.pdf. 2. Submission Dates and Times Applications are due September 14, 2016 by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. Submissions received after this application deadline will be considered late and will not be reviewed or considered. Submissions via email, mail, or fax will not be accepted. VA reserves the right to extend the submission deadline and any notice of such extended deadline will be posted on the VA Web site. It is the responsibility of grant applicants to ensure a full and complete application is submitted via Grants.gov. Applicants are encouraged to periodically review the ‘‘Version History Tab’’ of the funding opportunity announcement in Grants.gov to identify if any modifications have been made to the funding announcement and/or opportunity package. Upon initial download of the funding opportunity package, applicants will be asked to provide an email address to be notified of any changes to the opportunity package before the closing date. Providing your email address will allow Grants.gov to send you an email message in the event this funding opportunity package is changed and/or republished on Grants.gov prior to the posted closing date. Any technical issues during any document download or submission processes should be directed to Grants.gov for assistance. Once the application is submitted in Grants.gov, the applicant will see a confirmation screen explaining that your submission is being processed and a link will be provided to track the application. Retain the Grants.gov application tracking number received in the application submission confirmation screen. This tracking number is also emailed to the applicant upon submission. E:\FR\FM\15AUN1.SGM 15AUN1 54220 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 157 / Monday, August 15, 2016 / Notices VA may consider an application after the deadline, but only if the applicant submits an email explaining the extenuating technical circumstance that caused the delay. VA will determine the admissibility of late applications on a case-by-case basis. However, please be advised that VA will not consider an advance request to submit a late application. Applicants must send the email to Patrick Littlefield within the 24 hours immediately after the deadline. Communication with VA staff, including a program officer, is not a substitute for sending a letter to Patrick.Littlefield@va.gov. VA will determine whether or not to accept a late application on a case-by-case basis. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES C. Intergovernmental Review The applications will be reviewed solely by subject matter experts and authorized personnel from VA and other Federal agencies. The program is not subject to Executive Order 12372, ‘‘Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.’’ D. Funding Restrictions The Recipient’s request for funding must be consistent with the limitations and uses of grant funds set forth in this Notice. Pursuant to 2 CFR 200.414, for indirect costs, the Recipient may utilize a 10% de minimis rate of modified total direct costs, utilize a rate already negotiated with the Federal Government, negotiate an indirect cost rate for the first time, or charge costs directly following 2 CFR 200.413. The indirect rate utilized must be applied consistently across all Federal awards. The Recipient may draw down funds for Outcomes Payments only after the Employment Outcomes have been achieved and verified according to preset requirements. In the event that Employment Outcomes are achieved at or above preset target levels per the terms of the PFS Agreement and all funds for Outcomes Payments are claimed: The Recipient will release Outcomes Payments, funded by this grant and by non-Federal sources through the match requirement, per the terms of the PFS Agreement related to a High-Quality PFS Project for improving Employment Outcomes among Veterans with a Serviceconnected Disability of PTSD. In the event Employment Outcomes are not achieved at or above pre-set target levels per the terms of the PFS Agreement and not all funds for Outcomes Payments are claimed: The Recipient shall not draw down VA or CNCS funds for Outcomes Payments as opposed to funds for indirect costs. Instead, CNCS funds for Outcomes VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:23 Aug 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 Payments will return to CNCS and VA funds for Outcomes Payments will return to the U.S. Treasury via VA. E. Other Submission Requirements 1. Electronic Submission via Grants.gov Applications for the VEPFS program must be submitted electronically through Grants.Gov. 2. Submission of Additional Documents Match Verification Documentation: At the time of application, applicants must demonstrate through a letter or other form of documentation that they have cash-on-hand that meets 10% of their match requirement. Applicants may demonstrate cash-on-hand by a statement from the Chief Financial Officer or other officer that the organization has established a reserve of otherwise uncommitted funds for the purposes of fulfilling this match requirement. A bank statement or report of assets is not sufficient without the accompanying statement that the funds are uncommitted. Applicants may also demonstrate commitments by a dated and signed letter from each donor/ foundation, indicating the amount of funds committed for the specific use of supporting this grant. Such a letter must contain a firm commitment to provide the applicant the stated funding upon award of a grant by VA. To demonstrate cash on hand, applicants may demonstrate cash-onhand by a statement from the Chief Financial Officer or other officer that the organization has established a reserve of otherwise uncommitted funds for the purposes of fulfilling this match requirement. A bank statement or report of assets is not sufficient without the accompanying statement that the funds are uncommitted. Applicants may also demonstrate commitments by a dated and signed letter from each donor/ foundation, indicating the amount of funds committed for the specific use of supporting this grant. Such a letter must contain a firm commitment to provide the applicant the stated funding upon award of a grant by VA. Documentation must be uploaded as part of the grant application package to Grants.gov. Applicants should include the following information: • The legal applicant name and applicant’s point of contact information; • The application ID number; • A list of documents attached to the email; • Individually saved files that are clearly labeled; and • Files that include the legal applicant name and application ID number within the body of the document. PO 00000 Frm 00180 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Applications must be submitted as a complete package, including the additional documents. Materials arriving separately will not be considered and may result in the application being rejected. Match verification, as well as all other documentation must be received by the application deadline. Submission of evidence of match by the application deadline is a compliance criterion. Do not submit supplementary material such as videos, brochures, letters of support, or any items not requested in this Notice. VA will not review or return them. V. Application Review Information A. Selection Criteria Reviewers will assess the degree to which the applicant clearly and convincingly meets the following criteria and score them according to the points assigned to each criteria (out of 100 total points possible): 1. Project Description (up to 30 points) • Identifies and describes an employment Intervention for Veterans with a Service-connected Disability of PTSD (3 points); • Identifies and describes the methodology for delivering an employment Intervention to Veterans with a Service-Connected Disability of PTSD through a PFS Agreement that is supported by Strong Evidence, describing the Strong Evidence of the Intervention and describing the Employment Outcomes to be evaluated. Please include information on the measurable Employment Outcomes the applicant seeks to improve by replicating or expanding a proven initiative or supporting a new evidencebased initiative (5 points); • Identifies where geographically the Intervention to be delivered through the PFS Agreement will be deployed and explains in detail how that Intervention will serve Veterans with a Serviceconnected Disability of PTSD in (1) lowincome communities or (2) geographical areas that have the highest need for the issue areas (7 points); • Identifies and justifies the number and population of Veterans expected to be served by the Intervention to be delivered through the PFS Agreement, and why the proposed Intervention is well-suited to the target population and context (2.5 points); • Defines the method for determining an appropriate Veteran control group for the evaluation of Employment Outcomes (2.5 points); • Describes any employer engagement, development, and training strategies (2.5 points); E:\FR\FM\15AUN1.SGM 15AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 157 / Monday, August 15, 2016 / Notices • Describes the integration and role of mental health care professionals in the project (2.5 points); • Describes how the PFS project will promote the Employment Outcome of a Living Wage as a result of the Intervention as compared to the control group (2 points); • Describes how the PFS project will promote the Employment Outcome of an appreciable increase in annual earnings for Veterans as a result of the Intervention as compared to the control group (1 point); • Describes how the applicant will sustain the replicated or expanded initiative after the conclusion of the grant period (2 points). 2. Project Partnership (up to 25 points) • For applicants presenting a Full Project Partnership at the time of application (25 points). Provides the name, qualifications, and project responsibilities of each of the following partner entities committed to the project: Æ Project Coordinator Æ Evaluator Æ Investor(s) if the PFS Agreement will involve PFS financing Æ Service Provider(s). Please include as part of qualifications any experience working with Veterans. • For applicants presenting a Partial Project Partnership at the time of application (15 points). Æ Provides the name, qualifications, and project responsibilities of any of the following partner entities committed to the project (7 points): • Project Coordinator • Evaluator • Investor(s) if the PFS Agreement will involve PFS financing • Service Provider(s). Please include as part of the qualifications any experience working with Veterans. Æ Describes a plan that has a high likelihood of success to transparently form a Full Project Partnership (5 points). Æ Provides evidence of experience in developing partnerships for social innovation generally and/or PFS specifically (3 points). sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES 3. Work Plan and Budget (up to 20 points) • Proposes a high-level work plan that provides specific, realistic, and actionable timelines tied to completion of the following tasks within the project period and includes staff roles assigned to complete the following tasks, noting whether such staff members are already hired (10 points): Æ Secure any remaining non-Federal funds for the match requirement; VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:23 Aug 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 Æ Form a Full Project Partnership if it has not been formed yet; Æ Execute a PFS Agreement for a High-Quality PFS Project that evaluates impacts within the period of performance and potential release of Outcomes Payments; Æ Define reporting structure, data collection methods, Evaluate Outcomes and performance metrics, and evaluation approach. • Provides a budget narrative that (10 points): Æ Breaks down total funds by: • Amount of total funding for indirect costs (in accordance with 2 CFR 200.414) • Amount of total funding for Outcomes Payments Æ Breaks down total funds by: • The amount of the Federal share • The amount of the non-Federal share (i.e., matching funds) Æ Justifies the amount budgeted for Outcomes Payments in terms of an appropriate rate of return for Investors and number of Veterans to be served. 4. Expertise and Capacity (up to 17 points) • Provides evidence of past experience among its in-house staff (and/or Board of Directors if applicant is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization) working on: Æ Pay for Success or other social finance strategies (6 points); Æ Issues specific to Veterans (1 point); Æ Workforce supports for individuals facing mental health challenges, including PTSD (1 point); Æ Demonstrated knowledge of sound vocational rehabilitation principles (1 point); Æ Knowledge of and adherence to Service-Connected Disability related privacy concerns (1 point); Æ Experience with employment focused and/or mental health service providers (1 point); Æ Data on the measurable Employment Outcomes the applicant has improved (1 point). • Identifies and explains sufficient capacity (i.e., knowledge, skill, and time) among existing in-house staff or those to be hired, to carry out its responsibilities if selected as a Recipient (3 points). • Describes how the applicant uses data to analyze and improve its initiatives (2 points). 5. Match (up to 8 points) • Identifies and provides evidence for the percentage of its match requirement that meets each of the four categories: 1. Funds that the applicant has secured (i.e., made available if itself PO 00000 Frm 00181 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 54221 providing the funds or already received from others) as cash on hand to meet the match requirement; 2. Funds for which the applicant has received commitments; 3. Funds for which the applicant has received letters of interest from funders; 4. Funds the applicant has a credible plan to secure. Points will be allocated as follows: Æ Each applicant will identify the percentage of its match requirement that meets each of the four categories above. • For example, Applicant ABC identifies that it has secured half its match requirement and received letters of interest from funders in providing the remaining half. Æ Those percentages will be multiplied as follows: by 100% for funds that are secured; by 90% for funds that have been committed; by 60% for funds that funders have expressed interest in providing; and by 30% for funds that the applicant has a credible plan to secure. Æ For Applicant ABC, the reviewer would multiply 50% × 100% for the secured funds (50% × 100% = 50%) and multiply 50% × 30% for the funds supported for which the applicant has a credible plan to secure (50% × 30% = 15%). Æ The resultant percentages will be added to yield the applicant’s ‘‘match score multiplier.’’ It will be no more than 100%. • For Applicant ABC, the ‘‘match score multiplier’’ would be 65% (50% + 15%). Æ The ‘‘match score multiplier’’ will be applied to 8 points. This is the applicant’s point allocation for this selection criteria. • For Applicant ABC, the score would be 5.2 points (65% × 8 points). C. Review and Selection Process VA and other Federal Agencies will review all grant applications received in response to this Notice according to the following steps. 