Applications for New Awards; Rehabilitation Training: Innovative Rehabilitation Training Program, 32135-32144 [2019-14272]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 129 / Friday, July 5, 2019 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Applications for New Awards; Rehabilitation Training: Innovative Rehabilitation Training Program Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The mission of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) is to improve early childhood, educational, and employment outcomes and raise expectations for all people with disabilities, their families, their communities, and the Nation. The Department of Education (Department) is issuing a notice inviting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2019 for the Innovative Rehabilitation Training Program, Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number 84.263C. The competition funds time-limited pilot demonstration projects to develop, refine, implement, evaluate, and disseminate innovative methods of training vocational rehabilitation (VR) personnel to support the work of the State VR agencies and the implementation of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (Rehabilitation Act). In the FY 2019 competition, the Department is focusing on innovative rehabilitation training in the following areas: VR counseling, VR services to individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), VR services to individuals with intellectual disabilities, career assessment (also referred to as ‘‘vocational evaluation’’) for VR service recipients, employer engagement in the VR process, and field-initiated projects in an area related to VR. This notice relates to the approved information collection under OMB control number 1820–0018. DATES: Applications Available: July 5, 2019. Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: August 14, 2019. Pre-Application Webinar Information: No later than July 10, 2019, OSERS will post pre-recorded informational webinars designed to provide technical assistance to interested applicants. The webinars may be found at: www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/rsa/ new-rsa-grants.html. Pre-Application Q&A Blog: No later than July 10, 2019, OSERS will open a blog where interested applicants may post questions about the application requirements for this competition and where OSERS will post answers to the questions received. OSERS will not jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Jul 03, 2019 Jkt 247001 respond to questions unrelated to the application requirements for this competition. The blog will be available at www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/rsa/ new-rsa-grants.html and will remain open until July 24, 2019. After the blog closes, applicants should direct questions to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. ADDRESSES: For the addresses for obtaining and submitting an application, please refer to our Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the Federal Register on February 13, 2019 (84 FR 3768) and available at www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-201902-13/pdf/2019-02206.pdf. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cassandra P. Shoffler, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 5122, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202–2800. Telephone: (202) 245–7827. Email: cassandra.shoffler@ed.gov. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1–800–877– 8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Full Text of Announcement I. Funding Opportunity Description Purpose of Program: The Innovative Rehabilitation Training program is designed to develop (a) new types of training programs for rehabilitation personnel and to demonstrate the effectiveness of these new types of training programs for rehabilitation personnel in providing rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities; (b) new and improved methods of training rehabilitation personnel so that there may be a more effective delivery of rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities by designated State rehabilitation agencies and designated State rehabilitation units or other public or non-profit rehabilitation service agencies or organizations; and (c) new innovative training programs for VR professionals and paraprofessionals to have a 21st-century understanding of the evolving labor force and the needs of individuals with disabilities so they can more effectively provide VR services to individuals with disabilities. Priority: This competition includes one absolute priority. We are establishing this priority for FY 2019 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, in accordance with section 437(d)(1) of the PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 32135 General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), 20 U.S.C. 1232(d)(1). Absolute Priority: For FY 2019, and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3) we consider only applications that meet this priority. This priority is: Innovative Rehabilitation Training Projects. Background: The Innovative Rehabilitation Training priority aligns with the OSERS framework by funding projects designed to strengthen, improve, develop, and provide training to VR professionals and paraprofessionals serving students and youth with disabilities, parents and guardians of youth with disabilities, and adults with disabilities and to improve employment outcomes and raise expectations for all people with disabilities, their families, their communities, and the Nation. This priority is an example of a competition designed to foster flexible and affordable paths to obtaining knowledge and skills and to meet the unique needs of individuals with disabilities, as identified in the Secretary’s priorities. Specifically, this priority requires grantees to develop current and, to the extent possible, evidence-based training modules for inclusion in rehabilitation counseling education programs and for use as stand-alone modules in order to develop or implement pathways to recognized postsecondary credentials and to provide work-based learning experiences such as apprenticeships, internships, and practica. Further, under this priority, grantees may help VR professionals and paraprofessionals learn how to meet the unique needs of individuals with disabilities; create or expand opportunities for students and youth receiving transition services; assist individuals with disabilities to obtain recognized postsecondary credentials, including postsecondary credentials in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or computer science, as they pursue careers; and expand partnerships with appropriate entities, such as State VR agencies, State educational agencies, local educational agencies, schools, businesses, not-forprofit professional organizations, and organizations of, or representing, individuals with disabilities. This priority also involves promoting economic opportunity for individuals with disabilities. Projects must be operated in a manner consistent with nondiscrimination requirements contained in the U.S. Constitution and the Federal civil rights laws. E:\FR\FM\05JYN1.SGM 05JYN1 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES 32136 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 129 / Friday, July 5, 2019 / Notices With this priority, the Secretary intends to fund innovative rehabilitation training projects to develop, pilot, refine, implement, evaluate, and disseminate training to support the work of the State VR agencies and the implementation of the Rehabilitation Act, and to focus on training VR personnel. The Secretary intends to award one national project in each of the following topic areas: (1) VR counseling, (2) VR services to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), (3) VR services to individuals with intellectual disabilities, (4) career assessment for VR service recipients, and (5) employer engagement in the VR process. In addition, the Secretary intends to award one national project in a sixth topic area: a field-initiated project in an area related to VR. In the event that there are no applications submitted or deemed eligible to fund in Topic Areas 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 the Secretary may fund more than one field-initiated project under Topic Area 6. With respect to Topic Area 1–VR counseling, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the growth rate of rehabilitation counseling positions is faster than average, with a projected 13 percent growth in rehabilitation counseling positions from 2016 to 2026 (Bureau of Labor Statistics). According to the O*Net Summary Report for Rehabilitation Counselors, the projected growth in the field of VR counseling from 2016 to 2026 is expected to be faster than average at 10 percent to 14 percent, with 14,500 job openings projected by 2026. Further, the report indicates that the need for qualified VR counselors continues to exist and is driven strongly by impending retirements (O*NET, 2018). In addition, the Rehabilitation Act includes new expectations and job requirements for VR counselors. As a result, universities will need to modify their curricula and academic programs so that individuals graduating from VR academic programs are ready to meet these requirements and the needs of their clients with disabilities. New modules for training of working VR professionals and paraprofessionals will need to be developed. With respect to Topic Area 2—VR services to individuals with ASD, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network estimates that approximately 1 in 59 children has been identified with ASD (or 16.8 per 1,000 8-year-olds). ASD is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups and is about four times more common VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Jul 03, 2019 Jkt 247001 among boys than among girls (CDC, 2018). Further, there are gaps within the systems that support individuals with ASD. As an example, Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA) noted that a 2008 study conducted in Florida by the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities showed that approximately 67 percent of the 200 families of 18- to 22-year-olds with autism surveyed did not have knowledge of transition services, 73 percent indicated they need help with their job, 63 percent need help with daily living, and 78 percent did not know of agencies or professionals who can help them find work. The study also showed that while 74 percent of those surveyed want to work, only 19 percent were currently working. (AFAA, 2014). State VR agencies serve individuals with ASD, and VR professionals and paraprofessionals need to be trained to provide services that meet their needs. According to the RSA–911, in program year (PY) 2017, State VR agencies determined 29,678 individuals with ASD to be eligible for VR services, served 43,841 individuals with ASD under individualized plans for employment (IPEs), and had 9,850 individuals with ASD exit the VR system in competitive integrated or supported employment. In addition, 13,793 individuals with ASD exited the VR system without employment after eligibility was determined or after an IPE was signed, 9 individuals with ASD exited in noncompetitive or nonintegrated employment after an IPE was signed, and 96 individuals with ASD exited after they were determined ineligible for VR services (U.S. Department of Education, 2018). With respect to Topic Area 3—VR services to individuals with intellectual disabilities, the State VR agencies serve a large number of individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID), so VR professionals and paraprofessionals need to be trained to provide appropriate services to meet their needs. According to the RSA–911, in PY 2017, 35.4 percent (338,757) of the individuals served by State VR agencies (957,082) were individuals with ID, including 36,183 who were determined eligible for VR services, 46,816 who had IPEs, and 13,586 who exited the VR system in competitive integrated or supported employment. In addition, 22,187 individuals with ID exited the VR system without an employment outcome after eligibility was determined or after an IPE was signed, 9 individuals with ID exited in noncompetitive or nonintegrated employment after an IPE was signed, and 135 individuals with ID PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 exited after being determined ineligible for VR services (U.S. Department of Education, 2018). With respect to Topic Area 4—career assessment for VR service recipients, vocational evaluation is important for identifying and providing VR services that will enable individuals with disabilities to achieve employment outcomes consistent with their unique capabilities, interests, and informed choice. As defined by the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center, ‘‘vocational evaluation is an educational process in which a client obtains greater self and work knowledge through participation in work activities designed to evaluate vocational skills, interests, and abilities. Clients learn about the functional impact of their disability in relation to their career options. They also learn about assistive technology and the devices and accommodations needed to remove barriers to employment. The evaluation process encourages personal involvement in career planning and development and empowers clients by increasing their self-confidence in career decision making’’ (Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center, 2018). According to the RSA–911, in PY 2017, 271,124 individuals received career assessment services from VR personnel. Given that career assessment services are essential when assisting VR consumers to identify their employment goals, it is critical that VR personnel remain current in their ability to provide career assessment services. With respect to Topic Area 5— employer engagement, the most recent amendments to the Rehabilitation Act included an enhanced focus on employer engagement. For example, the purpose section of the Rehabilitation Act was expanded to include increasing employment opportunities and employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities, including through encouraging meaningful input by employers and VR service providers on successful and prospective employment and placement strategies. The Rehabilitation Act also now allows VR agencies to provide training and services for employers who have hired or are interested in hiring individuals with disabilities under its programs. These services may include: (1) Providing training and technical assistance to employers regarding the employment of individuals with disabilities, including disability awareness and the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and other employment-related laws; (2) working with employers to (a) provide opportunities for work-based learning E:\FR\FM\05JYN1.SGM 05JYN1 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 129 / Friday, July 5, 2019 / Notices experiences, including internships, short-term employment, apprenticeships, and fellowships, and opportunities for pre-employment transition services, (b) recruit qualified applicants who are individuals with disabilities, (c) train employees who are individuals with disabilities, and (d) promote awareness of disability-related obstacles to continued employment; (3) providing consultation, technical assistance, and support to employers on workplace accommodations, assistive technology, and facilities and workplace access through collaboration with community partners and employers, across States and nationally, to enable the employers to recruit, job match, hire, and retain qualified individuals with disabilities who are recipients of VR services under the Rehabilitation Act, or who are applicants for such services; and (4) assisting employers with utilizing available financial support for hiring or accommodating individuals with disabilities. (Section 109 of the Rehabilitation Act.) State VR agencies are required to describe, in the State plan, how they will work with employers to identify competitive integrated employment opportunities and career exploration opportunities to provide VR services and transition services for youth with disabilities and students with disabilities. State VR agencies may engage with employers throughout the VR process, including at job placement, development of customized employment opportunities for individuals, and follow-up services. Given that employer engagement promotes increased employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities who are receiving VR services, it is critical that VR personnel remain current in their ability to work with and engage employers in the VR process, including employers representing the 21st-century labor market, to include in-demand fields and fields related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) that meet the local labor market needs. Priority: The purpose of this priority is to fund projects designed to develop, pilot, refine, implement, evaluate, and disseminate new, or substantially improved, innovative rehabilitation training in six topic areas to support the work of the State VR agencies and the implementation of the Rehabilitation Act. The six topic areas are: (a) Topic Area 1—VR counseling. The most recent amendments to the Rehabilitation Act contained many changes that affect VR counseling. Therefore, a project in this topic area must review current VR counseling VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Jul 03, 2019 Jkt 247001 curricula used by universities and prepare, as appropriate, novel, innovative modules that universities can include to update the curricula and that can be used by a variety of trainers to provide short-term or other training