Applications for New Awards; Rehabilitation Training: Disability Innovation Fund-Career Advancement Initiative Model Demonstration Project, 1092-1099 [2021-00149]

Download as PDF 1092 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 4 / Thursday, January 7, 2021 / Notices information from the public, governmental agencies, Tribes, the scientific community, industry, environmental entities, and any other interested parties concerning the status of staghorn coral, elkhorn coral, pillar coral, rough cactus coral, lobed star coral, mountainous star coral, and boulder star coral. The 5-year review considers the best scientific and commercial data and all new information that has become available since the listing determination or most recent status review. Categories of requested information include (A) species biology including, but not limited to, population trends, distribution, abundance, demographics, and genetics; (B) habitat conditions including, but not limited to, amount, distribution, and suitability; (C) conservation measures that have been implemented that benefit the species; (D) status and trends of threats; and (E) other new information, data, or corrections including, but not limited to, taxonomic or nomenclature changes and improved analytical methods. If you wish to provide information for this 5-year review, you may submit your information and materials electronically at www.regulations.gov or via email (see ADDRESSES section). We request that all information be accompanied by supporting documentation such as maps, bibliographic references, or reprints of pertinent publications. We also would appreciate the submitter’s name, address, and any association, institution, or business that the person represents; however, anonymous submissions will also be accepted. (Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) Dated: January 4, 2021. Angela Somma, Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2021–00032 Filed 1–6–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Applications for New Awards; Rehabilitation Training: Disability Innovation Fund—Career Advancement Initiative Model Demonstration Project Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education. ACTION: Notice. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES AGENCY: The U.S. Department of Education (Department) is issuing a notice inviting applications for fiscal SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:12 Jan 06, 2021 Jkt 253001 year (FY) 2021 for the Disability Innovation Fund—Career Advancement Initiative Model Demonstration Project, Assistance Listing Number 84.421C. The Department intends to fund a multi-site model demonstration project designed to assist State vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies, in partnership with other entities, to develop career pathways focused on career advancement. This competition will help VR-eligible individuals with disabilities, including previously served VR participants in employment who re-enter the VR program, to advance in high-demand, high-quality careers, such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), including computer science, careers; to enter career pathways in industry-driven sectors through preapprenticeships, registered apprenticeships and Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP); to improve and maximize competitive integrated employment outcomes, economic self-sufficiency, independence, and inclusion in society; and to reduce reliance on public benefits (e.g., Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and/or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and State or local benefits). This notice relates to the approved information collection under OMB control number 1820–0018. DATES: Applications Available: January 7, 2021. Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: April 7, 2021. Date of Pre-Application Meeting: The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) will post a PowerPoint presentation that provides general information about the Rehabilitation Services Administration’s (RSA) discretionary grants and a PowerPoint presentation specifically about the Disability Innovation Fund— Career Advancement Initiative Model Demonstration Projects at https:// ncrtm.ed.gov/RSAGrantInfo.aspx. OSERS will conduct a pre-application meeting specific to this competition via conference call to respond to questions. Information about the pre-application meeting will be available at https:// ncrtm.ed.gov/RSAGrantInfo.aspx prior to the date of the call. OSERS invites you to send questions to 84.421C@ ed.gov in advance of the pre-application meeting. The teleconference information, including the 84.421C preapplication meeting summary of the questions and answers, will be available at https://ncrtm.ed.gov/ PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 RSAGrantInfo.aspx within six days after the pre-application meeting. Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: May 7, 2021. 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 5065A, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202–2800. Telephone: (202) 245–7827. Email: 84.421C@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 purpose of the Disability Innovation Fund (DIF) Program, as provided by the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (Pub. L. 116–94), is to support innovative activities aimed at improving the outcomes of individuals with disabilities, as defined in section 7(20)(B) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, including activities aimed at improving the education and post-school outcomes of children receiving SSI and their families that may result in long-term improvement in the SSI child recipient’s economic status and self-sufficiency. Priorities: This competition contains an absolute priority and an invitational priority. We are establishing the absolute priority