1. Compliance Review VA staff will review all applications to determine compliance with the following Threshold Requirements: • The application is filed within the time period established in this Notice; • The application is complete; • The applicant is an eligible entity; • The applicant demonstrates it has 10% of the match requirement as cash on hand. The compliance review does not include reading the entire application. Applications that do not meet all compliance criteria will be determined non-compliant, and therefore will not be E:\FR\FM\15AUN1.SGM 15AUN1 54222 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 157 / Monday, August 15, 2016 / Notices considered. Applications must be received through Grants.gov, as specified in Section IV. of this Notice, on or before the application deadline published in Section IV. of this Notice. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES 2. Application Review Staff reviewers from VA, CNCS, and possibly other Federal Agencies will assess and score all compliant applications. VA will recruit, screen for conflicts of interest, and select reviewers on the basis of their expertise in Pay for Success programming and/or the Selection Criteria articulated in Section IV.A. of this Notice, as well as their expertise in assessing grant applications. The applications will be ranked in order from highest to lowest scores. 3. Risk Assessment Evaluation VA staff will evaluate the risks to the program posed by each applicant, including conducting due diligence to ensure an applicant’s ability to manage Federal funds. This evaluation is in addition to the evaluation of the applicant’s quality of its application, and results from this evaluation will inform funding decisions. If VA determines that an award will be made, special conditions that correspond to the degree of risk assessed may be applied to the award. In evaluating risks, VA may review and consider the following: • Financial stability; • Quality of management systems and ability to meet the management standards prescribed in the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR Part 200); • Applicant’s record in managing previous Federal awards, grants, or procurement awards, including: Æ Timeliness of compliance with applicable reporting requirements; Æ Accuracy of data reported; Æ Validity of performance measure data reported; Æ Conformance to the terms and conditions of previous Federal awards; and Æ If applicable, the extent to which any previously awarded amounts will be expended prior to future awards. • Information available through OMB-designated repositories of government-wide eligibility qualification or financial integrity information, such as: Æ Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS); Æ Dun and Bradstreet; and Æ ‘‘Do Not Pay.’’ Applicants may review and comment on information available through these OMB-designated repositories and VA will consider any comments made by the applicant. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:23 Aug 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 • Reports and findings from single audits performed under Subpart F— Audit Requirements, 2 CFR Part 200, OMB Circular A–133, and findings of any other available audits; • Applicant organization’s annual report; • Publicly available information, including information from the applicant organization’s Web site; • Applicant’s ability to effectively implement statutory, regulatory, or other requirements imposed on award recipients; • Applicant’s past compliance or ability to comply with Federal procurement requirements in procuring the Project Coordinator and Investor(s) in accordance with 2 CFR 200.317– 200.326. 4. Applicant Clarification Following the review process and risk assessment evaluation, VA may ask some applicants to provide clarifying information. VA staff uses clarifying information to inform funding recommendations. A request for clarification does not guarantee a grant award. If an organization does not respond by the deadline to a request for clarification, VA will remove its application from consideration. Applicants must be prepared to provide documentation of eligibility criteria and other support documentation described in the narrative, including demonstrated commitment of key experts and team. VA may conduct a site visit inspection, as appropriate. 5. Selection for Funding VA will utilize the ranked scores of applications as the primary basis for selection, ultimately made by the delegated official who may factor in the risk assessment and clarification information provided by the applicant. 6. Applicant Feedback VA will provide reviewer feedback to compliant applicants following announcement of the selected Recipient and grant award. This feedback will be based on the review of the original application and will not reflect information that may have been provided in response to requests for clarification. VI. Federal Award Administration Information A. Federal Award Notices Although subject to change, the VA VEPFS Grant Program Office expects to announce the results of this competition by September 30, 2016. Prior to executing any funding agreement, VA will contact successful applicant(s), PO 00000 Frm 00182 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 make known the amount of proposed funding, and verify the applicant’s desire to receive the funding. In advance of grant award, successful applicants will be required to complete the VA Form 26–0967, which is a ‘‘Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion.’’ Any communication between the VA VEPFS Grant Program Office and successful applicant prior to the issuance of an award notice is not authorization to begin project activities. Once VA verifies that the grant applicant is still seeking funding, VA will issue a signed and dated award notice. The award notice will be sent by U.S. Mail to the organization listed on the SF–424. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by letter, sent by U.S. Mail to the organization listed on the SF–424. The Notice of Grant Award signed by the VA VEPFS Grant Program officer is the authorizing document for grant activities. An awardee may not expend Federal funds until the start of the Project Period identified in the Notice of Grant Award. B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements The Notice of Grant Award incorporates the approved application as part of the binding commitments under the grant, as well as the requirements of applicable sections of 38 U.S.C. 3119, as well as the requirements of applicable sections of the National and Community Service Act of 1990, Public Law 101–610, The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, Public Law 113–235, Division G, Title IV, Corporation for National and Community Service, and other applicable statutes and regulations. Awards will also be subject to the General and Specific Terms and Conditions established for grants and any Special Conditions attached to the award. Grants under this program are subject to the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance, now consolidated in 2 CFR parts 200 and VA’s implementing regulation at [fill in when we hae reg cite] and CNCS’s implementing regulation at Part 2205). This final guidance supersedes and streamlines requirements from OMB Circulars A–21, A–87, and A–122 (the former Cost Principles), A–110 and A– 102 (the former Administrative Requirements), A–133 and A–50 (the former Audits and Audit Follow up), E:\FR\FM\15AUN1.SGM 15AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 157 / Monday, August 15, 2016 / Notices and A–89 (the former Federal Domestic Assistance Program Information). C. Reporting VA places great emphasis on the responsibility and accountability of Recipients. Applicants should be aware of the following: Upon execution of a grant agreement with VA, the Recipient(s) may have a liaison appointed by VA who will provide oversight and monitor services provided to Veterans. The Recipient(s) must provide to VA certain information, which will include but will not necessarily be limited to: 1. Quarterly Reports. The Recipient must submit to VA quarterly reports based on the Federal fiscal year, which include the following information (and any associated costs): • Record of time and resources expended administering the VEPFS program; • The number of Veterans served, including demographics of this population; • Types of employment assistance provided; • A full accounting of VEPFS administrative funds received from VA and used or unused during the quarter; • Results of routine monitoring and any project variations; • A comparison of accomplishments related to objectives of the award; • An explanation for any goals not met; • Analysis and explanation for any cost overruns. Reports must be submitted to VA no later than 30 calendar days after the close of each Federal fiscal quarter. 2. Additional Reports. VA may request additional reports if necessary to allow VA to fully and effectively assess project accountability. 3. Other Requirements. The Recipient shall conform, if necessary, to the requirements of 2 CFR part 200, Appendix XII—Award Term and Condition for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES VII. Federal Awarding Agency Contact For further information contact: Patrick Littlefield, Executive Director, VA Center for Innovation, Patrick.Littlefield@va.gov, (202) 256– 7176. If mailing correspondence, other than application material, please send to: VA Center for Innovation, VA Central Office, Attn: Patrick Littlefield (320), 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420. All correspondence with the VA concerning this Notice should reference the title and funding opportunity VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:23 Aug 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 number listed at the top of this solicitation. Please read the complete announcement before sending inquiries or submitting proposals. Once the Notice deadline has passed, the VA staff may not discuss this competition with applicants until the review process has been completed. VIII. Other Information A. Transparency in Grant Making VA is committed to transparency in grantmaking. This Notice includes a description of the application review and selection process. In addition, the following information for compliant applications will be published on the VA and CNCS Web site within 90 business days after all grants are awarded: • A list of all compliant applications submitted; • Executive summaries of all compliant applications as submitted by the applicants; • Data extracted from the Face Sheet of Standard Form 424 (SF–424); • The program narratives for the successful application. B. Payments of Grant Funds Funds will be dispersed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Payment Management System. A special condition will be placed on funds for Outcomes Payments that will prevent the funds from being drawn down until Employment Outcomes are achieved and verified, creating positive impact. If Employment Outcomes have been achieved per the terms of the PFS Agreement, creating positive impact, funding for Outcomes Payments may then be drawn down through the same system. Payment methods must minimize the time elapsing between the transfer of funds from the U.S. Treasury and the disbursement by the Recipient. Appendix I: Definitions Key Parties • Evaluator: An independent entity that determines the impact of the services provided, including whether the services have resulted in Employment Outcomes that meet target levels that have been agreed to in advance of the provision of the Intervention. • Investor: An person or entity that provides upfront capital to cover costs of providing services/delivering an Intervention and other associated costs before a determination has been made as to whether certain Employment Outcomes have been achieved at pre-set target levels. Investors’ upfront capital may also be used to pay for the evaluation of outcomes and the costs of the Project Coordinator’s work. • Outcomes Payor: An entity that receives a VEPFS grant and administers payment for outcomes of an intervention that meet target PO 00000 Frm 00183 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 54223 levels that have been agreed to in advance of the provision of the Intervention. • Participant: An eligible Veteran who receives services through a PFS project to which potential Outcomes Payments funded by a VEPFS grant have been dedicated. • Project Coordinator: An entity that facilitates, coordinates, and executes a PFS Agreement to improve Employment Outcomes for Veterans with a Serviceconnected Disability of PTSD. With respect to other PFS projects, Project Coordinators are sometimes referred to as intermediaries. Responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, building a financial model to guide the terms of the PFS Agreement and raising capital from Investors for the PFS Agreement that involve PFS financing. For the purposes of this Notice, we exclusively use the term Project Coordinators to refer specifically to an organization’s role in facilitating a PFS project. • Recipient: An entity that receives a grant through the VEPFS program. For the purpose of the VEPFS program, the Recipient is also the Outcomes Payor. • Secretary: Refers to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. • Service Provider: An entity that delivers an Intervention designed to achieve improved Employment Outcomes for Veterans with a Service-connected Disability of PTSD. • Veteran: Defined as provided in 38 CFR 3.1. Key Concepts • Employment Outcome: The employment or earnings of a Participant in the Intervention or control group member after the service period. The VEPFS program will measure certain outcomes, including competitive employment, skill development, achieving a sustained period of employment, wage-earnings, and achieving employment that aligns with the interests and aptitude of the job seeker. Improving Employment Outcomes means creating positive impact in terms of these outcomes, where the results for individuals that receive the Intervention are better than the results for a valid control group that did not receive the Intervention. • Grant Program Assessment: The set of activities and deliverables that assess the effectiveness of the VEPFS program in achieving the objectives articulated in Section I.C. of this Notice. (It is distinct from the evaluation of the Intervention that potentially triggers release of Outcomes Payments.) • High-Quality PFS Project: For the purpose of this Notice, a PFS Project that includes the following components: Æ A well-defined problem and associated target population. Æ A evidence-based preventive service delivery strategy that is managed, coordinated, and guided by the Service Provider, is flexible and adaptive to the target problem and population, and has Strong Evidence. Æ Well-defined, achievable potential outcome target(s) as compared to a control group that are a significant improvement on the current condition of the target population and have been agreed to by all required project partners. E:\FR\FM\15AUN1.SGM 15AUN1 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES 54224 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 