to VR professionals and paraprofessionals. Projects must include information about training on how to— (1) Use evidence-based 1 information and data in the VR process; (2) Use labor market analyses in developing VR goals and providing informed choice to individuals with disabilities receiving VR services; (3) Engage the dual customers, that is, individuals with disabilities and employers; (4) Engage with other partners in the workforce development system, including, at a minimum, Workforce Development Boards or career centers, businesses or industry associations, training or educational institutions, and community-based organizations; and (5) Address changes resulting from the amendments to the Rehabilitation Act and other trends in the field related to service delivery, including, at a minimum, supported employment, preemployment transition services, and customized employment. (b) Topic Area 2—VR services to individuals with ASD. To address the increasing numbers of individuals with ASD and to provide services designed to meet the unique needs of each individual with ASD, a project in this topic area must develop current and, to the extent possible, evidence-based training modules. These modules must be available for inclusion in VR counseling education programs and short-term training for VR professionals and paraprofessionals, individuals studying to become VR professionals and paraprofessionals, and, as appropriate, representatives of individuals with disabilities, including parents, family members, guardians, advocates, and other authorized representatives. The subject of the training must be providing VR services to individuals with ASD, and, as appropriate, representatives of individuals with ASD, including parents, family members, guardians, advocates, and other authorized representatives. (c) Topic Area 3—VR services to individuals with ID. 1 For the purposes of this priority, ‘‘evidencebased’’ means the proposed project component is supported, at a minimum, by evidence that demonstrates a rationale (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1), where a key project component included in the project’s logic model (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1) is informed by research or evaluation findings that suggest the project component is likely to improve relevant outcomes (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1). PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 32137 To address the large number of individuals with ID who are served by the VR agencies and to provide services designed to meet the unique needs of each individual with ID, a project in this topic area must develop current and, to the extent possible, evidence-based training modules for inclusion in rehabilitation counseling education programs and for use as stand-alone modules to provide short-term training for VR professionals, paraprofessionals, individuals studying to become VR professionals and paraprofessionals, and, as appropriate, representatives of individuals with disabilities, including parents, family members, guardians, advocates, and other authorized representatives. The subject of the training must be providing VR services to individuals with ID and, as appropriate, representatives of individuals with ID, including parents, family members, guardians, advocates, and other authorized representatives. (d) Topic Area 4—Career assessments for VR service recipients. To address the importance of vocational evaluation in identifying and providing VR services, a project in this topic area must develop current and, to the extent possible, evidence-based training modules for inclusion in rehabilitation counseling education programs and short-term training for VR professionals, paraprofessionals, individuals studying to become VR professionals and paraprofessionals, and, as appropriate, representatives of individuals with disabilities, including parents, family members, guardians, advocates, and other authorized representatives. The subject of the training must be providing career assessment VR services in the 21stcentury labor market, including assessments for careers in in-demand fields and STEM, to meet local labor market needs. (e) Topic Area 5—Employer engagement in the VR process. To address the enhanced focus on employer engagement in the most recent amendments to the Rehabilitation Act, a project in this topic area must develop current and, to the extent possible, evidence-based training modules for inclusion in rehabilitation counseling education programs and short-term training for VR professionals, paraprofessionals, individuals studying to become VR professionals and paraprofessionals, and, as appropriate, representatives of individuals with disabilities, including parents, family members, guardians, advocates, and other authorized representatives. The subject of the training must be engaging employers in the VR process, including E:\FR\FM\05JYN1.SGM 05JYN1 32138 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 129 / Friday, July 5, 2019 / Notices jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES employers in in-demand fields and STEM, to meet local labor market needs. (f) Topic Area 6—Field-initiated project in an area related to VR. Field-initiated projects must be designed to develop training for VR personnel in an area for which no training currently exists, enhance training in an area for which the existing training is no longer current or relevant, or enhance training in an area that has received increased emphasis under the Rehabilitation Act. In each case, applicants must provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate the need for the training in a proposed new topic area or, in areas for which there is existing training, demonstrate that the existing training is not adequately meeting the needs of VR professionals, paraprofessionals, and individuals studying to become VR professionals and paraprofessionals. Application Requirements General Application Requirements: (a) Applicants must identify the specific topic area (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6) under which they are applying as part of the competition title on the application cover sheet (SF form 424, line 4). (b) Applicants may submit proposals under more than one topic area. (c) Applicants may combine more than one topic area, and these applications must be submitted under Topic Area 6—Field-initiated project. (d) For each topic area, applicants must develop a new training program, a substantially improved training program, and/or stand-alone modules to be incorporated into an existing academic degree program for educating VR counselors or other VR professionals and paraprofessionals and into shortterm training for VR professionals. The training program or modules must be developed by the end of the first year of the project period and piloted, refined, implemented, evaluated, and disseminated in years two, three, four, and five of the project period. Applicants must describe a process for feedback and continuous improvement to ensure the training program or modules are refined throughout years two, three, four, and five. Applicants must provide adequate justification in their application if they determine additional time may be necessary to fully develop a curriculum and obtain input and feedback from key partners, relevant stakeholders, and individuals with disabilities. (e) The training must be of sufficient scope, intensity, and duration for VR professionals, paraprofessionals, and individuals studying to become VR VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Jul 03, 2019 Jkt 247001 professionals and paraprofessionals to achieve increased skill, knowledge, and competence in the topic area. Note: Applications that propose only to continue existing training in these topic areas are not eligible for funding. Specific Application Requirements: In addition to meeting the absolute priority and the general application requirements, all applicants must meet the following specific application requirements: (a) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under ‘‘Need for Project and Relevance to StateFederal Rehabilitation Service Program,’’ how— (1) The proposed project will address current and projected training needs and, if applicable, personnel shortages in the identified topic area in State VR agencies and related agencies nationally. Applicants must present data demonstrating such training needs and, if applicable, personnel shortages; (2) The proposed project will identify the evidence-based training and baseline data that currently exist in the topic area and describe why there is a need to establish innovative rehabilitation training modules in the identified area. In the event that an applicant proposes training in a topic area for which training does not currently exist or for which there are no baseline data, the applicant must explain the lack of training or reliable data and may report zero as a baseline; and (3) The proposed project will increase the number of trained VR professionals and paraprofessionals in the topic area. To address this requirement, the applicant must describe the competencies that VR professionals and paraprofessionals must demonstrate in order to provide high-quality services. (b) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under ‘‘Quality of Project Design,’’ how— (1) The proposed project will actively engage consumers, consumer organizations, employers, and service providers, especially State VR agencies, in the proposed project, including project development, design, implementation, delivery of training, dissemination, sustainability planning, program evaluation, and other relevant areas as determined by the applicant; (2) The proposed project will develop, pilot, and refine new or enhanced modules for training of working VR professionals and paraprofessionals and individuals studying to become VR professionals and paraprofessionals in the topic area. The applicant must describe the scope of the proposed PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 training to be developed, the mode of delivery, and the intended long-term outcome of the training; (3) The proposed project will provide training in person or via on-line delivery to VR professionals, paraprofessionals, and individuals studying to become VR professionals and paraprofessionals; (4) The proposed project will identify the number of individuals proposed to be enrolled in the training program, by cohort, each year of the proposed project; (5) The proposed project will identify and partner with trainers who are certified and recognized in the topic area to develop and deliver the training; (6) The proposed project will use current research and evidence-based practices. To address this requirement, the applicant must— (i) Describe how the proposed project will incorporate current research and evidence-based practices in the development and delivery of its products and training; and (ii) Describe how the proposed project will engage training recipients with different learning styles; and (7) The proposed project will conduct dissemination and coordination activities. To address this requirement, the applicant must— (i) Describe how the proposed project will disseminate information to VR agencies, related agencies, academic programs with VR counseling programs, and other training providers; disseminate information to VR professionals and paraprofessionals about training available in the topic area; broadly disseminate successful strategies for preparing VR professionals and paraprofessionals in the topic area; and disseminate information to individuals with disabilities, parents, family members, guardians, advocates, and authorized representatives via the RSA Parent Information and Training programs and the National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials, a state-of-the-art archiving and dissemination system that is open and available to the public and provides a central location for later use of training materials, including curricula, audiovisual materials, webinars, examples of emerging and evidence-based practices, and any other relevant material; (ii) Describe the process for submitting all materials to the National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials; Note: All products produced by the grantees must meet government- and industry-recognized standards for E:\FR\FM\05JYN1.SGM 05JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 129 / Friday, July 5, 2019 / Notices accessibility, including section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES (iii) Describe its approach for incorporating the use of information technology (IT) into all aspects of the proposed project. The approach must include establishing and maintaining a state-of-the-art IT platform that is sufficient to support webinars, teleconferences, video conferences, and other virtual methods for disseminating information. Proposed projects may either develop new platforms or systems or may modify existing platforms or systems, so long as the requirements of this priority are met; and (iv) Describe its approach for conducting coordination and collaboration activities. To meet this requirement, the applicant must— (A) Establish a community of practice 2 in the topic area of training that focuses on the proposed project’s activities and acts as a vehicle for communication and exchange of information among participants in the program and other relevant stakeholders; (B) Communicate, collaborate, and coordinate with other relevant Department-funded projects, as applicable; (C) Maintain ongoing communication with the RSA project officer and other RSA staff as required; and (D) Communicate, collaborate, and coordinate, as appropriate, with key staff in State VR agencies; State and local educational agencies and partner programs; organizations and associations of, or representing, individuals with disabilities; relevant RSA partner organizations and associations; and individuals with disabilities, parents, family members, guardians, advocates, and authorized representatives via the RSA Parent Information and Training programs and the National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials. (c) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under ‘‘Quality of Project Services,’’ how— (1) The proposed project will ensure equal access and treatment for eligible proposed project participants who are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability; 2 A community of practice (CoP) is a group of people who work together to solve a persistent problem or to improve practice in an area that is important to them and who deepen their knowledge and expertise by interacting on an ongoing basis. CoPs exist in many forms, some large in scale that deal with complex problems, others small in scale that focus on a problem at a very specific level. See http://www.wintac.org/cop for examples of CoPs established through other RSA grants. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Jul 03, 2019 Jkt 247001 (2) The proposed project will identify high-quality applicants for participation in the program, including any preassessments that may be used to determine the skill, knowledge base, and competence of the VR professionals and paraprofessionals and individuals studying to become VR professionals and paraprofessionals; (3) The proposed project will ensure that all training activities and materials are fully accessible; (4) The proposed project will enable VR professionals, paraprofessionals, and individuals studying to become VR professionals and paraprofessionals to participate in and successfully complete the training program, including participants who need to work while in the program, have child care or elder care considerations, or live in geographically isolated areas. The approach must emphasize innovative instructional delivery methods, such as distance learning or block scheduling (a type of academic scheduling that offers fewer classes per day for longer periods of time), which would allow working VR professionals, paraprofessionals, and individuals studying to become VR professionals and paraprofessionals to more easily participate in the program; and (5) The training will be of sufficient scope, intensity, and duration to adequately prepare VR professionals, paraprofessionals, and individuals studying to become VR professionals and paraprofessionals in the identified topic area. To address this requirement, the applicant must— (i) Describe the components of the training that will allow VR professionals, paraprofessionals, and individuals studying to become VR professionals and paraprofessionals to acquire and enhance the identified competencies; (ii) Describe the components of the training that will allow VR professionals, paraprofessionals, and individuals studying to become VR professionals and paraprofessionals to apply their content knowledge in a practical setting; and (iii) Describe how the proposed project will provide VR professionals, paraprofessionals, and individuals studying to become VR professionals and paraprofessionals with ongoing guidance and feedback throughout the training provided. (d) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under ‘‘Quality of Project Personnel,’’ how— (1) The proposed project will encourage applications for employment with the project from persons who are members of groups that have PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 32139 historically been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability; and (2) The proposed project director or principal investigator and other key proposed project personnel, consultants, and subcontractors have the qualifications and experience to develop and provide training to VR professionals and paraprofessionals in the topic area. Note: While applicants may not