for the FY 2021 grant competition, 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: This priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet this priority. This priority is: Career Advancement Initiative Model Demonstration Project. Background: Though always permissible under the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program, the amendments to the Rehabilitation E:\FR\FM\07JAN1.SGM 07JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 4 / Thursday, January 7, 2021 / Notices Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act) made by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) clarified and emphasized that individuals with disabilities were eligible for VR services for the purpose of advancing in employment. Among the stated purposes of WIOA, Congress included— jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES To improve the quality and labor market relevance of workforce investment, education, and economic development efforts to provide America’s workers with the skills and credentials necessary to secure and advance in employment with familysustaining wages. WIOA Section 2, Paragraph (3); 29 U.S.C. 3101(3) (emphasis added). As such, the VR program is not solely intended to place individuals with disabilities in entry-level jobs, but, rather, to assist them to obtain, retain, advance in, or regain employment, consistent with their unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, and informed choice, through the services and supports identified on their individualized plans for employment (IPE). While the VR program has a long history of helping individuals with disabilities secure employment, there is room for improvement in helping individuals with disabilities move off of public benefits and advance in employment, which as used in section 102(a)(1)(B) of the Rehabilitation Act, includes both advancing within current employment and advancing into new employment. Our examination of RSA–911 data for program year (PY) 2019, located at https://rsa.ed.gov/performance-data/ rsa-911-policy-directive, demonstrates that, of 361,421 new applicants, 105,760 (29 percent) reported their primary source of support as SSI, SSDI, or TANF. Of the 128,866 individuals who exited the VR program in competitive integrated employment (CIE), 15,233 (12 percent) indicated that their primary source of support was still SSI, SSDI, or TANF. The U.S. Department of Labor Federal Minimum Wage website, https:// www.dol.gov/general/topic/wages/ minimumwage, indicates that the Federal minimum wage for covered nonexempt employees is $7.25 per hour. There are numerous States with minimum wage laws. In cases where an employee is subject to both the State and Federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher of the two minimum wages. Participants who exited the VR program in CIE reported a median wage of $12 per hour and median 30 hours worked per week. Approximately 80 percent of VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:12 Jan 06, 2021 Jkt 253001 participants earned less than $17 per hour. Of the 128,866 individuals who exited the VR program in CIE, 28,926 (22 percent) indicated that they had private insurance through their employer and 3,309 (3 percent) indicated that they were not yet eligible for private insurance through their employer. The 10 most common occupations, reported by fully one third of the participants who exited in CIE, were: 1. Stock Clerks and Order Fillers; 2. Customer Service Representatives; 3. Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners; 4. Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand; 5. Retail Salespersons; 6. Cashiers; 7. Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, including Fast Food; 8. Food Preparation Workers; 9. Production Workers, All Other; and 10. Dishwashers. Wages at this level, in combination with less than full-time work in these positions and without employerprovided medical benefits, provide little opportunity for individuals to reduce their reliance on public benefits (e.g., SSI, SSDI, and/or TANF, and State or local benefits), and the wages suggest that there is room for many individuals with disabilities to advance in employment and their careers. To emphasize the point, individuals who earned $20 per hour or more reported their top five occupations as: 1. Registered Nurses; 2. Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers; 3. Managers, All Other; 4. Teachers and Instructors, All Other; and 5. Accountants and Auditors. The Department believes that career pathways provide a mechanism for VR agencies to assist VR eligible individuals with disabilities, including previously served VR participants in employment who re-enter the VR program, to obtain or advance in employment or change careers. In FY 2015, RSA awarded four Career Pathways for Individuals with Disabilities projects under the Demonstration and Training program. Early results from States that received these awards are encouraging. In 2015, Nebraska VR created the Career Pathways Advancement Project and employed the upskill/backfill model of career pathways advancement for their former VR participants in five career pathways based upon the State’s economy’s needs: Information Technology; Manufacturing; Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics; Healthcare; and Architecture/ Construction (Moore, D., Haines, K., PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 1093 Drudik, J., Arter, Z., and Foley, S. (2020). Upskill/Backfill Model of Career Pathways Advancement: The Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation Approach. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 51(3), 1–14). The results of Nebraska’s project demonstrate that this model does assist former clients in advancing in their careers, as well as obtaining CIE that comes with higher income and benefits (Moore et al., 2020). As former clients are increasing their skills or ‘‘getting upskilled’’ (e.g., through credentialed training programs) and advancing in their careers, new clients can fill the newly vacated positions (Moore et al., 2020). In Georgia, the project focused on expanding pre-employment transition services to students with disabilities and transition services to VR eligible students, thereby increasing the number of participants who achieved a recognized post-secondary credential from 12 in FY 2016 to 353 in FY 2020. In Kentucky, the focus was on career pathways STEM events, employer engagement, and workforce partnerships, which resulted in an increase in employment outcomes from 168 in FY 2017 to 294 in FY 2019. In Virginia, the focus was on sustainable strategies, including business-driven strategies and credential training, which resulted in an increase in the number of credentials obtained from 8 in FY 2016 to 56 in FY 2020 and an increase in the number of individuals whose cases were closed in competitive integrated employment outcomes from 7 in FY 2016 to 32 in FY 2020. Further, Congress made career pathways a necessary, if not foundational, part of WIOA’s workforce reforms. States, for example, are required to include career pathways in their workforce development systems, WIOA section 101(d)(3)(B); career pathways are required in training programs, WIOA section 101(d)(5)(C); and local workforce development boards are required to include career pathways in their local plans, WIOA sections 107(d)(5), 108(b)(3). As earning a degree or certificate may be part of a successful career pathway, RSA–911 data show that while many VR customers are pursuing degrees or certificates, there are opportunities for many more to do so. Of the 875,275 individuals in receipt of VR services through an IPE during PY 2019, 154,239 participants (18 percent) were enrolled in some form of postsecondary education or career/technical training, 80,916 (9 percent) received either Associate, Bachelor, or Graduate School training, 31,258 (4 percent) received vocational training and 194 participants E:\FR\FM\07JAN1.SGM 07JAN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 1094 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 4 / Thursday, January 7, 2021 / Notices were taking part in Registered Apprenticeship Training. This competition will provide an opportunity and flexibility for a State VR agency, given additional funding and the full range of resources available through the VR program, to demonstrate the effectiveness of providing the career pathways services needed by VReligible individuals, including those participating in the VR program and those who are not receiving services in the VR program for reasons such as assignment to closed priority categories under an order of selection. This includes previously served VR participants in employment who reenter the VR program, to obtain, change careers to, advance in, or maximize employment in fields that provide a true living wage and freedom from public support. VR agencies, whether applying alone or in a consortium with multiple State VR agencies, must implement career advancement initiative model demonstration projects by establishing career pathway and work-based learning partnerships with employers, community colleges and postsecondary institutions, entities that make up the workforce development systems, entities that provide registered apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships and IRAPs, comprehensive rehabilitation centers, local or State educational agencies (LEAs or SEAs), and providers or other Federal or State agencies (i.e., State Apprenticeships Programs, Employment Networks under Social Security, Department of Labor, etc.), as appropriate to the career pathway or pathways chosen and the industries or types of professions served. The models must be implemented at multiple local sites to ensure replicability and delivered through a coordinated system. Assistance to individuals could include, as appropriate for the individual, pre-apprenticeship, registered apprenticeship and IRAP training or postsecondary training and graduate-level postsecondary education, registered apprenticeships in formal trades, other work-based learning experiences, community college and technical college education and training, or other appropriate training and education opportunities to achieve the advancement in employment specified as the individual’s vocational goal. In sum, this competition is designed to help VR-eligible individuals with disabilities, including previously served VR participants in employment who reenter the VR program, to advance in or change to high-demand, high-quality VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:12 Jan 06, 2021 Jkt 253001 careers, such as STEM careers.1 This also includes individuals who enter career pathways in industry-driven sectors through pre-apprenticeships, registered apprenticeships and IRAPs; to improve and maximize CIE outcomes, economic self-sufficiency, independence, and inclusion in society; and to reduce reliance on public benefits (e.g., Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)). Priority: This priority establishes model demonstration projects in which State vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies, whether applying alone or in a consortium, by developing and using career pathways, will assist VR eligible individuals with disabilities, including previously served VR participants in employment who re-enter the VR program, to advance in their careers. Projects should help these individuals obtain promotional opportunities with a current employer or a different employer; obtain additional responsibility and compensation by advancing in a formal career or job series; obtain industry recognized credentials that result in additional responsibilities, compensation, and benefits; improve and maximize CIE