157 / Monday, August 15, 2016 / Notices Æ A rigorous impact evaluation that uses an experimental or quasi-experimental design that is well-executed by an Evaluator. Æ A financial model that shows public sector value, including cost savings or efficiency as well as societal benefit, and tracks effects of the project on relevant Federal, state, and local funding sources. Æ A commitment from an entity to act as an Outcomes Payor (whose Outcomes Payments may be directed to Investors if they have covered, in part or in whole, costs associated with delivering the Intervention and constructing and managing the project). Æ If needed, a binding commitment of funds from one or more independent Investors to cover relevant operating costs of the Intervention, including administrative costs of the intermediary. Æ A PFS Agreement and any associated necessary agreements that incorporate all elements above. • Intervention: A service or technology that is provided to individuals and is intended to achieve certain results. Examples of service interventions or technological interventions to improve Veteran Employment Outcomes include, but are not limited to, support services, employment coaching, mental health treatment, vocational training, occupational therapy, community engagement, and outreach. • Living Wage: A wage on which it is possible for a wage earner or an individual and his or her family to live at least according to minimum customary standards in the geographic region where the individual resides. • Outcomes Payments: Funds that are paid to an Investor or Service Provider and that are released only for the achievement of outcomes, as compared to those of a control group, that meet target levels that have been agreed to in advance of the provision of an Intervention (i.e., if positive impact has been created by the Intervention in terms of these outcomes). When Investors have provided the upfront capital for the project, these payments generally cover repayment of the principal investment and provide a modest return on investment for any associated risks of paying for the Intervention upfront. • Pay for Success (PFS) Agreement: A multi-party agreement to deliver an innovative or evidence-based Intervention intended to improve outcomes for a targeted population signed by the entities that constitute the Project Partnership. • Project Partnership: A collaboration among entities that negotiate and execute a project to improve Employment Outcomes for Veterans with a Service-connected Disability of PTSD. For the purpose of the VEPFS grant program described in this Notice, a Project Partnership is not a distinct legal entity. The entities that may be involved in a Project Partnership include: Outcomes Payor, Project Coordinator, Evaluator, Investor, Service Provider. Æ Full Project Partnership: A Project Partnership that includes all of the following stakeholders: • Evaluator; • Investor(s) if PFS Agreement will involve PFS Financing; VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:23 Aug 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 • Outcomes Payor; and • Service Provider(s). Æ Partial Project Partnership: A Project Partnership that includes the Outcomes Payor and at least one—but not all—of the following stakeholders: • Evaluator; • Investor(s) if PFS Agreement will involve PFS Financing; and • Service Provider(s). • Service-connected Disability: A disability that is ‘‘service-connected’’ as defined in 38 CFR 3.1. • Strong Evidence: Evidence from previous studies, the designs of which support causal conclusions (i.e., studies with high internal validity), which include enough of the range of Participants and settings to support scaling up to the state, regional, or national level (i.e., studies with high external validity). The following are examples of Strong Evidence: (1) More than one well-designed and wellimplemented experimental study or welldesigned and well-implemented quasiexperimental study that supports the effectiveness of the practice, strategy, or program; or (2) one large, well-designed and well-implemented randomized controlled, multisite trial that supports the effectiveness of the practice, strategy, or program. Appendix II: Background on the Focus of this VEPFS Competition Given the manpower buildup for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the nearing completion of the U.S. combat mission in those countries, the U.S. military implemented a troop drawdown that is planned to continue over the next few years. This has resulted in a multitude of Servicemembers transitioning out of the military and into the civilian workforce. Transitioning back into civilian life and finding employment can be challenging for many Veterans. Veterans with Serviceconnected Disabilities, especially mental health conditions, may experience an even more difficult transition process and encounter significant employment barriers compared to other Veterans. PTSD, a mental health condition that can develop after exposure to a traumatic event such as warfare, is particularly pervasive among Veterans. A recent report in JAMA provided a detailed assessment of the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS) project and found PTSD to be 15 times higher in soldiers compared to civilians.1 Up to 20% of Veterans from recent tours of duty have experienced PTSD.2 As of 2015, more than 400,000 Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and Operation New Dawn (OND) Veterans were seen for potential PTSD at VA facilities following their return from overseas deployments.3 1 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/ PMC4075436/. 2 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/08/us/ 08vets.html?_r=0. 3 http://www.publichealth.va.gov/docs/ epidemiology/ptsd-report-fy2015-qtr2.pdf. PO 00000 Frm 00184 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Veterans with PTSD are likely to face challenges in the transition process and in particular with obtaining and maintaining suitable, stable employment. Symptoms of PTSD may include lack of interest in engaging in tasks and activities, anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease, feelings of detachment from others, sleeplessness, and trouble with concentration. This vast array of symptoms combined with other employment barriers such as limited nonmilitary vocational skills and work experience, lack of resources to assist with preparation for finding a civilian job, and a challenging job market can prevent Veterans with PTSD from successfully achieving their civilian vocational goals. PTSD is listed in the recognized authority on mental illness diagnoses, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM–V). The DSM–V is utilized by VA in conducting Serviceconnected Disability evaluations for VA compensation purposes. A study conducted by VA in 2011 confirmed that a negative relationship exists between mental health conditions, mental health issues, and employment.4 The unemployment rates for people with mental illness are high. People with severe mental illness have exceptionally higher rates of unemployment, between 60–100%. People with long-term psychiatric disabilities are less likely to be employed than those with long-term physical disabilities. A person’s self-esteem may also be compromised during unemployment, leading to anxiety and selfdoubt. The study also asserts that feelings of ‘‘helplessness’’ arise when a person believes he/she has little influence over important events in his/her life, such as securing meaningful work. In VA’s experience the overwhelming majority of Veterans using the VA systems want to be employed, or at least be engaged in meaningful activity. However, their disability may create a barrier to employment. Mental health providers view vocational rehabilitation and employment services as an integral part of a treatment plan for Veterans with PTSD or other mental health challenges. They report that Veterans have better outcomes while actively pursuing an employment goal.5 6 Many people with mental health conditions view employment as central to their lives, yet fewer than 15% have jobs.7 Thus, participation in a program that focuses on vocational needs should lead to improved functional and Employment Outcomes for Veterans with a Serviceconnected Disability of PTSD. 4 http://www.nchv.org/images/uploads/ Employment_Status_of_Patients_in_the_VA_ Health_System-Implications_for_Mental_Health_ Services_WEB.pdf. 5 http://www.nchv.org/images/uploads/ Posttraumatic_stress_disorder_and_employment_ in_veterans_participating_WEB.pdf. 6 http://www.rehab.research.va.gov/jour/07/44/6/ pdf/resnick.pdf. 7 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ 15616477. E:\FR\FM\15AUN1.SGM 15AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 157 / Monday, August 15, 2016 / Notices 54225 0> c c "(3 co u.. -~ C/) C/) Q) (.) (.) :::J (/) I.... .2 >. co a_ ..r: ...... "3 t5 co I.... ...... c 0 (.) C/) C/) Q) (.) (.) :::J (/) I.... .2 >. co a_ co 0 Q) n. E co X w c Q) n. n. <( VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:23 Aug 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 PO 00000 Frm 00185 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\15AUN1.SGM 15AUN1 EN15AU16.020</GPH> sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES -~ "0 54226 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 157 / Monday, August 15, 2016 / Notices Signing Authority The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or designee, approved this document and authorized the undersigned to sign and submit the document to the Office of the Federal Register for publication electronically as an official document of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Gina S. Farrisee, Deputy Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans Affairs, approved this document for publication. [FR Doc. 2016–19304 Filed 8–12–16; 8:45 am] nature of the information collection and its expected cost and burden; it includes the actual data collection instrument. DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before September 14, 2016. ADDRESSES: Submit written comments on the collection of information through www.Regulations.gov, or to Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Attn: VA Desk Officer; 725 17th St. NW., Washington, DC 20503 or sent through electronic mail to oira_submission@ omb.eop.gov. Please refer to ‘‘OMB Control No. 2900–NEW’’ in any correspondence. BILLING CODE 8320–01–P FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dated: August 5, 2016. Jeffrey Martin, Office Program Manager, Office of Regulation Policy & Management, Office of the Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS [OMB Control No. 2900–NEW] Agency Information Collection; Status of Loan Account—Foreclosure or Other Liquidation, VA Form 26–0971; Activity Under OMB Review Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501–3521), this notice announces that the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), Department of Veterans Affairs, will submit the collection of information abstracted below to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and comment. The PRA submission describes the SUMMARY: Cynthia Harvey-Pryor, Enterprise Records Service (005R1B), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420, (202) 461–5870 or email cynthia.harveypryor@va.gov. Please refer to ‘‘OMB Control No. 2900–NEW.’’ SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Title: Status of Loan Account— Foreclosure or other Liquidation VA Form. OMB Control Number: 2900–NEW. Type of Review: Regular. Abstract: Under 38 CFR 36, the holder of a delinquent vendee account is legally entitled to repurchase of the loan by VA when the loan has been continuously in default for 3 months and the amount of the delinquency equals or exceeds the sum of 2 monthly installments. When requesting the repurchase of a loan, the holder uses VA Form 26–0971. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to a collection of sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Committee name information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. The Federal Register Notice with a 60day comment period soliciting comments on this collection of information was published at 81 FR 15149 on March 21, 2016, Affected Public: Individuals or households. Estimated Annual Burden: 10 hours. Estimated Average Burden per Respondent: 30 minutes. Frequency of Response: One-time. Estimated Number of Respondents: 20. By direction of the Secretary. Cynthia Harvey-Pryor, Program Analyst, Office of Privacy and Records Management, Department of Veterans Affairs. [FR Doc. 2016–19300 Filed 8–12–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8320–01–P DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS Advisory Committee Charter Renewals Department of Veterans Affairs. Notice of Advisory Committee Charter Renewals AGENCY: ACTION: In accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee ACT (FACA), 5 U.S.C. App. 2, and after consultation with the General Services Administration, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has renewed the charters for the following statutorily authorized Federal advisory committees for a two-year period, beginning the on the dates listed below: SUMMARY: Committee description Charter renewed on Advisory Committee on Prosthetics Authorized by 38 U.S.C. § 543. Provides advice on the administration and Special-Disabilities Programs. of VA prosthetics programs and the rehabilitation research, development, and evaluation of prosthetics technology; assesses VA programs that serve Veterans with spinal cord injury, blindness or vision impairment, loss of or loss of use of extremities, deafness or hearing impairment, or other serious incapacities. Advisory Committee on Homeless Authorized by 38 U.S.C. § 2066. Provides advice to the Secretary on Veterans. benefits and services provided to homeless Veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Geriatrics and Gerontology Advi- Authorized by 38 U.S.C. § 7312. Provides advice to the Secretary sory Committee. and the Under Secretary for Health on matters pertaining to geriatrics by assessing the capability of VA health care facilities to meet all the needs of older Veterans, and by evaluating VA facilities designated as Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Centers. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeffrey Moragne, Committee Management Office, Department of Veterans Affairs, Advisory Committee VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:23 Aug 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 Management Office (00AC), 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420; telephone (202) 266–4660; or email at Jeffrey.Moragne@va.gov. To PO 00000 Frm 00186 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 May 18, 2016. May 19, 2016. June 30, 2016. view a copy of a VA Federal advisory committee charter, visit http:// www.va.gov/advisory. E:\FR\FM\15AUN1.SGM 15AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 157 (Monday, August 15, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 54216-54226]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-19304]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS


Veterans Employment Pay for Success Grant Program (``VEPFS 
program'')

AGENCY: VA Center for Innovation, Vocational Rehabilitation and 
Employment, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

ACTION: Notice of funding availability.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is establishing a 
grant program (Veterans Employment Pay for Success (VEPFS)) under the 
authority of 38 U.S.C. 3119 to award grants to eligible entities to 
fund projects that are successful in accomplishing employment 
rehabilitation for Veterans with a Service-connected Disability. VA 
will award grants on the basis of an eligible entity's proposed use of 
a Pay for Success (PFS) strategy to achieve goals. This Notice includes 
the general process for awarding the grant, criteria and parameters for 
evaluating grant applications, priorities related to the award of a 
grant, and general requirements and guidance for administering a VEPFS 
grant program.

DATES: Applications for a grant under the VEPFS program must be 
submitted to Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time September 14, 2016. 
Successful applicants will be notified by September 30, 2016. The award 
made through the VEPFS program will cover a period of 60 months.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patrick Littlefield, Executive 
Director, VA Center for Innovation. Patrick.Littlefield@va.gov, (202) 
256-7176.
    If mailing correspondence, other than application material, please 
send to: VA Center for Innovation, VA Central Office, Attn: Patrick 
Littlefield (320), 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420.
    Disclosure: Publication of this Notice does not obligate VA to 
award any grant or to obligate the entire amount of funding available.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Program Description

A. Background

    This competition of the VEPFS program is a collaborative effort by 
the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Corporation for 
National and Community Service (CNCS) to test the Pay for Success (PFS) 
model as a way to improve suitable Employment Outcomes for Veterans 
with a Service-connected Disability of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 
(PTSD). Improving suitable Employment Outcomes, as noted in Appendix I, 
means creating positive impact in terms of these outcomes, where the 
results for individuals that receive the Intervention are better than 
the results for a valid comparison group that did not receive the 
Intervention.
    Throughout this document, the nomenclature of outcomes, consistent 
with the Pay for Success field's use of the term, is inextricably 
linked to impact in this Notice. This competition seeks to create a 
meaningful difference in Veterans' lives that would not otherwise 
exist.
    This goal is consistent with the mission of VA, which is to fulfill 
President Lincoln's promise, ``To care for him who shall have borne the 
battle, and for his widow, and his orphan'' by serving and honoring the 
men and women who are America's Veterans. VA's Office of Economic 
Opportunity within the Veterans Benefits Administration has a further 
defined mission to ``Help Veterans attain personal and economic 
success'' through a variety of benefits, services, and activities 
including promoting employment opportunities for Veterans. The targeted 
veterans for this Pay for Success (PFS) pilot will need to have 
Service-connected Disability of PTSD.

[[Page 54217]]

    While VA and other government organizations, such as the Department 
of Labor, have programs that assist Veterans in seeking employment, 
there is not an employment program that focuses specifically and solely 
on Veterans with PTSD. VA is interested in enhancing vocational 
services with the intent of improving overall Employment Outcomes for 
this target group of Veterans. This PFS competition will target the 
effective delivery of employment Interventions to Veterans with a 
Service-connected Disability of PTSD. Employment Outcomes will be 
related to success in obtaining and sustaining suitable employment. The 
overarching goal of this competition is to generate positive impact for 
Veterans as they seek to return to competitive employment. Please see 
Appendix II for more information on the background of the focus of this 
competition.
Background on the Social Innovation Fund as Partner to VA
    The Social Innovation Fund (SIF) at the Corporation for National 
and Community Service (CNCS) has chosen to partner with VA on this 
program. The mission of CNCS is to improve lives, strengthen 
communities, and foster civic engagement through service and 
volunteering. Through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and the Volunteer 
Generation Fund, CNCS has helped to engage millions of citizens in 
meeting community and national challenges through service and volunteer 
action. Through the SIF, CNCS has augmented its traditional activities 
with an enhanced focus on identifying and growing innovative, evidence-
based approaches to our nation's challenges.
    The purpose of the SIF is to grow the impact of innovative 
community-based solutions that have compelling evidence of improving 
the lives of people in low-income communities throughout the United 
States. The SIF directs resources toward increasing the evidence-base, 
capacity, and scale of the organizations it funds in order to improve 
the lives of people served by those organizations. The SIF also 
generates broader impact by leveraging the grant program in various 
ways to improve how philanthropies, Federal government departments and 
agencies, state and local government, and community-based organizations 
deploy funds to address social challenges. Additionally, it enhances 
the ability of the nonprofit sector to support the growth of 
innovative, high-impact organizations.
    Ultimately, SIF PFS efforts are intended to:
     Increase knowledge in the social sector about which 
capacity building and PFS Project-structuring practices increase the 
likelihood of successful implementation of PFS projects as well as 
other evidence-based approaches and related social financing 
mechanisms.
     Accelerate the development of the field to make it easier 
to adopt outcomes-focused funding models.
     Attract capital to finance effective solutions to 
challenges facing low-income communities nationwide and to high-
performing organizations that demonstrate the ability to strengthen, 
grow, and sustain effective solutions for challenges facing low-income 
communities.
    CNCS's partnership on this program provides expertise on PFS to 
pair with VA's expertise on Veterans' issues.

B. Funding Purpose

    The VEPFS program will fund a demonstration project 
(``demonstration'') to support and assess the use of Pay for Success 
(PFS) to improve Employment Outcomes for Veterans with a Service-
connected Disability of PTSD. The program will specifically target 
Veterans with a Service-connected Disability of PTSD in low-income 
communities or in geographical areas that have the highest demonstrated 
employment need. Improved Employment Outcomes will be based on whether:
     Employment is consistent with a Veteran's interests, 
aptitudes, skills, and abilities;
     Employment improves (or does not aggravate/worsen) the 
Veteran's disabling conditions;
     Employment requires reasonably developed skills;
     Employment provides the Veteran with a Living Wage 
(preferred) or improves the Veteran's earnings annually; and
     Competitive employment is sustained.
    PFS is a strategy of procuring positive outcomes that manifest in 
positive impact by paying for an Intervention only once it produces 
those outcomes. PFS projects typically involve two elements: a PFS 
Agreement and PFS financing.
    1. A PFS Agreement provides for payment when an Intervention 
achieves positive outcomes at pre-set target levels, as compared to the 
outcomes achieved by a counterfactual group. (Pre-set means set in, and 
by the signatories to, the PFS Agreement before the Intervention is 
deployed.) Achievement of outcomes is typically verified by an 
Evaluator using a robust methodology agreed upon by all parties to a 
transaction to ascertain impact.
    2. PFS financing, sometimes referred to as social impact bonds, is 
the provision of mission-driven capital that covers the upfront costs 
of delivering the Intervention and potentially other project costs. 
Given that verifying the outcomes that trigger Outcomes Payments may 
take several years, Service Providers often will not have the resources 
to self-finance the costs of implementing a preventive Intervention 
during an agreement period. PFS financing covers these costs. Such 
third-party investment is typically at-risk and return of capital (and 
any potential return on investment) via the Outcomes Payor is 
dependent, in whole or in part, on the achievement of outcomes 
identified in the PFS Agreement.
    Projects involving either solely a PFS Agreement, or both a PFS 
Agreement and PFS Financing, are considered viable projects to 
ultimately receive Outcomes Payments funded by the VEPFS program. 
Please see the diagram in Appendix II for the typical, though not 
mandatory, steps in a PFS project that includes PFS financing.
    Note that the PFS Agreement must be in accordance with standards 
relating to evaluation methodology, metrics for Employment Outcomes, 
and investor rate of return to be issued by VA in the terms and 
conditions of the grant agreement.
    For definitions related to the VEPFS program, please see Appendix 
I.
    The VEPFS program will fund Outcomes Payments, which by definition 
in Appendix I are tied to impact, for a High-Quality PFS Project 
designed to improve Employment Outcomes among Veterans with a Service-
connected Disability of PTSD. Through this competition, VA will select 
an entity to act as an Outcomes Payor, administering the Federal funds 
and matching non-Federal funds to pay for improved Employment Outcomes.
    The key objectives of this demonstration are as follows:
    1. Pilot test the PFS model operated by a project coordinator to 
learn whether the PFS approach is feasible to fund a Veterans' 
employment initiative.
    2. Assist Veterans with a Service-connected Disability of PTSD in 
securing employment and/or increasing earnings.
    3. Add evidence to the knowledge base about effective and 
integrated Interventions to support Veterans' employment.
    4. Conduct research to identify lessons learned and best practices 
on the feasibility of testing effective Veterans' employment 
Interventions.