hire staff or select trainees based on race or national origin/ethnicity, they may conduct outreach activities to increase the pool of eligible candidates from groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability. We will disqualify and not consider for funding any applicant that indicates that it will hire or train a certain number or percentage of candidates from groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability. (e) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under ‘‘Adequacy of Resources and Quality of the Management Plan,’’ how— (1) The applicant and any identified partners in the proposed project have an adequate commitment to the proposed project and the resources to carry out the proposed activities, and will contribute to the implementation and success of the proposed project; (2) The proposed project costs are reasonable in relation to the anticipated results and benefits; (3) The training will be continued after Federal funding ends; (4) The management plan will ensure that the proposed project’s intended outcomes will be achieved on time and within budget. To meet this requirement, the applicant must— (i) Describe the defined responsibilities for key proposed project personnel, consultants, and subcontractors, as applicable, how these responsibilities will be allocated to the proposed project, and how these allocations are appropriate and adequate to achieve the proposed project’s intended outcomes, including an assurance that such personnel will have adequate availability to ensure timely communications with stakeholders and RSA; and (ii) Describe the timelines and milestones for accomplishing the proposed project tasks; (5) The proposed project management plan will ensure that the products and services provided are of high quality; and (6) The proposed project will benefit from a diversity of perspectives, especially relevant partners, groups, and organizations described throughout this E:\FR\FM\05JYN1.SGM 05JYN1 32140 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 129 / Friday, July 5, 2019 / Notices jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES notice, in its development and operation. (f) Describe, in the narrative section of the application under ‘‘Quality of the Project Evaluation,’’ the evaluation plan for the proposed project. At a minimum, the proposed project must evaluate the quality of the proposed training modules; refine the training modules based on the evaluation outcomes; reevaluate the refined training modules; provide guidance about effective strategies suitable for replication in other settings; and identify, track, and report the number of academic programs that adopt the content, State VR agencies and related agencies that use the content to train VR professionals and paraprofessionals, and other training entities that use the content to train VR professionals and paraprofessionals. To address this requirement, the applicant must— (1) Describe the evaluation mechanism for assessing the quality of the training developed and the iterative process to be used for improving the training based on evaluation outcomes; (2) Describe the approach, using preand post-assessments, for assessing the level of knowledge, skills, and competencies gained among participants; (3) Describe the measures of progress in implementation, including the extent to which the proposed project’s activities and products have been adopted by academic programs or used by State VR agencies, related agencies, and other training entities, and the intended outcomes of the proposed project’s activities in order to evaluate those activities and how well the goals and objectives of the proposed project, as described in its logic model,3 have been met; (4) Describe how the evaluation plan will be implemented and revised, as needed, during the proposed project. The applicant must designate at least one individual with sufficient dedicated time, experience in evaluation, and knowledge of the proposed project to coordinate the design and implementation of the evaluation, including designing instruments and developing quantitative or qualitative data collections that permit the collection of progress data and assessment of project outcomes. This 3 As defined in 34 CFR 77.1, ‘‘logic model’’ (also referred to as a theory of action) means a framework that identifies key project components of the proposed project (i.e., the active ‘‘ingredients’’ that are hypothesized to be critical to achieving the relevant outcomes) and describes the theoretical and operational relationships among the key project components and relevant outcomes. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Jul 03, 2019 Jkt 247001 includes coordination with any identified partners in the application and RSA to make revisions post-award to the logic model in order to reflect any changes or clarifications to the model and to the evaluation design and instrumentation; (5) Describe the standards and targets for determining effectiveness of the proposed project; and (6) Describe how evaluation results will provide performance feedback and permit periodic assessment of progress toward achieving intended outcomes. (h) Include in Appendix A the following— (1) A logic model that depicts, at a minimum, the goals, activities, outputs, and intended outcomes of the proposed project; (2) A person-loading chart and timeline, as applicable, to illustrate the management plan described in the narrative; and (3) A sustainability plan to ensure the training will continue after Federal funding ends. Fourth and Fifth Years of the Project: In deciding whether to continue funding each Innovative Rehabilitation Training project for the fourth and fifth years, the Department will consider the requirements of 34 CFR 75.253(a). In addition, as part of the review of the application narrative and annual performance reports, RSA will consider the degree to which the program demonstrates substantial progress toward completing the tasks outlined in the priority, with particular emphasis on the quality, relevance, and usefulness of the grantee’s training program and activities, and the degree to which the training program and activities and their outcomes have contributed to significantly improving the quality of VR professionals and paraprofessionals employed in or ready for employment in State VR agencies and related agencies. References 21–1015.00 Summary Report—Rehabilitation Counselors. National Center for O*NET Development. Rehabilitation Counselors. (2018). Retrieved from https:// www.onetonline.org/link/summary/211015.00www.onetonline.org/link/ summary/21-1015.00. Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism. (2014). Autism on the Rise. Retrieved from http://www.afaa-us.org/ aboutwww.afaa-us.org/about. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Rehabilitation Counselors. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/ community-and-social-service/ rehabilitation-counselors.htm. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Autism Spectrum Disorder. (November 15, 2018). Retrieved from https:// www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/ data.htmlwww.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/ data.html. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Rehabilitation Services Administration. (2018). Case Service Report (RSA–911), PY 2017. Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center: Vocational Evaluation Services. (January 18, 2018). Retrieved from https:// www.wwrc.net/Vocational Evaluation.htmwww.wwrc.net/ VocationalEvaluation.htm. Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking: Under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) the Department generally offers interested parties the opportunity to comment on proposed priorities and requirements. Section 437(d)(1) of GEPA, however, allows the Secretary to exempt from rulemaking requirements regulations governing the first grant competition under a new or substantially revised program authority. This is the first grant competition for this program under section 302 of the Rehabilitation Act (20 U.S.C. 772), and therefore qualifies for this exemption. In order to ensure timely grant awards, the Secretary has decided to forgo public comment on the priority and requirements under section 437(d)(1) of GEPA. This priority and these requirements will apply to the FY 2019 grant competition and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition. Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 709(c) and 772. Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 81, 82, 84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The Office of Management and Budget Guidelines to Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 2 CFR part 180, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3485. (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3474. (d) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR parts 385 and 387. Note: The regulations in 34 CFR part 79 apply to all applicants except federally recognized Indian Tribes. Note: The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to institutions of higher education (IHEs) only. E:\FR\FM\05JYN1.SGM 05JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 129 / Friday, July 5, 2019 / Notices II. Award Information Type of Award: Discretionary grants. Estimated Available Funds: $2,700,000. Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in subsequent years from the list of unfunded applications from this competition. Estimated Range of Awards: $375,000–$450,000. Maximum Award: We will not make an award exceeding $450,000 for a single budget period of 12 months. Estimated Number of Awards: 6. organization’’ and ‘‘the relevance and demonstrated commitment of each partner in the proposed project to the implementation and success of the project,’’ which may include a consideration of demonstrated matching support. 3. Subgrantees: Under 34 CFR 75.708(b) and (c) a grantee under this competition may not award subgrants to entities to directly carry out project activities described in its application. Under 34 CFR 75.708(e), a grantee may contract for supplies, equipment, and other services in accordance with 2 CFR part 200. Note: The Secretary intends to fund a total of six projects in FY 2019 including one project from each of the five identified topic areas and one in the field-initiated area. As a result, the Secretary may fund applications out of rank order. IV. Application and Submission Information Note: The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice. Note: Under 34 CFR 75.562(c), an indirect cost reimbursement on a training grant is limited to the recipient’s actual indirect costs, as determined by its negotiated indirect cost rate agreement, or 8 percent of a modified total direct cost base, whichever amount is less. Indirect costs in excess of the limit may not be charged directly, used to satisfy matching or cost-sharing requirements, or charged to another Federal award. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Project Period: Up to 60 months. III. Eligibility Information 1. Eligible Applicants: States and public or private nonprofit agencies and organizations, including Indian Tribes and IHEs. 2. Cost Sharing or Matching: A grantee must contribute to the cost of a project under this program in an amount satisfactory to the Secretary. The part of the costs to be borne by the grantee is determined by the Secretary at the time of the grant award. For the purposes of this competition, the grantee is required to contribute at least 10 percent of the total cost of the project under this program. To calculate match, applicants may use the match-calculator available at: https://rsa.ed.gov/matchcalculator.cfm. The Secretary does not, as a general matter, anticipate waiving this requirement in the future. Furthermore, given the importance of matching funds to the long-term success of the project, eligible entities must identify appropriate matching funds in the proposed budget. Finally, the selection criteria include factors such as ‘‘the adequacy of support, including facilities, equipment, supplies, and other resources, from the applicant organization or the lead applicant VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Jul 03, 2019 Jkt 247001 1. Application Submission Instructions: Applicants are required to follow the Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the Federal Register on February 13, 2019 (84 FR 3768) and available at www.govinfo.gov/content/ pkg/FR-2019-02-13/pdf/2019-02206.pdf, which contain requirements and information on how to submit an application. 2. Submission of Proprietary Information: Given the types of projects that may be proposed in applications for the Rehabilitation Training: Innovative Rehabilitation Training Program, your application may include business information that you consider proprietary. In 34 CFR 5.11 we define ‘‘business information’’ and describe the process we use in determining whether any of that information is proprietary and, thus, protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552, as amended). Because we plan to make successful applications available to the public, you may wish to request confidentiality of business information. Consistent with Executive Order 12600, please designate in your application any information that you believe is exempt from disclosure under Exemption 4. In the appropriate Appendix section of your application, under ‘‘Other Attachments Form,’’ please list the page number or numbers on which we can find this information. For additional information please see 34 CFR 5.11(c). 3. Intergovernmental Review: This competition is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. However, under 34 CFR 79.8(a), we waive intergovernmental review in order to make an award by the end of FY 2019. PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 32141 4. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice. 5. Recommended Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III of the application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. We recommend that you (1) limit the application narrative to no more than 45 pages and (2) use the following standards: • A ‘‘page’’ is 8.5″ x 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides. • Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions, as well as all text in charts, tables, figures, and graphs. • Use a font that is either 12 point or larger or no smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch). • Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, Courier New, or Arial. The recommended page limit does not apply to Part I, the cover sheet; Part II, the budget section, including the narrative budget justification; Part IV, the assurances and certifications; or the one-page abstract, the resumes, the bibliography, or the letters of support. However, the recommended page limit does apply to all of the application narrative. 6. Notice of Intent to Apply: The Department will be able to review grant applications more efficiently if we know the approximate number of applicants that intend to apply. Therefore, we strongly encourage each potential applicant to notify us of their intent to submit an application. To do so, please email the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT with the subject line ‘‘Intent to Apply,’’ and include the applicant’s name and a contact person’s name and email address. Applicants that do not submit a notice of intent to apply may still apply for funding; applicants that do submit a notice of intent to apply are not bound to apply or bound by the information provided. V. Application Review Information 1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition are from 34 CFR 387.30 and 34 CFR 75.210, and are as follows: (a) Need for project and relevance to State-Federal rehabilitation service program. (10 points) (1) The Secretary considers the need for the proposed project. E:\FR\FM\05JYN1.SGM 05JYN1 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES 32142 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 129 / Friday, July 5, 2019 / Notices (2) In determining the need for the proposed project, the Secretary considers the extent to which the proposed project will prepare personnel for fields in which shortages have been demonstrated. (3) The Secretary reviews each application for information that shows that the proposed project appropriately relates to the mission of the StateFederal rehabilitation service program. (4) The Secretary looks for information that shows that the project can be expected either— (i) To increase the supply of trained personnel available to public and private agencies involved in the rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities; or (ii) To maintain and improve the skills and quality of rehabilitation personnel. (b) Quality of the project design. (25 points) (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the design of the proposed project. (2) In determining the quality of the design of the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors: (i) The extent to which the goals, objectives, and outcomes to be achieved by the proposed project are clearly specified and measurable. (ii) The extent to which performance feedback and continuous improvement are integral to the design of the proposed project. (c) Quality of project services. (25 points) (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the services to be provided by the proposed project. (2) In determining the quality of the services to be provided by the proposed project, the Secretary considers the quality and sufficiency of strategies for ensuring equal access and treatment for eligible project participants who are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability. (3) In addition, the Secretary considers the following factors: (i) The extent to which the training or professional development services to be provided by the proposed project are of sufficient quality, intensity, and duration to lead to improvements in practice among the recipients of those services. (ii) The extent to which the training or professional development services to be provided by the proposed project are likely to alleviate the personnel shortages that have been identified or are the focus of the proposed project. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Jul 03, 2019 Jkt 247001 (d) Quality of project personnel. (15 points) (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the personnel who will carry out the proposed project. (2) In determining the quality of the project personnel, the Secretary considers the extent to which the applicant encourages applications for employment from persons who are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability. (3) In addition, the Secretary considers the following factors: (i) The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, of the project director or principal investigator. (ii) The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, of key project personnel. (e) Adequacy of resources and quality of management plan. (15 points) (1) The Secretary considers the adequacy of resources for the proposed project. (2) In determining the adequacy of resources for the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors: (i) The adequacy of support, including facilities, equipment, supplies, and other resources, from the applicant organization or the lead applicant organization. (ii) The relevance and demonstrated commitment of each partner in the proposed project to the implementation and success of the project. (iii) The extent to which the costs are reasonable in relation to the number of persons to be served and to the anticipated results and benefits. (iv) The potential for the incorporation of project purposes, activities, or benefits into the ongoing program of the agency or organization at the end of the Federal funding. (3) The Secretary considers the quality of the management plan for the proposed project. (4) In determining the quality of the management plan for the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors: (i) The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly defined responsibilities, timelines, and milestones for accomplishing project tasks. (ii) The adequacy of procedures for ensuring feedback and continuous improvement in the operation of the proposed project. (f) Quality of project evaluation. (10 points) PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the evaluation to be conducted of the proposed project. (2) In determining the quality of the evaluation, the Secretary considers the following factors: (i) The extent to which the methods of evaluation are thorough, feasible, and appropriate to the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the proposed project. (ii) The extent to which the evaluation will provide guidance about effective strategies suitable for replication or testing in other settings. (iii) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide performance feedback and permit periodic assessment of progress toward achieving intended outcomes. 2. Review and Selection Process: We remind potential applicants that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the past performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous award, such as the applicant’s use of funds, achievement of project objectives, and compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may also consider whether the applicant failed to submit a timely performance report or submitted a report of unacceptable quality. In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary requires various assurances, including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23). 3. Risk Assessment and Specific Conditions: Consistent with 2 CFR 200.205, before awarding grants under this competition the Department conducts a review of the risks posed by applicants. Under 2 CFR 3474.10, the Secretary may impose specific conditions and, in appropriate circumstances, high-risk conditions on a grant if the applicant or grantee is not financially stable; has a history of unsatisfactory performance; has a financial or other management system that does not meet the standards in 2 CFR part 200, subpart D; has not fulfilled the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not responsible. 4. Integrity and Performance System: If you are selected under this competition to receive an award that over the course of the project period may exceed the simplified acquisition threshold (currently $250,000), under 2 CFR 200.205(a)(2) we must make a judgment about your integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards—that is, the risk posed E:\FR\FM\05JYN1.SGM 05JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 129 / Friday, July 5, 2019 / Notices jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES by you as an applicant—before we make an award. In doing so, we must consider any information about you that is in the integrity and performance system (currently referred to as the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS)), accessible through the System for Award Management. You may review and comment on any information about yourself that a Federal agency previously entered and that is currently in FAPIIS. Please note that, if the total value of your currently active grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from the Federal Government exceeds $10,000,000, the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 200, Appendix XII, require you to report certain integrity information to FAPIIS semiannually. Please review the requirements in 2 CFR part 200, Appendix XII, if this grant plus all the other Federal funds you receive exceed $10,000,000. VI. Award Administration Information 1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award Notification (GAN); or we may send you an email containing a link to access an electronic version of your GAN. We may notify you informally, also. If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, we notify you. 2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify administrative and national policy requirements in the application package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice. We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also incorporates your approved application as part of your binding commitments under the grant. 3. Open Licensing Requirements: Unless an exception applies, if you are awarded a grant under this competition, you will be required to openly license to the public grant deliverables created in whole, or in part, with Department grant funds. When the deliverable consists of modifications to pre-existing works, the license extends only to those modifications that can be separately identified and only to the extent that open licensing is permitted under the terms of any licenses or other legal restrictions on the use of pre-existing works. Additionally, a grantee or subgrantee that is awarded competitive grant funds must have a plan to VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Jul 03, 2019 Jkt 247001 disseminate these public grant deliverables. This dissemination plan can be developed and submitted after your application has been reviewed and selected for funding. For additional information on the open licensing requirements please refer to 2 CFR 3474.20. 4. Reporting: (a) If you apply for a grant under this competition, you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b). (b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary. If you receive a multiyear award, you must submit semiannual and annual performance reports that provide the most current performance and financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, please go to www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/ appforms/appforms.html. 5. Performance Measures: The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) directs Federal departments and agencies to improve the effectiveness of their programs by engaging in strategic planning, setting outcome-related goals for programs, and measuring program results against those goals. The performance measures for this program are as follows: (1) The number of individuals enrolled in the Innovative Rehabilitation Training program, by cohort, during the reporting period. (2) The number and percentage of individuals who successfully completed the Innovative Rehabilitation Training program, by cohort, during the reporting period. The GPRA measures are as follows: (1) The quality of the training developed, as measured by a panel of VR agencies. (2) The relevance of the training developed, as measured by a panel of VR agencies. (3) The usefulness of the training developed, as measured by a panel of VR agencies. Innovative Rehabilitation Training program grantees must submit the following quantitative and qualitative data in a semiannual and annual performance report: PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 32143 (a) Program activities that occurred during each fiscal year from October 1 to March 31 and projected program activities to occur from April 1 to September 30 should be included in the semiannual performance report. (b) Program activities that occur during years 2–5 from October 1 to September 30 should be included in the annual performance report. Annual project progress toward meeting project goals must be posted on the project website or university website. 6. Continuation Awards: In making a continuation award under 34 CFR 75.253, the Secretary considers, among other things: Whether a grantee has made substantial progress in achieving the goals and objectives of the project; whether the grantee has expended funds in a manner that is consistent with its approved application and budget; and, if the Secretary has established performance measurement requirements, the performance targets in the grantee’s approved application. In making a continuation award, the Secretary also considers whether the grantee is operating in compliance with the assurances in its approved application, including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23). VII. Other Information Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. You may access the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations at www.govinfo.gov. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site. You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit E:\FR\FM\05JYN1.SGM 05JYN1 32144 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 129 / Friday, July 5, 2019 / Notices your search to documents published by the Department. Johnny W. Collett, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. [FR Doc. 2019–14272 Filed 7–3–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Applications for New Awards; Rehabilitation Training: Rehabilitation Long-Term Training Program— Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling and Rehabilitation Training: Rehabilitation Long-Term Training Program—Rehabilitation Specialty Areas Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The mission of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) is to improve early childhood, educational, and employment outcomes and raise expectations for all people with disabilities, their families, their communities, and the Nation. The Department of Education (Department) is issuing a notice inviting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2019 for four separate competitions under the Rehabilitation Long-Term Training Program, Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) numbers 84.129B, 84.129H, 84.129P, and 84.129Q. The Long-Term Training Program will provide training in Rehabilitation Counseling (84.129B), Rehabilitation of Individuals Who Are Mentally Ill (84.129H), Rehabilitation of Individuals Who Are Blind or Have Vision Impairments (84.129P), and Rehabilitation of Individuals Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (84.129Q). Projects funded under any of these Rehabilitation Long-Term Training competitions must meet rigorous standards in order to provide rehabilitation professionals the knowledge, skills, and qualifications necessary to meet the current challenges facing State vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies and related agencies and to assist youth and adults with disabilities in achieving competitive integrated employment outcomes and independent living. This notice relates to the approved information collection under OMB control number 1820–0018. DATES: Applications Available: July 5, 2019. Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: August 5, 2019. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Jul 03, 2019 Jkt 247001 Pre-Application Webinar Information: No later than July 10, 2019, OSERS will post pre-recorded informational webinars designed to provide technical assistance to interested applicants. The webinars will be available at www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/rsa/ new-rsa-grants.html. Pre-Application Q&A Blog: No later than July 15, 2019, OSERS will open a blog where interested applicants may post questions about the application requirements for this competition and where OSERS will post answers to the questions received. OSERS will not respond to questions unrelated to the application requirements for this competition. The blog will be available at www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/rsa/ new-rsa-grants.html and will remain open until July 24, 2019. After the blog closes, applicants should direct questions to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. ADDRESSES: For the addresses for obtaining and submitting an application, please refer to our Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the Federal Register on February 13, 2019 (84 FR 3768) and available at www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-201902-13/pdf/2019-02206.pdf. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cassandra P. Shoffler, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 5122, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202–2800. Telephone: (202) 245–7827. Email: cassandra.shoffler@ed.gov. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1–800–877– 8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Full Text of Announcement I. Funding Opportunity Description Note: This notice invites applications for four separate competitions. For funding information regarding each of the four competitions, refer to the chart under Award Information in section II of this notice. Purpose of Program: The Rehabilitation Long-Term Training Program is designed to support projects that provide academic training in areas of personnel shortages identified by the Secretary to increase the number of personnel trained in providing VR services to individuals with disabilities. In FY 2019, the Department plans to make awards in four areas: Rehabilitation Counseling (84.129B), Rehabilitation of Individuals Who Are PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Mentally Ill (84.129H), Rehabilitation of Individuals Who Are Blind or Have Vision Impairments (84.129P), and Rehabilitation of Individuals Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (84.129Q). Projects must be operated in a manner consistent with nondiscrimination requirements contained in the U.S. Constitution and the Federal civil rights laws. Priorities: This notice includes two absolute priorities. Applicants for funding under CFDA number 84.129B (Rehabilitation Counseling) must meet Absolute Priority 1, and applicants for 84.129H (Rehabilitation of Individuals Who Are Mentally Ill), 84.129P (Rehabilitation of Individuals Who Are Blind or Have Vision Impairments), and 84.129Q (Rehabilitation of Individuals Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing) must meet Absolute Priority 2. Absolute Priority 1 is from the notice of final priority for this program published in the Federal Register on November 5, 2013 (78 FR 66271) (www.govinfo.gov/ content/pkg/FR-2013-11-05/pdf/201326500.pdf), and Absolute Priority 2 is from the notice of final priority published in the Federal Register on July 23, 2014 (79 FR 42680) (www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-201407-23/pdf/2014-17370.pdf). Absolute Priorities: For FY 2019, and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, these priorities are absolute priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3) we consider only applications that meet these priorities. These priorities are: Absolute Priority 1: Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling. Under this priority, the Department funds programs leading to a master’s degree in VR counseling. The goal of this priority is to increase the skills of VR counseling scholars so that upon successful completion they are prepared to effectively meet the needs and demands of consumers with disabilities and employers. Under this priority, applicants must: (a) Provide data on the current and projected employment needs and personnel shortages in State VR agencies and other related agencies as defined in 34 CFR 386.4 in their local area, region, and State, and describe how the proposed program will address those employment needs and personnel shortages. (b) Describe how the VR counseling program will provide rehabilitation counselors the skills and knowledge that will help ensure that the individuals with disabilities that they serve can meet current demands and E:\FR\FM\05JYN1.SGM 05JYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 129 (Friday, July 5, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 32135-32144]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-14272]



[[Page 32135]]

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


Applications for New Awards; Rehabilitation Training: Innovative 
Rehabilitation Training Program

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, 
Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The mission of the Office of Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) is to improve early childhood, 
educational, and employment outcomes and raise expectations for all 
people with disabilities, their families, their communities, and the 
Nation. The Department of Education (Department) is issuing a notice 
inviting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2019 for the Innovative 
Rehabilitation Training Program, Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance 
(CFDA) number 84.263C. The competition funds time-limited pilot 
demonstration projects to develop, refine, implement, evaluate, and 
disseminate innovative methods of training vocational rehabilitation 
(VR) personnel to support the work of the State VR agencies and the 
implementation of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by the 
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (Rehabilitation Act). In the 
FY 2019 competition, the Department is focusing on innovative 
rehabilitation training in the following areas: VR counseling, VR 
services to individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), VR 
services to individuals with intellectual disabilities, career 
assessment (also referred to as ``vocational evaluation'') for VR 
service recipients, employer engagement in the VR process, and field-
initiated projects in an area related to VR. This notice relates to the 
approved information collection under OMB control number 1820-0018.

DATES: 
    Applications Available: July 5, 2019.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: August 14, 2019.
    Pre-Application Webinar Information: No later than July 10, 2019, 
OSERS will post pre-recorded informational webinars designed to provide 
technical assistance to interested applicants. The webinars may be 
found at: www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/rsa/new-rsa-grants.html.
    Pre-Application Q&A Blog: No later than July 10, 2019, OSERS will 
open a blog where interested applicants may post questions about the 
application requirements for this competition and where OSERS will post 
answers to the questions received. OSERS will not respond to questions 
unrelated to the application requirements for this competition. The 
blog will be available at www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/rsa/new-rsa-grants.html and will remain open until July 24, 2019. After the blog 
closes, applicants should direct questions to the person listed under 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

ADDRESSES: For the addresses for obtaining and submitting an 
application, please refer to our Common Instructions for Applicants to 
Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the 
Federal Register on February 13, 2019 (84 FR 3768) and available at 
www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-02-13/pdf/2019-02206.pdf.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cassandra P. Shoffler, U.S. Department 
of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 5122, Potomac Center Plaza, 
Washington, DC 20202-2800. Telephone: (202) 245-7827. Email: 
[email protected].
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text 
telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-
800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Full Text of Announcement

I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose of Program: The Innovative Rehabilitation Training program 
is designed to develop (a) new types of training programs for 
rehabilitation personnel and to demonstrate the effectiveness of these 
new types of training programs for rehabilitation personnel in 
providing rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities; (b) 
new and improved methods of training rehabilitation personnel so that 
there may be a more effective delivery of rehabilitation services to 
individuals with disabilities by designated State rehabilitation 
agencies and designated State rehabilitation units or other public or 
non-profit rehabilitation service agencies or organizations; and (c) 
new innovative training programs for VR professionals and 
paraprofessionals to have a 21st-century understanding of the evolving 
labor force and the needs of individuals with disabilities so they can 
more effectively provide VR services to individuals with disabilities.
    Priority: This competition includes one absolute priority. We are 
establishing this priority for FY 2019 and any subsequent year in which 
we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this 
competition, in accordance with section 437(d)(1) of the General 
Education Provisions Act (GEPA), 20 U.S.C. 1232(d)(1).
    Absolute Priority: For FY 2019, and any subsequent year in which we 
make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this 
competition, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 
75.105(c)(3) we consider only applications that meet this priority.
    This priority is:
    Innovative Rehabilitation Training Projects.
    Background: The Innovative Rehabilitation Training priority aligns 
with the OSERS framework by funding projects designed to strengthen, 
improve, develop, and provide training to VR professionals and 
paraprofessionals serving students and youth with disabilities, parents 
and guardians of youth with disabilities, and adults with disabilities 
and to improve employment outcomes and raise expectations for all 
people with disabilities, their families, their communities, and the 
Nation. This priority is an example of a competition designed to foster 
flexible and affordable paths to obtaining knowledge and skills and to 
meet the unique needs of individuals with disabilities, as identified 
in the Secretary's priorities. Specifically, this priority requires 
grantees to develop current and, to the extent possible, evidence-based 
training modules for inclusion in rehabilitation counseling education 
programs and for use as stand-alone modules in order to develop or 
implement pathways to recognized postsecondary credentials and to 
provide work-based learning experiences such as apprenticeships, 
internships, and practica. Further, under this priority, grantees may 
help VR professionals and paraprofessionals learn how to meet the 
unique needs of individuals with disabilities; create or expand 
opportunities for students and youth receiving transition services; 
assist individuals with disabilities to obtain recognized postsecondary 
credentials, including postsecondary credentials in science, 
technology, engineering, mathematics, or computer science, as they 
pursue careers; and expand partnerships with appropriate entities, such 
as State VR agencies, State educational agencies, local educational 
agencies, schools, businesses, not-for-profit professional 
organizations, and organizations of, or representing, individuals with 
disabilities. This priority also involves promoting economic 
opportunity for individuals with disabilities. Projects must be 
operated in a manner consistent with nondiscrimination requirements 
contained in the U.S. Constitution and the Federal civil rights laws.

[[Page 32136]]

    With this priority, the Secretary intends to fund innovative 
rehabilitation training projects to develop, pilot, refine, implement, 
evaluate, and disseminate training to support the work of the State VR 
agencies and the implementation of the Rehabilitation Act, and to focus 
on training VR personnel. The Secretary intends to award one national 
project in each of the following topic areas: (1) VR counseling, (2) VR 
services to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), (3) VR 
services to individuals with intellectual disabilities, (4) career 
assessment for VR service recipients, and (5) employer engagement in 
the VR process. In addition, the Secretary intends to award one 
national project in a sixth topic area: a field-initiated project in an 
area related to VR. In the event that there are no applications 
submitted or deemed eligible to fund in Topic Areas 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 
the Secretary may fund more than one field-initiated project under 
Topic Area 6.
    With respect to Topic Area 1-VR counseling, according to the U.S. 
Department of Labor, the growth rate of rehabilitation counseling 
positions is faster than average, with a projected 13 percent growth in 
rehabilitation counseling positions from 2016 to 2026 (Bureau of Labor 
Statistics). According to the O*Net Summary Report for Rehabilitation 
Counselors, the projected growth in the field of VR counseling from 
2016 to 2026 is expected to be faster than average at 10 percent to 14 
percent, with 14,500 job openings projected by 2026. Further, the 
report indicates that the need for qualified VR counselors continues to 
exist and is driven strongly by impending retirements (O*NET, 2018).
    In addition, the Rehabilitation Act includes new expectations and 
job requirements for VR counselors. As a result, universities will need 
to modify their curricula and academic programs so that individuals 
graduating from VR academic programs are ready to meet these 
requirements and the needs of their clients with disabilities. New 
modules for training of working VR professionals and paraprofessionals 
will need to be developed.
    With respect to Topic Area 2--VR services to individuals with ASD, 
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Autism and 
Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network estimates that 
approximately 1 in 59 children has been identified with ASD (or 16.8 
per 1,000 8-year-olds). ASD is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, 
and socioeconomic groups and is about four times more common among boys 
than among girls (CDC, 2018).
    Further, there are gaps within the systems that support individuals 
with ASD. As an example, Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism 
(AFAA) noted that a 2008 study conducted in Florida by the Center for 
Autism and Related Disabilities showed that approximately 67 percent of 
the 200 families of 18- to 22-year-olds with autism surveyed did not 
have knowledge of transition services, 73 percent indicated they need 
help with their job, 63 percent need help with daily living, and 78 
percent did not know of agencies or professionals who can help them 
find work. The study also showed that while 74 percent of those 
surveyed want to work, only 19 percent were currently working. (AFAA, 
2014).
    State VR agencies serve individuals with ASD, and VR professionals 
and paraprofessionals need to be trained to provide services that meet 
their needs. According to the RSA-911, in program year (PY) 2017, State 
VR agencies determined 29,678 individuals with ASD to be eligible for 
VR services, served 43,841 individuals with ASD under individualized 
plans for employment (IPEs), and had 9,850 individuals with ASD exit 
the VR system in competitive integrated or supported employment. In 
addition, 13,793 individuals with ASD exited the VR system without 
employment after eligibility was determined or after an IPE was signed, 
9 individuals with ASD exited in noncompetitive or nonintegrated 
employment after an IPE was signed, and 96 individuals with ASD exited 
after they were determined ineligible for VR services (U.S. Department 
of Education, 2018).
    With respect to Topic Area 3--VR services to individuals with 
intellectual disabilities, the State VR agencies serve a large number 
of individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID), so VR professionals 
and paraprofessionals need to be trained to provide appropriate 
services to meet their needs. According to the RSA-911, in PY 2017, 
35.4 percent (338,757) of the individuals served by State VR agencies 
(957,082) were individuals with ID, including 36,183 who were 
determined eligible for VR services, 46,816 who had IPEs, and 13,586 
who exited the VR system in competitive integrated or supported 
employment. In addition, 22,187 individuals with ID exited the VR 
system without an employment outcome after eligibility was determined 
or after an IPE was signed, 9 individuals with ID exited in 
noncompetitive or nonintegrated employment after an IPE was signed, and 
135 individuals with ID exited after being determined ineligible for VR 
services (U.S. Department of Education, 2018).
    With respect to Topic Area 4--career assessment for VR service 
recipients, vocational evaluation is important for identifying and 
providing VR services that will enable individuals with disabilities to 
achieve employment outcomes consistent with their unique capabilities, 
interests, and informed choice. As defined by the Wilson Workforce and 
Rehabilitation Center, ``vocational evaluation is an educational 
process in which a client obtains greater self and work knowledge 
through participation in work activities designed to evaluate 
vocational skills, interests, and abilities. Clients learn about the 
functional impact of their disability in relation to their career 
options. They also learn about assistive technology and the devices and 
accommodations needed to remove barriers to employment. The evaluation 
process encourages personal involvement in career planning and 
development and empowers clients by increasing their self-confidence in 
career decision making'' (Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center, 
2018).
    According to the RSA-911, in PY 2017, 271,124 individuals received 
career assessment services from VR personnel. Given that career 
assessment services are essential when assisting VR consumers to 
identify their employment goals, it is critical that VR personnel 
remain current in their ability to provide career assessment services.
    With respect to Topic Area 5--employer engagement, the most recent 
amendments to the Rehabilitation Act included an enhanced focus on 
employer engagement. For example, the purpose section of the 
Rehabilitation Act was expanded to include increasing employment 
opportunities and employment outcomes for individuals with 
disabilities, including through encouraging meaningful input by 
employers and VR service providers on successful and prospective 
employment and placement strategies. The Rehabilitation Act also now 
allows VR agencies to provide training and services for employers who 
have hired or are interested in hiring individuals with disabilities 
under its programs. These services may include: (1) Providing training 
and technical assistance to employers regarding the employment of 
individuals with disabilities, including disability awareness and the 
requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and other 
employment-related laws; (2) working with employers to (a) provide 
opportunities for work-based learning