[[Page 54218]]

C. Approach

    1. Applicants must present either a Partial Project Partnership or 
Full Project Partnership for a High-Quality PFS Project at the time of 
application.
    2. The Grant Recipient (referred to as ``Recipient'' in the 
remainder of the document) will serve as an Outcomes Payor and thus a 
party to a PFS Agreement that is designed to improve Employment 
Outcomes among Veterans with a Service-connected Disability of PTSD.
    3. The Recipient is responsible for securing non-Federal funds in 
accordance with the 1:1 cash match requirement for the entire grant 
award.
    4. Within six months of the grant award, the Recipient must submit 
to VA a proposed high-level project plan that outlines key milestones 
and associated target deadlines for the duration of the project period.
    5. The Project Partnership must produce a High-Quality PFS Project 
for improving Employment Outcomes among Veterans with a Service-
connected Disability of PTSD.
    6. The Recipient will capture and share with the public key 
learnings from the PFS activity that this grant supports. The Recipient 
will work with VA and CNCS in order to disseminate information related 
to the Recipient's PFS activity supported by this grant. This 
requirement involves, but is not limited to, the Recipient providing to 
VA and making publicly available all major documents and tools 
developed for the High-Quality PFS Project, including a PFS Agreement, 
taking into consideration the confidentiality needs of Participants as 
well as local, state, and Federal laws.
    7. VA will ensure a Grant Program Assessment is conducted. The 
Grant Program Assessment will ascertain the level of progress made 
towards achieving the objectives articulated in Section I.B. of this 
Notice throughout, and at the conclusion of, the period of performance.
    8. If the Evaluator certifies that the impact of the Intervention, 
as determined through rigorous evaluation, has met the requirements of 
the PFS Agreement, Outcomes Payments will be disbursed by the Recipient 
to the Service Provider.

D. Key Programmatic Requirements

    Any Project Coordinator and Investor(s) must be procured in 
accordance with the requirements in 2 CFR 200.317-200.326. 
Alternatively, nonprofit community organizations may continue to comply 
with the Procurement Standards in OMB Circular A-110 for two additional 
fiscal years, beginning after December 26, 2014, meaning through Fiscal 
Year 2017. Such election must be specified in the nonprofit 
organization's documented policies and procedures. In the case that 
applicants have not yet procured a Project Coordinator and Investor(s) 
but plan to, applicants must present a detailed plan for forming a Full 
Project Partnership at the time of application that follows grant 
procurement requirements in 2 CFR 200.317-200.326 for any Federal funds 
utilized.
    The Recipient must submit to VA a proposed high-level project plan 
that outlines key milestones and associated target deadlines for the 
duration of the project period, reflecting the following activities and 
the duration for each:
     Formation of a Full Project Partnership and development 
and execution of the PFS Agreement;
     Delivery of the Intervention;
     Employment Outcomes evaluation to ascertain impact; and
     Outcomes Payor review of the evaluation and potential 
release of Outcomes Payments. (Note that Employment Outcomes may be 
evaluated and Outcomes Payments released at other times for positive 
impact during this project period if the terms of the PFS Agreement 
call for multiple payment points.)
    The Grant Program Assessment activities include, but are not 
limited to:
     Providing interviews, data and documentation of inputs, 
outputs, and Employment Outcomes to support the Grant Program 
Assessment;
     Requiring participation from the Recipient in the Grant 
Program Assessment; and
     Conducting additional activities to augment the overall 
knowledge sharing agenda.

E. Program Authority

    Funding applied for under this Notice is provided by VA and CNCS.
    VA: Funding from VA is authorized by 38 U.S.C. 3119. Section 3119 
authorizes VA to make grants to public or nonprofit agencies for the 
development of projects ``designed to increase the resources and 
potential for accomplishing the rehabilitation of disabled 
veterans[,]'' which include Veterans with Service-connected 
Disablilities.
    CNCS: Section 198K of the National and Community Service Act of 
1990, Public Law 101-610, as amended, (42 U.S.C. 12653k) established 
CNCS's Social Innovation Fund. The Consolidated and Further Continuing 
Appropriations Act, 2015, Public Law 113-235, Division G, Title IV, 
Corporation for National and Community Service, and The Consolidated 
and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2016, Public Law 114-92, 
Division H, Title IV, Corporation for National and Community Service, 
provided that up to 20% of funds made available for the Social 
Innovation Fund may be provided to PFS.
    VA and CNCS entered into an interagency agreement, which designates 
VA as the agency responsible for implementing this PFS project.

II. Federal Award Information

A. Estimated Available Funds and Award Amount

    Up to $3.0 million in Federal funding is available for the award. 
VA intends to award one grant of $3.0 million through this competition.

B. Project Period

    The anticipated start date of grant funding under this announcement 
is September 30, 2016. The grant award covers a five-year project 
period. Applications should represent the full five-year period.

C. Funding Instrument

    The funding mechanism for the VEPFS program is a grant.

III. Eligibility Information

A. Eligible Applicants

    This competition is limited to public or nonprofit agencies, 
including nonprofit institutions of higher learning. Eligible nonprofit 
organizations are defined in 2 CFR 200.70. Eligible applicants must 
propose to serve Veterans with a Service-Connected Disability of PTSD 
in low-income communities or in geographical areas that have the 
highest need in the issue areas. ``Highest need '' means greater than 
the national average, and ``issue areas'' means (1) reductions in 
poverty or increases in economic opportunity for economically 
disadvantaged individuals or (2) health, including health services and 
health eductation.

B. Cost Sharing or Matching

    The Recipient must provide non-Federal cash funds for Outcomes 
Payments that match by 100% the Federal funds received through this 
award. An applicant may meet the match requirement with a combination 
of its own funds and those of other non-Federal sources. At the time of 
application, applicants must present evidence that they have already 
secured 10% of their match requirement in non-Federal cash by 
submitting match

[[Page 54219]]

verification documents, as explained in Section IV.D. (Other Submission 
Requirements) of this Notice.

C. Other

    Entities that have been convicted of a Federal crime may not 
receive assistance described in this Notice.
    Pursuant to the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, an organization 
described in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 
U.S.C. 501(c)(4), that engages in lobbying activities is not eligible 
to apply.

IV. Application and Submission Information

A. Address To Request Application Package

    Applicants may download the application package from Grants.gov. 
Questions regarding the application process should be referred to the 
Program Official: Patrick Littlefield (Executive Director, VA Center 
for Innovation), Patrick.Littlefield@va.gov, (202) 256-7176 (This is 
not a toll-free number).
    Hearing- or speech-impaired individuals may access this number 
through TTY by calling the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-829-4833 
(this is a toll-free number).

B. Content and Form of Application

1. Application Content
    The VEPFS Grant Program application package provided at Grants.gov 
(Funding Opportunity Number: VA-VACI-2016-01) contains electronic 
versions of the application forms that are required. Additional 
attachments to satisfy the required application information may be 
provided. The application must provide a well-designed plan with a 
clear and compelling justification for receiving the requested funds. 
Reviewers will assess the application on the basis of the program 
goals, partnership, work plan and budget, expertise and capacity, and 
match as noted in Section IV. of this Notice. All VEPFS grant 
applications must consist of the following:
    Completed applications must have the following components:
     Standard Forms (SF) 424, 424A and 424B: The SF-424, SF-
424A, and SF-424B require general information about the applicant and 
proposed project.
     Narrative
    [cir] Executive Summary: An outline of key information and a brief 
description of the applicant's proposal. The Executive Summaries of all 
compliant applications will be published on the VA Web site. The 
outline of key information should include, in outline format, the 
following:

    [cir] Name of Proposal
    [cir] Name of Intervention
    [cir] Type of Partnership Presented at Time of Application [Full/
Partial Project Partnership]
    [cir] Amount of Federal Funds Sought (up to $3.0 million)
    [cir] Match
    [ssquf] Amount of Funding Secured as Cash on Hand (at least 10% of 
the Non-Federal Match Requirement)
    [ssquf] Amount of Funding for which Applicant Has Received 
Commitments
    [ssquf] Amount of Funding for which Applicant Has Received Letters 
of Interest
    [ssquf] Amount of Funding for which Applicant Has Plan to Secure

    [cir] Project Description
    [cir] Project Partnership
    [cir] Work Plan and Budget
    [cir] Expertise and Capacity
    [cir] Match
    [cir] Match Verification Documentation
    See Section V.A. of this Notice for details on information that 
should be included in the Project Description, Project Partnership, 
Work Plan and Budget, Expertise and Capacity, Match, and Match 
Verification Documentation components.
    Applications may not exceed 50 double-spaced pages as the pages 
print out from Grants.gov. The Budget section is not included in the 
page limit. Please note that reviewers will be instructed to stop 
reading the Narrative section of the grant application after page 50. 
Reviewers will not consider material past the page limit.
    Applications must include a Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering 
System (DUNS) number and an Employer Identification Number. The DUNS 
number does not replace an Employer Identification Number. You can 
obtain a DUNS number at no cost by calling the DUNS number request line 
at (866) 705-5711 or by applying online at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform. The Web site indicates a 48-hour email turnaround time on 
requests for DUNS numbers; however, VA recommends registering at least 
30 days before the application due date.
    After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants must also register with 
the System for Award Management (SAM) and maintain an active SAM 
registration until the application process is complete and, if a grant 
is awarded, throughout the life of the award. SAM registration must be 
renewed annually. VA suggests finalizing a new registration or renewing 
an existing one at least two weeks before the application deadline to 
allow time to resolve any issues that may arise. Applicants must use 
their SAM-registered legal name and address on all grant applications 
to VA.
    VA will not make an award to an applicant until the applicant has 
complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements and, if the 
applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time VA 
is ready to make an award, VA will determine the applicant is not 
qualified to receive a Federal award and will use this determination as 
a basis for making the award to another applicant. See the SAM Quick 
Guide for Grantees at https://www.sam.gov/sam/transcript/SAM_Quick_Guide_Grants_Registrations-v1.6.pdf.
2. Submission Dates and Times
    Applications are due September 14, 2016 by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. 
Submissions received after this application deadline will be considered 
late and will not be reviewed or considered. Submissions via email, 
mail, or fax will not be accepted. VA reserves the right to extend the 
submission deadline and any notice of such extended deadline will be 
posted on the VA Web site.
    It is the responsibility of grant applicants to ensure a full and 
complete application is submitted via Grants.gov. Applicants are 
encouraged to periodically review the ``Version History Tab'' of the 
funding opportunity announcement in Grants.gov to identify if any 
modifications have been made to the funding announcement and/or 
opportunity package. Upon initial download of the funding opportunity 
package, applicants will be asked to provide an email address to be 
notified of any changes to the opportunity package before the closing 
date. Providing your email address will allow Grants.gov to send you an 
email message in the event this funding opportunity package is changed 
and/or republished on Grants.gov prior to the posted closing date. Any 
technical issues during any document download or submission processes 
should be directed to Grants.gov for assistance.
    Once the application is submitted in Grants.gov, the applicant will 
see a confirmation screen explaining that your submission is being 
processed and a link will be provided to track the application. Retain 
the Grants.gov application tracking number received in the application 
submission confirmation screen. This tracking number is also emailed to 
the applicant upon submission.