[[Page 32137]]

experiences, including internships, short-term employment, 
apprenticeships, and fellowships, and opportunities for pre-employment 
transition services, (b) recruit qualified applicants who are 
individuals with disabilities, (c) train employees who are individuals 
with disabilities, and (d) promote awareness of disability-related 
obstacles to continued employment; (3) providing consultation, 
technical assistance, and support to employers on workplace 
accommodations, assistive technology, and facilities and workplace 
access through collaboration with community partners and employers, 
across States and nationally, to enable the employers to recruit, job 
match, hire, and retain qualified individuals with disabilities who are 
recipients of VR services under the Rehabilitation Act, or who are 
applicants for such services; and (4) assisting employers with 
utilizing available financial support for hiring or accommodating 
individuals with disabilities. (Section 109 of the Rehabilitation Act.) 
State VR agencies are required to describe, in the State plan, how they 
will work with employers to identify competitive integrated employment 
opportunities and career exploration opportunities to provide VR 
services and transition services for youth with disabilities and 
students with disabilities. State VR agencies may engage with employers 
throughout the VR process, including at job placement, development of 
customized employment opportunities for individuals, and follow-up 
services.
    Given that employer engagement promotes increased employment 
opportunities for individuals with disabilities who are receiving VR 
services, it is critical that VR personnel remain current in their 
ability to work with and engage employers in the VR process, including 
employers representing the 21st-century labor market, to include in-
demand fields and fields related to science, technology, engineering, 
and mathematics (STEM) that meet the local labor market needs.
    Priority: The purpose of this priority is to fund projects designed 
to develop, pilot, refine, implement, evaluate, and disseminate new, or 
substantially improved, innovative rehabilitation training in six topic 
areas to support the work of the State VR agencies and the 
implementation of the Rehabilitation Act.
    The six topic areas are:
    (a) Topic Area 1--VR counseling.
    The most recent amendments to the Rehabilitation Act contained many 
changes that affect VR counseling. Therefore, a project in this topic 
area must review current VR counseling curricula used by universities 
and prepare, as appropriate, novel, innovative modules that 
universities can include to update the curricula and that can be used 
by a variety of trainers to provide short-term or other training to VR 
professionals and paraprofessionals. Projects must include information 
about training on how to--
    (1) Use evidence-based \1\ information and data in the VR process;
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    \1\ For the purposes of this priority, ``evidence-based'' means 
the proposed project component is supported, at a minimum, by 
evidence that demonstrates a rationale (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1), 
where a key project component included in the project's logic model 
(as defined in 34 CFR 77.1) is informed by research or evaluation 
findings that suggest the project component is likely to improve 
relevant outcomes (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1).
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    (2) Use labor market analyses in developing VR goals and providing 
informed choice to individuals with disabilities receiving VR services;
    (3) Engage the dual customers, that is, individuals with 
disabilities and employers;
    (4) Engage with other partners in the workforce development system, 
including, at a minimum, Workforce Development Boards or career 
centers, businesses or industry associations, training or educational 
institutions, and community-based organizations; and
    (5) Address changes resulting from the amendments to the 
Rehabilitation Act and other trends in the field related to service 
delivery, including, at a minimum, supported employment, pre-employment 
transition services, and customized employment.
    (b) Topic Area 2--VR services to individuals with ASD.
    To address the increasing numbers of individuals with ASD and to 
provide services designed to meet the unique needs of each individual 
with ASD, a project in this topic area must develop current and, to the 
extent possible, evidence-based training modules. These modules must be 
available for inclusion in VR counseling education programs and short-
term training for VR professionals and paraprofessionals, individuals 
studying to become VR professionals and paraprofessionals, and, as 
appropriate, representatives of individuals with disabilities, 
including parents, family members, guardians, advocates, and other 
authorized representatives. The subject of the training must be 
providing VR services to individuals with ASD, and, as appropriate, 
representatives of individuals with ASD, including parents, family 
members, guardians, advocates, and other authorized representatives.
    (c) Topic Area 3--VR services to individuals with ID.
    To address the large number of individuals with ID who are served 
by the VR agencies and to provide services designed to meet the unique 
needs of each individual with ID, a project in this topic area must 
develop current and, to the extent possible, evidence-based training 
modules for inclusion in rehabilitation counseling education programs 
and for use as stand-alone modules to provide short-term training for 
VR professionals, paraprofessionals, individuals studying to become VR 
professionals and paraprofessionals, and, as appropriate, 
representatives of individuals with disabilities, including parents, 
family members, guardians, advocates, and other authorized 
representatives. The subject of the training must be providing VR 
services to individuals with ID and, as appropriate, representatives of 
individuals with ID, including parents, family members, guardians, 
advocates, and other authorized representatives.
    (d) Topic Area 4--Career assessments for VR service recipients.
    To address the importance of vocational evaluation in identifying 
and providing VR services, a project in this topic area must develop 
current and, to the extent possible, evidence-based training modules 
for inclusion in rehabilitation counseling education programs and 
short-term training for VR professionals, paraprofessionals, 
individuals studying to become VR professionals and paraprofessionals, 
and, as appropriate, representatives of individuals with disabilities, 
including parents, family members, guardians, advocates, and other 
authorized representatives. The subject of the training must be 
providing career assessment VR services in the 21st-century labor 
market, including assessments for careers in in-demand fields and STEM, 
to meet local labor market needs.
    (e) Topic Area 5--Employer engagement in the VR process.
    To address the enhanced focus on employer engagement in the most 
recent amendments to the Rehabilitation Act, a project in this topic 
area must develop current and, to the extent possible, evidence-based 
training modules for inclusion in rehabilitation counseling education 
programs and short-term training for VR professionals, 
paraprofessionals, individuals studying to become VR professionals and 
paraprofessionals, and, as appropriate, representatives of individuals 
with disabilities, including parents, family members, guardians, 
advocates, and other authorized representatives. The subject of the 
training must be engaging employers in the VR process, including

[[Page 32138]]

employers in in-demand fields and STEM, to meet local labor market 
needs.
    (f) Topic Area 6--Field-initiated project in an area related to VR.
    Field-initiated projects must be designed to develop training for 
VR personnel in an area for which no training currently exists, enhance 
training in an area for which the existing training is no longer 
current or relevant, or enhance training in an area that has received 
increased emphasis under the Rehabilitation Act. In each case, 
applicants must provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate the need for 
the training in a proposed new topic area or, in areas for which there 
is existing training, demonstrate that the existing training is not 
adequately meeting the needs of VR professionals, paraprofessionals, 
and individuals studying to become VR professionals and 
paraprofessionals.

Application Requirements

    General Application Requirements:
    (a) Applicants must identify the specific topic area (1, 2, 3, 4, 
5, or 6) under which they are applying as part of the competition title 
on the application cover sheet (SF form 424, line 4).
    (b) Applicants may submit proposals under more than one topic area.
    (c) Applicants may combine more than one topic area, and these 
applications must be submitted under Topic Area 6--Field-initiated 
project.
    (d) For each topic area, applicants must develop a new training 
program, a substantially improved training program, and/or stand-alone 
modules to be incorporated into an existing academic degree program for 
educating VR counselors or other VR professionals and paraprofessionals 
and into short-term training for VR professionals. The training program 
or modules must be developed by the end of the first year of the 
project period and piloted, refined, implemented, evaluated, and 
disseminated in years two, three, four, and five of the project period. 
Applicants must describe a process for feedback and continuous 
improvement to ensure the training program or modules are refined 
throughout years two, three, four, and five. Applicants must provide 
adequate justification in their application if they determine 
additional time may be necessary to fully develop a curriculum and 
obtain input and feedback from key partners, relevant stakeholders, and 
individuals with disabilities.
    (e) The training must be of sufficient scope, intensity, and 
duration for VR professionals, paraprofessionals, and individuals 
studying to become VR professionals and paraprofessionals to achieve 
increased skill, knowledge, and competence in the topic area.

    Note:  Applications that propose only to continue existing 
training in these topic areas are not eligible for funding.

    Specific Application Requirements: In addition to meeting the 
absolute priority and the general application requirements, all 
applicants must meet the following specific application requirements:
    (a) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under 
``Need for Project and Relevance to State-Federal Rehabilitation 
Service Program,'' how--
    (1) The proposed project will address current and projected 
training needs and, if applicable, personnel shortages in the 
identified topic area in State VR agencies and related agencies 
nationally. Applicants must present data demonstrating such training 
needs and, if applicable, personnel shortages;
    (2) The proposed project will identify the evidence-based training 
and baseline data that currently exist in the topic area and describe 
why there is a need to establish innovative rehabilitation training 
modules in the identified area. In the event that an applicant proposes 
training in a topic area for which training does not currently exist or 
for which there are no baseline data, the applicant must explain the 
lack of training or reliable data and may report zero as a baseline; 
and
    (3) The proposed project will increase the number of trained VR 
professionals and paraprofessionals in the topic area. To address this 
requirement, the applicant must describe the competencies that VR 
professionals and paraprofessionals must demonstrate in order to 
provide high-quality services.
    (b) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under 
``Quality of Project Design,'' how--
    (1) The proposed project will actively engage consumers, consumer 
organizations, employers, and service providers, especially State VR 
agencies, in the proposed project, including project development, 
design, implementation, delivery of training, dissemination, 
sustainability planning, program evaluation, and other relevant areas 
as determined by the applicant;
    (2) The proposed project will develop, pilot, and refine new or 
enhanced modules for training of working VR professionals and 
paraprofessionals and individuals studying to become VR professionals 
and paraprofessionals in the topic area. The applicant must describe 
the scope of the proposed training to be developed, the mode of 
delivery, and the intended long-term outcome of the training;
    (3) The proposed project will provide training in person or via on-
line delivery to VR professionals, paraprofessionals, and individuals 
studying to become VR professionals and paraprofessionals;
    (4) The proposed project will identify the number of individuals 
proposed to be enrolled in the training program, by cohort, each year 
of the proposed project;
    (5) The proposed project will identify and partner with trainers 
who are certified and recognized in the topic area to develop and 
deliver the training;
    (6) The proposed project will use current research and evidence-
based practices. To address this requirement, the applicant must--
    (i) Describe how the proposed project will incorporate current 
research and evidence-based practices in the development and delivery 
of its products and training; and
    (ii) Describe how the proposed project will engage training 
recipients with different learning styles; and
    (7) The proposed project will conduct dissemination and 
coordination activities. To address this requirement, the applicant 
must--
    (i) Describe how the proposed project will disseminate information 
to VR agencies, related agencies, academic programs with VR counseling 
programs, and other training providers; disseminate information to VR 
professionals and paraprofessionals about training available in the 
topic area; broadly disseminate successful strategies for preparing VR 
professionals and paraprofessionals in the topic area; and disseminate 
information to individuals with disabilities, parents, family members, 
guardians, advocates, and authorized representatives via the RSA Parent 
Information and Training programs and the National Clearinghouse of 
Rehabilitation Training Materials, a state-of-the-art archiving and 
dissemination system that is open and available to the public and 
provides a central location for later use of training materials, 
including curricula, audiovisual materials, webinars, examples of 
emerging and evidence-based practices, and any other relevant material;
    (ii) Describe the process for submitting all materials to the 
National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials;

    Note:  All products produced by the grantees must meet 
government- and industry-recognized standards for

[[Page 32139]]

accessibility, including section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