[[Page 54220]]

    VA may consider an application after the deadline, but only if the 
applicant submits an email explaining the extenuating technical 
circumstance that caused the delay. VA will determine the admissibility 
of late applications on a case-by-case basis. However, please be 
advised that VA will not consider an advance request to submit a late 
application. Applicants must send the email to Patrick Littlefield 
within the 24 hours immediately after the deadline. Communication with 
VA staff, including a program officer, is not a substitute for sending 
a letter to Patrick.Littlefield@va.gov. VA will determine whether or 
not to accept a late application on a case-by-case basis.

C. Intergovernmental Review

    The applications will be reviewed solely by subject matter experts 
and authorized personnel from VA and other Federal agencies. The 
program is not subject to Executive Order 12372, ``Intergovernmental 
Review of Federal Programs.''

D. Funding Restrictions

    The Recipient's request for funding must be consistent with the 
limitations and uses of grant funds set forth in this Notice. Pursuant 
to 2 CFR 200.414, for indirect costs, the Recipient may utilize a 10% 
de minimis rate of modified total direct costs, utilize a rate already 
negotiated with the Federal Government, negotiate an indirect cost rate 
for the first time, or charge costs directly following 2 CFR 200.413. 
The indirect rate utilized must be applied consistently across all 
Federal awards.
    The Recipient may draw down funds for Outcomes Payments only after 
the Employment Outcomes have been achieved and verified according to 
pre-set requirements.
    In the event that Employment Outcomes are achieved at or above pre-
set target levels per the terms of the PFS Agreement and all funds for 
Outcomes Payments are claimed: The Recipient will release Outcomes 
Payments, funded by this grant and by non-Federal sources through the 
match requirement, per the terms of the PFS Agreement related to a 
High-Quality PFS Project for improving Employment Outcomes among 
Veterans with a Service-connected Disability of PTSD.
    In the event Employment Outcomes are not achieved at or above pre-
set target levels per the terms of the PFS Agreement and not all funds 
for Outcomes Payments are claimed: The Recipient shall not draw down VA 
or CNCS funds for Outcomes Payments as opposed to funds for indirect 
costs. Instead, CNCS funds for Outcomes Payments will return to CNCS 
and VA funds for Outcomes Payments will return to the U.S. Treasury via 
VA.

E. Other Submission Requirements

1. Electronic Submission via Grants.gov
    Applications for the VEPFS program must be submitted electronically 
through Grants.Gov.
2. Submission of Additional Documents
    Match Verification Documentation: At the time of application, 
applicants must demonstrate through a letter or other form of 
documentation that they have cash-on-hand that meets 10% of their match 
requirement. Applicants may demonstrate cash-on-hand by a statement 
from the Chief Financial Officer or other officer that the organization 
has established a reserve of otherwise uncommitted funds for the 
purposes of fulfilling this match requirement. A bank statement or 
report of assets is not sufficient without the accompanying statement 
that the funds are uncommitted. Applicants may also demonstrate 
commitments by a dated and signed letter from each donor/foundation, 
indicating the amount of funds committed for the specific use of 
supporting this grant. Such a letter must contain a firm commitment to 
provide the applicant the stated funding upon award of a grant by VA.
    To demonstrate cash on hand, applicants may demonstrate cash-on-
hand by a statement from the Chief Financial Officer or other officer 
that the organization has established a reserve of otherwise 
uncommitted funds for the purposes of fulfilling this match 
requirement. A bank statement or report of assets is not sufficient 
without the accompanying statement that the funds are uncommitted. 
Applicants may also demonstrate commitments by a dated and signed 
letter from each donor/foundation, indicating the amount of funds 
committed for the specific use of supporting this grant. Such a letter 
must contain a firm commitment to provide the applicant the stated 
funding upon award of a grant by VA.
    Documentation must be uploaded as part of the grant application 
package to Grants.gov. Applicants should include the following 
information:
     The legal applicant name and applicant's point of contact 
information;
     The application ID number;
     A list of documents attached to the email;
     Individually saved files that are clearly labeled; and
     Files that include the legal applicant name and 
application ID number within the body of the document.
    Applications must be submitted as a complete package, including the 
additional documents. Materials arriving separately will not be 
considered and may result in the application being rejected. Match 
verification, as well as all other documentation must be received by 
the application deadline. Submission of evidence of match by the 
application deadline is a compliance criterion.
    Do not submit supplementary material such as videos, brochures, 
letters of support, or any items not requested in this Notice. VA will 
not review or return them.

V. Application Review Information

A. Selection Criteria

    Reviewers will assess the degree to which the applicant clearly and 
convincingly meets the following criteria and score them according to 
the points assigned to each criteria (out of 100 total points 
possible):
1. Project Description (up to 30 points)
     Identifies and describes an employment Intervention for 
Veterans with a Service-connected Disability of PTSD (3 points);
     Identifies and describes the methodology for delivering an 
employment Intervention to Veterans with a Service-Connected Disability 
of PTSD through a PFS Agreement that is supported by Strong Evidence, 
describing the Strong Evidence of the Intervention and describing the 
Employment Outcomes to be evaluated. Please include information on the 
measurable Employment Outcomes the applicant seeks to improve by 
replicating or expanding a proven initiative or supporting a new 
evidence-based initiative (5 points);
     Identifies where geographically the Intervention to be 
delivered through the PFS Agreement will be deployed and explains in 
detail how that Intervention will serve Veterans with a Service-
connected Disability of PTSD in (1) low-income communities or (2) 
geographical areas that have the highest need for the issue areas (7 
points);
     Identifies and justifies the number and population of 
Veterans expected to be served by the Intervention to be delivered 
through the PFS Agreement, and why the proposed Intervention is well-
suited to the target population and context (2.5 points);
     Defines the method for determining an appropriate Veteran 
control group for the evaluation of Employment Outcomes (2.5 points);
     Describes any employer engagement, development, and 
training strategies (2.5 points);

[[Page 54221]]

     Describes the integration and role of mental health care 
professionals in the project (2.5 points);
     Describes how the PFS project will promote the Employment 
Outcome of a Living Wage as a result of the Intervention as compared to 
the control group (2 points);
     Describes how the PFS project will promote the Employment 
Outcome of an appreciable increase in annual earnings for Veterans as a 
result of the Intervention as compared to the control group (1 point);
     Describes how the applicant will sustain the replicated or 
expanded initiative after the conclusion of the grant period (2 
points).
2. Project Partnership (up to 25 points)
     For applicants presenting a Full Project Partnership at 
the time of application (25 points). Provides the name, qualifications, 
and project responsibilities of each of the following partner entities 
committed to the project:
    [cir] Project Coordinator
    [cir] Evaluator
    [cir] Investor(s) if the PFS Agreement will involve PFS financing
    [cir] Service Provider(s). Please include as part of qualifications 
any experience working with Veterans.
     For applicants presenting a Partial Project Partnership at 
the time of application (15 points).
    [cir] Provides the name, qualifications, and project 
responsibilities of any of the following partner entities committed to 
the project (7 points):

 Project Coordinator
 Evaluator
 Investor(s) if the PFS Agreement will involve PFS financing
 Service Provider(s). Please include as part of the 
qualifications any experience working with Veterans.
    [cir] Describes a plan that has a high likelihood of success to 
transparently form a Full Project Partnership (5 points).
    [cir] Provides evidence of experience in developing partnerships 
for social innovation generally and/or PFS specifically (3 points).
3. Work Plan and Budget (up to 20 points)
     Proposes a high-level work plan that provides specific, 
realistic, and actionable timelines tied to completion of the following 
tasks within the project period and includes staff roles assigned to 
complete the following tasks, noting whether such staff members are 
already hired (10 points):
    [cir] Secure any remaining non-Federal funds for the match 
requirement;
    [cir] Form a Full Project Partnership if it has not been formed 
yet;
    [cir] Execute a PFS Agreement for a High-Quality PFS Project that 
evaluates impacts within the period of performance and potential 
release of Outcomes Payments;
    [cir] Define reporting structure, data collection methods, Evaluate 
Outcomes and performance metrics, and evaluation approach.
     Provides a budget narrative that (10 points):
    [cir] Breaks down total funds by:

 Amount of total funding for indirect costs (in accordance with 
2 CFR 200.414)
 Amount of total funding for Outcomes Payments

    [cir] Breaks down total funds by:

 The amount of the Federal share
 The amount of the non-Federal share (i.e., matching funds)

    [cir] Justifies the amount budgeted for Outcomes Payments in terms 
of an appropriate rate of return for Investors and number of Veterans 
to be served.
4. Expertise and Capacity (up to 17 points)
     Provides evidence of past experience among its in-house 
staff (and/or Board of Directors if applicant is a 501c(3) nonprofit 
organization) working on:
    [cir] Pay for Success or other social finance strategies (6 
points);
    [cir] Issues specific to Veterans (1 point);
    [cir] Workforce supports for individuals facing mental health 
challenges, including PTSD (1 point);
    [cir] Demonstrated knowledge of sound vocational rehabilitation 
principles (1 point);
    [cir] Knowledge of and adherence to Service-Connected Disability 
related privacy concerns (1 point);
    [cir] Experience with employment focused and/or mental health 
service providers (1 point);
    [cir] Data on the measurable Employment Outcomes the applicant has 
improved (1 point).
     Identifies and explains sufficient capacity (i.e., 
knowledge, skill, and time) among existing in-house staff or those to 
be hired, to carry out its responsibilities if selected as a Recipient 
(3 points).
     Describes how the applicant uses data to analyze and 
improve its initiatives (2 points).
5. Match (up to 8 points)
     Identifies and provides evidence for the percentage of its 
match requirement that meets each of the four categories:
    1. Funds that the applicant has secured (i.e., made available if 
itself providing the funds or already received from others) as cash on 
hand to meet the match requirement;
    2. Funds for which the applicant has received commitments;
    3. Funds for which the applicant has received letters of interest 
from funders;
    4. Funds the applicant has a credible plan to secure.
    Points will be allocated as follows:
    [cir] Each applicant will identify the percentage of its match 
requirement that meets each of the four categories above.
     For example, Applicant ABC identifies that it has secured 
half its match requirement and received letters of interest from 
funders in providing the remaining half.
    [cir] Those percentages will be multiplied as follows: by 100% for 
funds that are secured; by 90% for funds that have been committed; by 
60% for funds that funders have expressed interest in providing; and by 
30% for funds that the applicant has a credible plan to secure.
    [cir] For Applicant ABC, the reviewer would multiply 50% x 100% for 
the secured funds (50% x 100% = 50%) and multiply 50% x 30% for the 
funds supported for which the applicant has a credible plan to secure 
(50% x 30% = 15%).
    [cir] The resultant percentages will be added to yield the 
applicant's ``match score multiplier.'' It will be no more than 100%.
     For Applicant ABC, the ``match score multiplier'' would be 
65% (50% + 15%).
    [cir] The ``match score multiplier'' will be applied to 8 points. 
This is the applicant's point allocation for this selection criteria.
     For Applicant ABC, the score would be 5.2 points (65% x 8 
points).

C. Review and Selection Process

    VA and other Federal Agencies will review all grant applications 
received in response to this Notice according to the following steps.
1. Compliance Review
    VA staff will review all applications to determine compliance with 
the following Threshold Requirements:
     The application is filed within the time period 
established in this Notice;
     The application is complete;
     The applicant is an eligible entity;
     The applicant demonstrates it has 10% of the match 
requirement as cash on hand.
    The compliance review does not include reading the entire 
application. Applications that do not meet all compliance criteria will 
be determined non-compliant, and therefore will not be

[[Page 54222]]

considered. Applications must be received through Grants.gov, as 
specified in Section IV. of this Notice, on or before the application 
deadline published in Section IV. of this Notice.
2. Application Review
    Staff reviewers from VA, CNCS, and possibly other Federal Agencies 
will assess and score all compliant applications. VA will recruit, 
screen for conflicts of interest, and select reviewers on the basis of 
their expertise in Pay for Success programming and/or the Selection 
Criteria articulated in Section IV.A. of this Notice, as well as their 
expertise in assessing grant applications. The applications will be 
ranked in order from highest to lowest scores.
3. Risk Assessment Evaluation
    VA staff will evaluate the risks to the program posed by each 
applicant, including conducting due diligence to ensure an applicant's 
ability to manage Federal funds. This evaluation is in addition to the 
evaluation of the applicant's quality of its application, and results 
from this evaluation will inform funding decisions. If VA determines 
that an award will be made, special conditions that correspond to the 
degree of risk assessed may be applied to the award. In evaluating 
risks, VA may review and consider the following:
     Financial stability;
     Quality of management systems and ability to meet the 
management standards prescribed in the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR Part 
200);
     Applicant's record in managing previous Federal awards, 
grants, or procurement awards, including:
    [cir] Timeliness of compliance with applicable reporting 
requirements;
    [cir] Accuracy of data reported;
    [cir] Validity of performance measure data reported;
    [cir] Conformance to the terms and conditions of previous Federal 
awards; and
    [cir] If applicable, the extent to which any previously awarded 
amounts will be expended prior to future awards.
     Information available through OMB-designated repositories 
of government-wide eligibility qualification or financial integrity 
information, such as:
    [cir] Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System 
(FAPIIS);
    [cir] Dun and Bradstreet; and
    [cir] ``Do Not Pay.''
    Applicants may review and comment on information available through 
these OMB-designated repositories and VA will consider any comments 
made by the applicant.
     Reports and findings from single audits performed under 
Subpart F--Audit Requirements, 2 CFR Part 200, OMB Circular A-133, and 
findings of any other available audits;
     Applicant organization's annual report;
     Publicly available information, including information from 
the applicant organization's Web site;
     Applicant's ability to effectively implement statutory, 
regulatory, or other requirements imposed on award recipients;
     Applicant's past compliance or ability to comply with 
Federal procurement requirements in procuring the Project Coordinator 
and Investor(s) in accordance with 2 CFR 200.317-200.326.
4. Applicant Clarification
    Following the review process and risk assessment evaluation, VA may 
ask some applicants to provide clarifying information. VA staff uses 
clarifying information to inform funding recommendations. A request for 
clarification does not guarantee a grant award. If an organization does 
not respond by the deadline to a request for clarification, VA will 
remove its application from consideration. Applicants must be prepared 
to provide documentation of eligibility criteria and other support 
documentation described in the narrative, including demonstrated 
commitment of key experts and team. VA may conduct a site visit 
inspection, as appropriate.
5. Selection for Funding
    VA will utilize the ranked scores of applications as the primary 
basis for selection, ultimately made by the delegated official who may 
factor in the risk assessment and clarification information provided by 
the applicant.
6. Applicant Feedback
    VA will provide reviewer feedback to compliant applicants following 
announcement of the selected Recipient and grant award. This feedback 
will be based on the review of the original application and will not 
reflect information that may have been provided in response to requests 
for clarification.

VI. Federal Award Administration Information

A. Federal Award Notices

    Although subject to change, the VA VEPFS Grant Program Office 
expects to announce the results of this competition by September 30, 
2016. Prior to executing any funding agreement, VA will contact 
successful applicant(s), make known the amount of proposed funding, and 
verify the applicant's desire to receive the funding. In advance of 
grant award, successful applicants will be required to complete the VA 
Form 26-0967, which is a ``Certification Regarding Debarment, 
Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion.'' Any communication 
between the VA VEPFS Grant Program Office and successful applicant 
prior to the issuance of an award notice is not authorization to begin 
project activities. Once VA verifies that the grant applicant is still 
seeking funding, VA will issue a signed and dated award notice. The 
award notice will be sent by U.S. Mail to the organization listed on 
the SF-424. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by letter, sent by 
U.S. Mail to the organization listed on the SF-424. The Notice of Grant 
Award signed by the VA VEPFS Grant Program officer is the authorizing 
document for grant activities.
    An awardee may not expend Federal funds until the start of the 
Project Period identified in the Notice of Grant Award.

B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    The Notice of Grant Award incorporates the approved application as 
part of the binding commitments under the grant, as well as the 
requirements of applicable sections of 38 U.S.C. 3119, as well as the 
requirements of applicable sections of the National and Community 
Service Act of 1990, Public Law 101-610, The Consolidated and Further 
Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, Public Law 113-235, Division G, 
Title IV, Corporation for National and Community Service, and other 
applicable statutes and regulations. Awards will also be subject to the 
General and Specific Terms and Conditions established for grants and 
any Special Conditions attached to the award.
    Grants under this program are subject to the Uniform Administrative 
Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal 
Awards (Uniform Guidance, now consolidated in 2 CFR parts 200 and VA's 
implementing regulation at [fill in when we hae reg cite] and CNCS's 
implementing regulation at Part 2205). This final guidance supersedes 
and streamlines requirements from OMB Circulars A-21, A-87, and A-122 
(the former Cost Principles), A-110 and A-102 (the former 
Administrative Requirements), A-133 and A-50 (the former Audits and 
Audit Follow up),

[[Page 54223]]

and A-89 (the former Federal Domestic Assistance Program Information).

C. Reporting

    VA places great emphasis on the responsibility and accountability 
of Recipients. Applicants should be aware of the following: Upon 
execution of a grant agreement with VA, the Recipient(s) may have a 
liaison appointed by VA who will provide oversight and monitor services 
provided to Veterans. The Recipient(s) must provide to VA certain 
information, which will include but will not necessarily be limited to:
    1. Quarterly Reports. The Recipient must submit to VA quarterly 
reports based on the Federal fiscal year, which include the following 
information (and any associated costs):
     Record of time and resources expended administering the 
VEPFS program;
     The number of Veterans served, including demographics of 
this population;
     Types of employment assistance provided;
     A full accounting of VEPFS administrative funds received 
from VA and used or unused during the quarter;
     Results of routine monitoring and any project variations;
     A comparison of accomplishments related to objectives of 
the award;
     An explanation for any goals not met;
     Analysis and explanation for any cost overruns. Reports 
must be submitted to VA no later than 30 calendar days after the close 
of each Federal fiscal quarter.
    2. Additional Reports. VA may request additional reports if 
necessary to allow VA to fully and effectively assess project 
accountability.
    3. Other Requirements. The Recipient shall conform, if necessary, 
to the requirements of 2 CFR part 200, Appendix XII--Award Term and 
Condition for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters.

VII. Federal Awarding Agency Contact

    For further information contact: Patrick Littlefield, Executive 
Director, VA Center for Innovation, Patrick.Littlefield@va.gov, (202) 
256-7176.
    If mailing correspondence, other than application material, please 
send to: VA Center for Innovation, VA Central Office, Attn: Patrick 
Littlefield (320), 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420.
    All correspondence with the VA concerning this Notice should 
reference the title and funding opportunity number listed at the top of 
this solicitation. Please read the complete announcement before sending 
inquiries or submitting proposals. Once the Notice deadline has passed, 
the VA staff may not discuss this competition with applicants until the 
review process has been completed.

VIII. Other Information

A. Transparency in Grant Making

    VA is committed to transparency in grantmaking. This Notice 
includes a description of the application review and selection process. 
In addition, the following information for compliant applications will 
be published on the VA and CNCS Web site within 90 business days after 
all grants are awarded:
     A list of all compliant applications submitted;
     Executive summaries of all compliant applications as 
submitted by the applicants;
     Data extracted from the Face Sheet of Standard Form 424 
(SF-424);
     The program narratives for the successful application.

B. Payments of Grant Funds

    Funds will be dispersed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human 
Services Payment Management System. A special condition will be placed 
on funds for Outcomes Payments that will prevent the funds from being 
drawn down until Employment Outcomes are achieved and verified, 
creating positive impact. If Employment Outcomes have been achieved per 
the terms of the PFS Agreement, creating positive impact, funding for 
Outcomes Payments may then be drawn down through the same system. 
Payment methods must minimize the time elapsing between the transfer of 
funds from the U.S. Treasury and the disbursement by the Recipient.