    (iii) Describe its approach for incorporating the use of 
information technology (IT) into all aspects of the proposed project. 
The approach must include establishing and maintaining a state-of-the-
art IT platform that is sufficient to support webinars, 
teleconferences, video conferences, and other virtual methods for 
disseminating information. Proposed projects may either develop new 
platforms or systems or may modify existing platforms or systems, so 
long as the requirements of this priority are met; and
    (iv) Describe its approach for conducting coordination and 
collaboration activities. To meet this requirement, the applicant 
must--
    (A) Establish a community of practice \2\ in the topic area of 
training that focuses on the proposed project's activities and acts as 
a vehicle for communication and exchange of information among 
participants in the program and other relevant stakeholders;
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    \2\ A community of practice (CoP) is a group of people who work 
together to solve a persistent problem or to improve practice in an 
area that is important to them and who deepen their knowledge and 
expertise by interacting on an ongoing basis. CoPs exist in many 
forms, some large in scale that deal with complex problems, others 
small in scale that focus on a problem at a very specific level. See 
http://www.wintac.org/cop for examples of CoPs established through 
other RSA grants.
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    (B) Communicate, collaborate, and coordinate with other relevant 
Department-funded projects, as applicable;
    (C) Maintain ongoing communication with the RSA project officer and 
other RSA staff as required; and
    (D) Communicate, collaborate, and coordinate, as appropriate, with 
key staff in State VR agencies; State and local educational agencies 
and partner programs; organizations and associations of, or 
representing, individuals with disabilities; relevant RSA partner 
organizations and associations; and individuals with disabilities, 
parents, family members, guardians, advocates, and authorized 
representatives via the RSA Parent Information and Training programs 
and the National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials.
    (c) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under 
``Quality of Project Services,'' how--
    (1) The proposed project will ensure equal access and treatment for 
eligible proposed project participants who are members of groups that 
have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national 
origin, gender, age, or disability;
    (2) The proposed project will identify high-quality applicants for 
participation in the program, including any pre-assessments that may be 
used to determine the skill, knowledge base, and competence of the VR 
professionals and paraprofessionals and individuals studying to become 
VR professionals and paraprofessionals;
    (3) The proposed project will ensure that all training activities 
and materials are fully accessible;
    (4) The proposed project will enable VR professionals, 
paraprofessionals, and individuals studying to become VR professionals 
and paraprofessionals to participate in and successfully complete the 
training program, including participants who need to work while in the 
program, have child care or elder care considerations, or live in 
geographically isolated areas. The approach must emphasize innovative 
instructional delivery methods, such as distance learning or block 
scheduling (a type of academic scheduling that offers fewer classes per 
day for longer periods of time), which would allow working VR 
professionals, paraprofessionals, and individuals studying to become VR 
professionals and paraprofessionals to more easily participate in the 
program; and
    (5) The training will be of sufficient scope, intensity, and 
duration to adequately prepare VR professionals, paraprofessionals, and 
individuals studying to become VR professionals and paraprofessionals 
in the identified topic area. To address this requirement, the 
applicant must--
    (i) Describe the components of the training that will allow VR 
professionals, paraprofessionals, and individuals studying to become VR 
professionals and paraprofessionals to acquire and enhance the 
identified competencies;
    (ii) Describe the components of the training that will allow VR 
professionals, paraprofessionals, and individuals studying to become VR 
professionals and paraprofessionals to apply their content knowledge in 
a practical setting; and
    (iii) Describe how the proposed project will provide VR 
professionals, paraprofessionals, and individuals studying to become VR 
professionals and paraprofessionals with ongoing guidance and feedback 
throughout the training provided.
    (d) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under 
``Quality of Project Personnel,'' how--
    (1) The proposed project will encourage applications for employment 
with the project from persons who are members of groups that have 
historically been underrepresented based on race, color, national 
origin, gender, age, or disability; and
    (2) The proposed project director or principal investigator and 
other key proposed project personnel, consultants, and subcontractors 
have the qualifications and experience to develop and provide training 
to VR professionals and paraprofessionals in the topic area.

    Note:  While applicants may not hire staff or select trainees 
based on race or national origin/ethnicity, they may conduct 
outreach activities to increase the pool of eligible candidates from 
groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, 
color, national origin, gender, age, or disability. We will 
disqualify and not consider for funding any applicant that indicates 
that it will hire or train a certain number or percentage of 
candidates from groups that have traditionally been underrepresented 
based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability.

    (e) Demonstrate, in the narrative section of the application under 
``Adequacy of Resources and Quality of the Management Plan,'' how--
    (1) The applicant and any identified partners in the proposed 
project have an adequate commitment to the proposed project and the 
resources to carry out the proposed activities, and will contribute to 
the implementation and success of the proposed project;
    (2) The proposed project costs are reasonable in relation to the 
anticipated results and benefits;
    (3) The training will be continued after Federal funding ends;
    (4) The management plan will ensure that the proposed project's 
intended outcomes will be achieved on time and within budget. To meet 
this requirement, the applicant must--
    (i) Describe the defined responsibilities for key proposed project 
personnel, consultants, and subcontractors, as applicable, how these 
responsibilities will be allocated to the proposed project, and how 
these allocations are appropriate and adequate to achieve the proposed 
project's intended outcomes, including an assurance that such personnel 
will have adequate availability to ensure timely communications with 
stakeholders and RSA; and
    (ii) Describe the timelines and milestones for accomplishing the 
proposed project tasks;
    (5) The proposed project management plan will ensure that the 
products and services provided are of high quality; and
    (6) The proposed project will benefit from a diversity of 
perspectives, especially relevant partners, groups, and organizations 
described throughout this

[[Page 32140]]

notice, in its development and operation.
    (f) Describe, in the narrative section of the application under 
``Quality of the Project Evaluation,'' the evaluation plan for the 
proposed project. At a minimum, the proposed project must evaluate the 
quality of the proposed training modules; refine the training modules 
based on the evaluation outcomes; re-evaluate the refined training 
modules; provide guidance about effective strategies suitable for 
replication in other settings; and identify, track, and report the 
number of academic programs that adopt the content, State VR agencies 
and related agencies that use the content to train VR professionals and 
paraprofessionals, and other training entities that use the content to 
train VR professionals and paraprofessionals.
    To address this requirement, the applicant must--
    (1) Describe the evaluation mechanism for assessing the quality of 
the training developed and the iterative process to be used for 
improving the training based on evaluation outcomes;
    (2) Describe the approach, using pre- and post-assessments, for 
assessing the level of knowledge, skills, and competencies gained among 
participants;
    (3) Describe the measures of progress in implementation, including 
the extent to which the proposed project's activities and products have 
been adopted by academic programs or used by State VR agencies, related 
agencies, and other training entities, and the intended outcomes of the 
proposed project's activities in order to evaluate those activities and 
how well the goals and objectives of the proposed project, as described 
in its logic model,\3\ have been met;
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    \3\ As defined in 34 CFR 77.1, ``logic model'' (also referred to 
as a theory of action) means a framework that identifies key project 
components of the proposed project (i.e., the active ``ingredients'' 
that are hypothesized to be critical to achieving the relevant 
outcomes) and describes the theoretical and operational 
relationships among the key project components and relevant 
outcomes.
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    (4) Describe how the evaluation plan will be implemented and 
revised, as needed, during the proposed project. The applicant must 
designate at least one individual with sufficient dedicated time, 
experience in evaluation, and knowledge of the proposed project to 
coordinate the design and implementation of the evaluation, including 
designing instruments and developing quantitative or qualitative data 
collections that permit the collection of progress data and assessment 
of project outcomes. This includes coordination with any identified 
partners in the application and RSA to make revisions post-award to the 
logic model in order to reflect any changes or clarifications to the 
model and to the evaluation design and instrumentation;
    (5) Describe the standards and targets for determining 
effectiveness of the proposed project; and
    (6) Describe how evaluation results will provide performance 
feedback and permit periodic assessment of progress toward achieving 
intended outcomes.
    (h) Include in Appendix A the following--
    (1) A logic model that depicts, at a minimum, the goals, 
activities, outputs, and intended outcomes of the proposed project;
    (2) A person-loading chart and timeline, as applicable, to 
illustrate the management plan described in the narrative; and
    (3) A sustainability plan to ensure the training will continue 
after Federal funding ends.
    Fourth and Fifth Years of the Project: In deciding whether to 
continue funding each Innovative Rehabilitation Training project for 
the fourth and fifth years, the Department will consider the 
requirements of 34 CFR 75.253(a). In addition, as part of the review of 
the application narrative and annual performance reports, RSA will 
consider the degree to which the program demonstrates substantial 
progress toward completing the tasks outlined in the priority, with 
particular emphasis on the quality, relevance, and usefulness of the 
grantee's training program and activities, and the degree to which the 
training program and activities and their outcomes have contributed to 
significantly improving the quality of VR professionals and 
paraprofessionals employed in or ready for employment in State VR 
agencies and related agencies.

References

21-1015.00 Summary Report--Rehabilitation Counselors. National 
Center for O*NET Development. Rehabilitation Counselors. (2018). 
Retrieved from https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/21-1015.00www.onetonline.org/link/summary/21-1015.00.
Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism. (2014). Autism on the 
Rise. Retrieved from http://www.afaa-us.org/aboutwww.afaa-us.org/about.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational 
Outlook Handbook, Rehabilitation Counselors. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/rehabilitation-counselors.htm.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Autism Spectrum 
Disorder. (November 15, 2018). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.htmlwww.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html.
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services, Rehabilitation Services Administration. 
(2018). Case Service Report (RSA-911), PY 2017.
Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center: Vocational Evaluation 
Services. (January 18, 2018). Retrieved from https://www.wwrc.net/VocationalEvaluation.htmwww.wwrc.net/VocationalEvaluation.htm.

    Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking: Under the Administrative Procedure 
Act (5 U.S.C. 553) the Department generally offers interested parties 
the opportunity to comment on proposed priorities and requirements. 
Section 437(d)(1) of GEPA, however, allows the Secretary to exempt from 
rulemaking requirements regulations governing the first grant 
competition under a new or substantially revised program authority. 
This is the first grant competition for this program under section 302 
of the Rehabilitation Act (20 U.S.C. 772), and therefore qualifies for 
this exemption. In order to ensure timely grant awards, the Secretary 
has decided to forgo public comment on the priority and requirements 
under section 437(d)(1) of GEPA. This priority and these requirements 
will apply to the FY 2019 grant competition and any subsequent year in 
which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this 
competition.
    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 709(c) and 772.
    Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General 
Administrative Regulations in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 81, 82, 84, 86, 
97, 98, and 99. (b) The Office of Management and Budget Guidelines to 
Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 
2 CFR part 180, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department 
in 2 CFR part 3485. (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost 
Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 
200, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR 
part 3474. (d) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR parts 385 and 
387.

    Note:  The regulations in 34 CFR part 79 apply to all applicants 
except federally recognized Indian Tribes.


    Note:  The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to institutions 
of higher education (IHEs) only.


[[Page 32141]]



II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Discretionary grants.
    Estimated Available Funds: $2,700,000.
    Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of 
applications, we may make additional awards in subsequent years from 
the list of unfunded applications from this competition.
    Estimated Range of Awards: $375,000-$450,000.
    Maximum Award: We will not make an award exceeding $450,000 for a 
single budget period of 12 months.
    Estimated Number of Awards: 6.

    Note:  The Secretary intends to fund a total of six projects in 
FY 2019 including one project from each of the five identified topic 
areas and one in the field-initiated area. As a result, the 
Secretary may fund applications out of rank order.


    Note:  The Department is not bound by any estimates in this 
notice.


    Note:  Under 34 CFR 75.562(c), an indirect cost reimbursement on 
a training grant is limited to the recipient's actual indirect 
costs, as determined by its negotiated indirect cost rate agreement, 
or 8 percent of a modified total direct cost base, whichever amount 
is less. Indirect costs in excess of the limit may not be charged 
directly, used to satisfy matching or cost-sharing requirements, or 
charged to another Federal award.

    Project Period: Up to 60 months.

III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants: States and public or private nonprofit 
agencies and organizations, including Indian Tribes and IHEs.
    2. Cost Sharing or Matching: A grantee must contribute to the cost 
of a project under this program in an amount satisfactory to the 
Secretary. The part of the costs to be borne by the grantee is 
determined by the Secretary at the time of the grant award. For the 
purposes of this competition, the grantee is required to contribute at 
least 10 percent of the total cost of the project under this program. 
To calculate match, applicants may use the match-calculator available 
at: https://rsa.ed.gov/match-calculator.cfm. The Secretary does not, as 
a general matter, anticipate waiving this requirement in the future. 
Furthermore, given the importance of matching funds to the long-term 
success of the project, eligible entities must identify appropriate 
matching funds in the proposed budget. Finally, the selection criteria 
include factors such as ``the adequacy of support, including 
facilities, equipment, supplies, and other resources, from the 
applicant organization or the lead applicant organization'' and ``the 
relevance and demonstrated commitment of each partner in the proposed 
project to the implementation and success of the project,'' which may 
include a consideration of demonstrated matching support.
    3. Subgrantees: Under 34 CFR 75.708(b) and (c) a grantee under this 
competition may not award subgrants to entities to directly carry out 
project activities described in its application. Under 34 CFR 
75.708(e), a grantee may contract for supplies, equipment, and other 
services in accordance with 2 CFR part 200.

IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Application Submission Instructions: Applicants are required to 
follow the Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of 
Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the Federal 
Register on February 13, 2019 (84 FR 3768) and available at 
www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-02-13/pdf/2019-02206.pdf, which 
contain requirements and information on how to submit an application.
    2. Submission of Proprietary Information: Given the types of 
projects that may be proposed in applications for the Rehabilitation 
Training: Innovative Rehabilitation Training Program, your application 
may include business information that you consider proprietary. In 34 
CFR 5.11 we define ``business information'' and describe the process we 
use in determining whether any of that information is proprietary and, 
thus, protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the Freedom of 
Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552, as amended).
    Because we plan to make successful applications available to the 
public, you may wish to request confidentiality of business 
information.
    Consistent with Executive Order 12600, please designate in your 
application any information that you believe is exempt from disclosure 
under Exemption 4. In the appropriate Appendix section of your 
application, under ``Other Attachments Form,'' please list the page 
number or numbers on which we can find this information. For additional 
information please see 34 CFR 5.11(c).
    3. Intergovernmental Review: This competition is subject to 
Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. However, 
under 34 CFR 79.8(a), we waive intergovernmental review in order to 
make an award by the end of FY 2019.
    4. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding 
restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.
    5. Recommended Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III of 
the application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection 
criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. We recommend 
that you (1) limit the application narrative to no more than 45 pages 
and (2) use the following standards:
     A ``page'' is 8.5'' x 11'', on one side only, with 1'' 
margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
     Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) 
all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, 
footnotes, quotations, references, and captions, as well as all text in 
charts, tables, figures, and graphs.
     Use a font that is either 12 point or larger or no smaller 
than 10 pitch (characters per inch).
     Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, 
Courier New, or Arial.
    The recommended page limit does not apply to Part I, the cover 
sheet; Part II, the budget section, including the narrative budget 
justification; Part IV, the assurances and certifications; or the one-
page abstract, the resumes, the bibliography, or the letters of 
support. However, the recommended page limit does apply to all of the 
application narrative.
    6. Notice of Intent to Apply: The Department will be able to review 
grant applications more efficiently if we know the approximate number 
of applicants that intend to apply. Therefore, we strongly encourage 
each potential applicant to notify us of their intent to submit an 
application. To do so, please email the program contact person listed 
under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT with the subject line ``Intent to 
Apply,'' and include the applicant's name and a contact person's name 
and email address. Applicants that do not submit a notice of intent to 
apply may still apply for funding; applicants that do submit a notice 
of intent to apply are not bound to apply or bound by the information 
provided.

V. Application Review Information

    1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition 
are from 34 CFR 387.30 and 34 CFR 75.210, and are as follows:
    (a) Need for project and relevance to State-Federal rehabilitation 
service program. (10 points)
    (1) The Secretary considers the need for the proposed project.

[[Page 32142]]

    (2) In determining the need for the proposed project, the Secretary 
considers the extent to which the proposed project will prepare 
personnel for fields in which shortages have been demonstrated.
    (3) The Secretary reviews each application for information that 
shows that the proposed project appropriately relates to the mission of 
the State-Federal rehabilitation service program.
    (4) The Secretary looks for information that shows that the project 
can be expected either--
    (i) To increase the supply of trained personnel available to public 
and private agencies involved in the rehabilitation of individuals with 
disabilities; or
    (ii) To maintain and improve the skills and quality of 
rehabilitation personnel.
    (b) Quality of the project design. (25 points)
    (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the design of the 
proposed project.
    (2) In determining the quality of the design of the proposed 
project, the Secretary considers the following factors:
    (i) The extent to which the goals, objectives, and outcomes to be 
achieved by the proposed project are clearly specified and measurable.
    (ii) The extent to which performance feedback and continuous 
improvement are integral to the design of the proposed project.
    (c) Quality of project services. (25 points)
    (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the services to be 
provided by the proposed project.
    (2) In determining the quality of the services to be provided by 
the proposed project, the Secretary considers the quality and 
sufficiency of strategies for ensuring equal access and treatment for 
eligible project participants who are members of groups that have 
traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national 
origin, gender, age, or disability.
    (3) In addition, the Secretary considers the following factors:
    (i) The extent to which the training or professional development 
services to be provided by the proposed project are of sufficient 
quality, intensity, and duration to lead to improvements in practice 
among the recipients of those services.
    (ii) The extent to which the training or professional development 
services to be provided by the proposed project are likely to alleviate 
the personnel shortages that have been identified or are the focus of 
the proposed project.
    (d) Quality of project personnel. (15 points)
    (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the personnel who will 
carry out the proposed project.
    (2) In determining the quality of the project personnel, the 
Secretary considers the extent to which the applicant encourages 
applications for employment from persons who are members of groups that 
have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national 
origin, gender, age, or disability.
    (3) In addition, the Secretary considers the following factors:
    (i) The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, 
of the project director or principal investigator.
    (ii) The qualifications, including relevant training and 
experience, of key project personnel.
    (e) Adequacy of resources and quality of management plan. (15 
points)
    (1) The Secretary considers the adequacy of resources for the 
proposed project.
    (2) In determining the adequacy of resources for the proposed 
project, the Secretary considers the following factors:
    (i) The adequacy of support, including facilities, equipment, 
supplies, and other resources, from the applicant organization or the 
lead applicant organization.
    (ii) The relevance and demonstrated commitment of each partner in 
the proposed project to the implementation and success of the project.
    (iii) The extent to which the costs are reasonable in relation to 
the number of persons to be served and to the anticipated results and 
benefits.
    (iv) The potential for the incorporation of project purposes, 
activities, or benefits into the ongoing program of the agency or 
organization at the end of the Federal funding.
    (3) The Secretary considers the quality of the management plan for 
the proposed project.
    (4) In determining the quality of the management plan for the 
proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:
    (i) The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives 
of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly 
defined responsibilities, timelines, and milestones for accomplishing 
project tasks.
    (ii) The adequacy of procedures for ensuring feedback and 
continuous improvement in the operation of the proposed project.
    (f) Quality of project evaluation. (10 points)
    (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the evaluation to be 
conducted of the proposed project.
    (2) In determining the quality of the evaluation, the Secretary 
considers the following factors:
    (i) The extent to which the methods of evaluation are thorough, 
feasible, and appropriate to the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the 
proposed project.
    (ii) The extent to which the evaluation will provide guidance about 
effective strategies suitable for replication or testing in other 
settings.
    (iii) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide 
performance feedback and permit periodic assessment of progress toward 
achieving intended outcomes.
    2. Review and Selection Process: We remind potential applicants 
that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, 
the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the past 
performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous award, such as 
the applicant's use of funds, achievement of project objectives, and 
compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may also consider 
whether the applicant failed to submit a timely performance report or 
submitted a report of unacceptable quality.
    In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary 
requires various assurances, including those applicable to Federal 
civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or 
activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department 
(34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).
    3. Risk Assessment and Specific Conditions: Consistent with 2 CFR 
200.205, before awarding grants under this competition the Department 
conducts a review of the risks posed by applicants. Under 2 CFR 
3474.10, the Secretary may impose specific conditions and, in 
appropriate circumstances, high-risk conditions on a grant if the 
applicant or grantee is not financially stable; has a history of 
unsatisfactory performance; has a financial or other management system 
that does not meet the standards in 2 CFR part 200, subpart D; has not 
fulfilled the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not 
responsible.
    4. Integrity and Performance System: If you are selected under this 
competition to receive an award that over the course of the project 
period may exceed the simplified acquisition threshold (currently 
$250,000), under 2 CFR 200.205(a)(2) we must make a judgment about your 
integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal 
awards--that is, the risk posed

[[Page 32143]]

by you as an applicant--before we make an award. In doing so, we must 
consider any information about you that is in the integrity and 
performance system (currently referred to as the Federal Awardee 
Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS)), accessible 
through the System for Award Management. You may review and comment on 
any information about yourself that a Federal agency previously entered 
and that is currently in FAPIIS.
    Please note that, if the total value of your currently active 
grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from the 
Federal Government exceeds $10,000,000, the reporting requirements in 2 
CFR part 200, Appendix XII, require you to report certain integrity 
information to FAPIIS semiannually. Please review the requirements in 2 
CFR part 200, Appendix XII, if this grant plus all the other Federal 
funds you receive exceed $10,000,000.

VI. Award Administration Information

    1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your 
U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award 
Notification (GAN); or we may send you an email containing a link to 
access an electronic version of your GAN. We may notify you informally, 
also.
    If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, 
we notify you.
    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify 
administrative and national policy requirements in the application 
package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable 
Regulations section of this notice.
    We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of 
an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and 
include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also 
incorporates your approved application as part of your binding 
commitments under the grant.
    3. Open Licensing Requirements: Unless an exception applies, if you 
are awarded a grant under this competition, you will be required to 
openly license to the public grant deliverables created in whole, or in 
part, with Department grant funds. When the deliverable consists of 
modifications to pre-existing works, the license extends only to those 
modifications that can be separately identified and only to the extent 
that open licensing is permitted under the terms of any licenses or 
other legal restrictions on the use of pre-existing works. 
Additionally, a grantee or subgrantee that is awarded competitive grant 
funds must have a plan to disseminate these public grant deliverables. 
This dissemination plan can be developed and submitted after your 
application has been reviewed and selected for funding. For additional 
information on the open licensing requirements please refer to 2 CFR 
3474.20.
    4. Reporting: (a) If you apply for a grant under this competition, 
you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and 
systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 
should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply 
if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b).
    (b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final 
performance report, including financial information, as directed by the 
Secretary. If you receive a multiyear award, you must submit semiannual 
and annual performance reports that provide the most current 
performance and financial expenditure information as directed by the 
Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more 
frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific 
requirements on reporting, please go to www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.
    5. Performance Measures: The Government Performance and Results Act 
of 1993 (GPRA) directs Federal departments and agencies to improve the 
effectiveness of their programs by engaging in strategic planning, 
setting outcome-related goals for programs, and measuring program 
results against those goals.
    The performance measures for this program are as follows:
    (1) The number of individuals enrolled in the Innovative 
Rehabilitation Training program, by cohort, during the reporting 
period.
    (2) The number and percentage of individuals who successfully 
completed the Innovative Rehabilitation Training program, by cohort, 
during the reporting period.
    The GPRA measures are as follows:
    (1) The quality of the training developed, as measured by a panel 
of VR agencies.
    (2) The relevance of the training developed, as measured by a panel 
of VR agencies.
    (3) The usefulness of the training developed, as measured by a 
panel of VR agencies.
    Innovative Rehabilitation Training program grantees must submit the 
following quantitative and qualitative data in a semiannual and annual 
performance report:
    (a) Program activities that occurred during each fiscal year from 
October 1 to March 31 and projected program activities to occur from 
April 1 to September 30 should be included in the semiannual 
performance report.
    (b) Program activities that occur during years 2-5 from October 1 
to September 30 should be included in the annual performance report.

Annual project progress toward meeting project goals must be posted on 
the project website or university website.
    6. Continuation Awards: In making a continuation award under 34 CFR 
75.253, the Secretary considers, among other things: Whether a grantee 
has made substantial progress in achieving the goals and objectives of 
the project; whether the grantee has expended funds in a manner that is 
consistent with its approved application and budget; and, if the 
Secretary has established performance measurement requirements, the 
performance targets in the grantee's approved application.
    In making a continuation award, the Secretary also considers 
whether the grantee is operating in compliance with the assurances in 
its approved application, including those applicable to Federal civil 
rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities 
receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department (34 CFR 
100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

VII. Other Information

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format 
(e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to 
the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT.
    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this 
document is the document published in the Federal Register. You may 
access the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of 
Federal Regulations at www.govinfo.gov. At this site you can view this 
document, as well as all other documents of this Department published 
in the Federal Register, in text or Portable Document Format (PDF). To 
use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at 
the site.
    You may also access documents of the Department published in the 
Federal Register by using the article search feature at 
www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit

[[Page 32144]]

your search to documents published by the Department.

Johnny W. Collett,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 2019-14272 Filed 7-3-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P