Appendix I: Definitions

Key Parties

     Evaluator: An independent entity that determines the 
impact of the services provided, including whether the services have 
resulted in Employment Outcomes that meet target levels that have 
been agreed to in advance of the provision of the Intervention.
     Investor: An person or entity that provides upfront 
capital to cover costs of providing services/delivering an 
Intervention and other associated costs before a determination has 
been made as to whether certain Employment Outcomes have been 
achieved at pre-set target levels. Investors' upfront capital may 
also be used to pay for the evaluation of outcomes and the costs of 
the Project Coordinator's work.
     Outcomes Payor: An entity that receives a VEPFS grant 
and administers payment for outcomes of an intervention that meet 
target levels that have been agreed to in advance of the provision 
of the Intervention.
     Participant: An eligible Veteran who receives services 
through a PFS project to which potential Outcomes Payments funded by 
a VEPFS grant have been dedicated.
     Project Coordinator: An entity that facilitates, 
coordinates, and executes a PFS Agreement to improve Employment 
Outcomes for Veterans with a Service-connected Disability of PTSD. 
With respect to other PFS projects, Project Coordinators are 
sometimes referred to as intermediaries. Responsibilities may 
include, but are not limited to, building a financial model to guide 
the terms of the PFS Agreement and raising capital from Investors 
for the PFS Agreement that involve PFS financing. For the purposes 
of this Notice, we exclusively use the term Project Coordinators to 
refer specifically to an organization's role in facilitating a PFS 
project.
     Recipient: An entity that receives a grant through the 
VEPFS program. For the purpose of the VEPFS program, the Recipient 
is also the Outcomes Payor.
     Secretary: Refers to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
     Service Provider: An entity that delivers an 
Intervention designed to achieve improved Employment Outcomes for 
Veterans with a Service-connected Disability of PTSD.
     Veteran: Defined as provided in 38 CFR 3.1.

Key Concepts

     Employment Outcome: The employment or earnings of a 
Participant in the Intervention or control group member after the 
service period. The VEPFS program will measure certain outcomes, 
including competitive employment, skill development, achieving a 
sustained period of employment, wage-earnings, and achieving 
employment that aligns with the interests and aptitude of the job 
seeker. Improving Employment Outcomes means creating positive impact 
in terms of these outcomes, where the results for individuals that 
receive the Intervention are better than the results for a valid 
control group that did not receive the Intervention.
     Grant Program Assessment: The set of activities and 
deliverables that assess the effectiveness of the VEPFS program in 
achieving the objectives articulated in Section I.C. of this Notice. 
(It is distinct from the evaluation of the Intervention that 
potentially triggers release of Outcomes Payments.)
     High-Quality PFS Project: For the purpose of this 
Notice, a PFS Project that includes the following components:
    [cir] A well-defined problem and associated target population.
    [cir] A evidence-based preventive service delivery strategy that 
is managed, coordinated, and guided by the Service Provider, is 
flexible and adaptive to the target problem and population, and has 
Strong Evidence.
    [cir] Well-defined, achievable potential outcome target(s) as 
compared to a control group that are a significant improvement on 
the current condition of the target population and have been agreed 
to by all required project partners.

[[Page 54224]]

    [cir] A rigorous impact evaluation that uses an experimental or 
quasi-experimental design that is well-executed by an Evaluator.
    [cir] A financial model that shows public sector value, 
including cost savings or efficiency as well as societal benefit, 
and tracks effects of the project on relevant Federal, state, and 
local funding sources.
    [cir] A commitment from an entity to act as an Outcomes Payor 
(whose Outcomes Payments may be directed to Investors if they have 
covered, in part or in whole, costs associated with delivering the 
Intervention and constructing and managing the project).
    [cir] If needed, a binding commitment of funds from one or more 
independent Investors to cover relevant operating costs of the 
Intervention, including administrative costs of the intermediary.
    [cir] A PFS Agreement and any associated necessary agreements 
that incorporate all elements above.
     Intervention: A service or technology that is provided 
to individuals and is intended to achieve certain results. Examples 
of service interventions or technological interventions to improve 
Veteran Employment Outcomes include, but are not limited to, support 
services, employment coaching, mental health treatment, vocational 
training, occupational therapy, community engagement, and outreach.
     Living Wage: A wage on which it is possible for a wage 
earner or an individual and his or her family to live at least 
according to minimum customary standards in the geographic region 
where the individual resides.
     Outcomes Payments: Funds that are paid to an Investor 
or Service Provider and that are released only for the achievement 
of outcomes, as compared to those of a control group, that meet 
target levels that have been agreed to in advance of the provision 
of an Intervention (i.e., if positive impact has been created by the 
Intervention in terms of these outcomes). When Investors have 
provided the upfront capital for the project, these payments 
generally cover repayment of the principal investment and provide a 
modest return on investment for any associated risks of paying for 
the Intervention upfront.
     Pay for Success (PFS) Agreement: A multi-party 
agreement to deliver an innovative or evidence-based Intervention 
intended to improve outcomes for a targeted population signed by the 
entities that constitute the Project Partnership.
     Project Partnership: A collaboration among entities 
that negotiate and execute a project to improve Employment Outcomes 
for Veterans with a Service-connected Disability of PTSD. For the 
purpose of the VEPFS grant program described in this Notice, a 
Project Partnership is not a distinct legal entity. The entities 
that may be involved in a Project Partnership include: Outcomes 
Payor, Project Coordinator, Evaluator, Investor, Service Provider.
    [cir] Full Project Partnership: A Project Partnership that 
includes all of the following stakeholders:
     Evaluator;
     Investor(s) if PFS Agreement will involve PFS 
Financing;
     Outcomes Payor; and
     Service Provider(s).
    [cir] Partial Project Partnership: A Project Partnership that 
includes the Outcomes Payor and at least one--but not all--of the 
following stakeholders:
     Evaluator;
     Investor(s) if PFS Agreement will involve PFS 
Financing; and
     Service Provider(s).
     Service-connected Disability: A disability that is 
``service-connected'' as defined in 38 CFR 3.1.
     Strong Evidence: Evidence from previous studies, the 
designs of which support causal conclusions (i.e., studies with high 
internal validity), which include enough of the range of 
Participants and settings to support scaling up to the state, 
regional, or national level (i.e., studies with high external 
validity). The following are examples of Strong Evidence: (1) More 
than one well-designed and well-implemented experimental study or 
well-designed and well-implemented quasi-experimental study that 
supports the effectiveness of the practice, strategy, or program; or 
(2) one large, well-designed and well-implemented randomized 
controlled, multisite trial that supports the effectiveness of the 
practice, strategy, or program.

Appendix II: Background on the Focus of this VEPFS Competition

    Given the manpower buildup for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq 
and the nearing completion of the U.S. combat mission in those 
countries, the U.S. military implemented a troop drawdown that is 
planned to continue over the next few years. This has resulted in a 
multitude of Servicemembers transitioning out of the military and 
into the civilian workforce. Transitioning back into civilian life 
and finding employment can be challenging for many Veterans. 
Veterans with Service-connected Disabilities, especially mental 
health conditions, may experience an even more difficult transition 
process and encounter significant employment barriers compared to 
other Veterans.
    PTSD, a mental health condition that can develop after exposure 
to a traumatic event such as warfare, is particularly pervasive 
among Veterans. A recent report in JAMA provided a detailed 
assessment of the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in 
Servicemembers (Army STARRS) project and found PTSD to be 15 times 
higher in soldiers compared to civilians.\1\ Up to 20% of Veterans 
from recent tours of duty have experienced PTSD.\2\ As of 2015, more 
than 400,000 Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi 
Freedom (OIF), and Operation New Dawn (OND) Veterans were seen for 
potential PTSD at VA facilities following their return from overseas 
deployments.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4075436/.
    \2\ http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/08/us/08vets.html?_r=0.
    \3\ http://www.publichealth.va.gov/docs/epidemiology/ptsd-report-fy2015-qtr2.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Veterans with PTSD are likely to face challenges in the 
transition process and in particular with obtaining and maintaining 
suitable, stable employment. Symptoms of PTSD may include lack of 
interest in engaging in tasks and activities, anxiety, depression, 
cardiovascular disease, feelings of detachment from others, 
sleeplessness, and trouble with concentration. This vast array of 
symptoms combined with other employment barriers such as limited 
non-military vocational skills and work experience, lack of 
resources to assist with preparation for finding a civilian job, and 
a challenging job market can prevent Veterans with PTSD from 
successfully achieving their civilian vocational goals.
    PTSD is listed in the recognized authority on mental illness 
diagnoses, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental 
Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V). The DSM-V is utilized by VA in 
conducting Service-connected Disability evaluations for VA 
compensation purposes.
    A study conducted by VA in 2011 confirmed that a negative 
relationship exists between mental health conditions, mental health 
issues, and employment.\4\ The unemployment rates for people with 
mental illness are high. People with severe mental illness have 
exceptionally higher rates of unemployment, between 60-100%. People 
with long-term psychiatric disabilities are less likely to be 
employed than those with long-term physical disabilities. A person's 
self-esteem may also be compromised during unemployment, leading to 
anxiety and self-doubt. The study also asserts that feelings of 
``helplessness'' arise when a person believes he/she has little 
influence over important events in his/her life, such as securing 
meaningful work. In VA's experience the overwhelming majority of 
Veterans using the VA systems want to be employed, or at least be 
engaged in meaningful activity. However, their disability may create 
a barrier to employment.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ http://www.nchv.org/images/uploads/Employment_Status_of_Patients_in_the_VA_Health_System-Implications_for_Mental_Health_Services_WEB.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Mental health providers view vocational rehabilitation and 
employment services as an integral part of a treatment plan for 
Veterans with PTSD or other mental health challenges. They report 
that Veterans have better outcomes while actively pursuing an 
employment goal.5 6 Many people with mental health 
conditions view employment as central to their lives, yet fewer than 
15% have jobs.\7\ Thus, participation in a program that focuses on 
vocational needs should lead to improved functional and Employment 
Outcomes for Veterans with a Service-connected Disability of PTSD.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ http://www.nchv.org/images/uploads/Posttraumatic_stress_disorder_and_employment_in_veterans_participating_WEB.pdf.
    \6\ http://www.rehab.research.va.gov/jour/07/44/6/pdf/resnick.pdf.
    \7\ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15616477.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 54225]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TN15AU16.020


[[Page 54226]]



Signing Authority

    The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or designee, approved this 
document and authorized the undersigned to sign and submit the 
document to the Office of the Federal Register for publication 
electronically as an official document of the Department of Veterans 
Affairs. Gina S. Farrisee, Deputy Chief of Staff, Department of 
Veterans Affairs, approved this document for publication.

    Dated: August 5, 2016.
Jeffrey Martin,
Office Program Manager, Office of Regulation Policy & Management, 
Office of the Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2016-19304 Filed 8-12-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8320-01-P