outcomes, economic self-sufficiency, independence, and inclusion in society; and/or reduce reliance on public benefits (e.g., SSI, SSDI, and/or TANF, and State or local benefits). As used in this competition, career pathway means a combination of rigorous and high-quality education, training, and other services that— (a) Aligns with the skill needs of industries in the economy of the State or regional economy involved; (b) Prepares an individual to be successful in any of a full range of secondary or postsecondary education options, including apprenticeships registered under the Act of August 16, 1937 (commonly known as the ‘‘National Apprenticeship Act’’; 50 Stat. 664, chapter 663; 29 U.S.C. 50 et seq.); (c) Includes counseling to support an individual in achieving the individual’s education and career goals; (d) Includes, as appropriate, education offered concurrently with and in the same context as workforce preparation activities and training for a 1 This competition is aligned with the aims of the Federal Government’s five-year strategic plan for STEM education entitled Charting A Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education (Plan) published in December 2018, including the Plan’s overarching goal to Increase Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEM. https:// www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/ STEM-Education-Strategic-Plan-2018.pdf. PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 specific occupation or occupational cluster; (e) Organizes education, training, and other services to meet the particular needs of an individual in a manner that accelerates the educational and career advancement of the individual to the extent practicable; (f) Enables, as appropriate, an individual to attain a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent, and at least one recognized postsecondary credential; and (g) Helps an individual enter or advance within a specific occupation or occupational cluster (i.e., a group of occupations and broad industries based on common knowledge and skills, job requirements, or worker characteristics). Project Requirements: Under this priority, the model demonstration proposed by an applicant must, at a minimum— (a) Develop and implement a collaborative model that demonstrates a rationale 2 in the use of career pathways to enable VR eligible individuals with disabilities, including previously served VR participants in employment who reenter the VR program, to advance in their careers, such as obtaining promotional opportunities with a current employer or a different employer; obtaining additional responsibility and compensation by advancing in a formal career or job series; increasing the number of hours worked; and obtaining industry recognized credentials that result in additional responsibilities, compensation, and benefits; (1) The model project must involve providing access to existing career pathways, creating a new pathway, or both; (2) The model project must propose multiple partnerships and multiple pathways to serve different populations, provided that the applicant identify any separate personnel, activities, and budgets; (3) The model project must propose to serve diverse geographic regions, including urban, suburban, rural and Tribal communities, if applicable. (b) Establish partnerships between the VR agencies and appropriate employers, agencies, and entities that are critical to the development of the career pathway or pathways used in the model. These partnerships could include two-year and four-year institutions of higher education, American Job Centers, and 2 For purposes of this priority, ‘‘demonstrates a rationale’’ means a key project component included in the project’s logic model 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. E:\FR\FM\07JAN1.SGM 07JAN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 4 / Thursday, January 7, 2021 / Notices other workforce training providers, such as registered apprenticeship and preapprenticeship providers, comprehensive support service providers, and on-the-job and customized training providers); (c) Include the following career pathway components: (1) Alignment of secondary and postsecondary education, training, and employment, such as skilled trades and STEM careers important to local, regional, or State economies; (2) Rigorous, sequential, connected, and efficient curricula that connect education and skills training courses and that integrate education with training, as appropriate; (3) Multiple entry and exit points for VR participants entering and exiting training; (4) Comprehensive, coordinated and personalized support services that are designed to ensure the individual’s success in completing education and training programs: (i) Financial literacy, benefits counseling, childcare, physical health and mental health services and transportation; (ii) Educational supports (e.g., tutors, on-campus supports such as writing labs, math labs, and disability services); (iii) Self-advocacy training (e.g., mentoring, peer relationships, understanding how to request services and supports); and (iv) Appropriate assistive technology services and devices; (5) Flexible design of education and training programs and services to meet the particular needs of VR participants, including flexible work schedules, alternative class times and locations, and the innovative use of technology; and (6) Education and training programs that focus on advancing in employment and are designed to develop the following knowledge and skills: (i) Comprehensive career development counseling and guidance, including self-exploration and career exploration and career planning and management; (ii) Career and technical skills leading to advancement in careers, including the skilled trades and STEM careers; and (iii) Soft skills (e.g., understanding, communication, teamwork, networking, problem solving, critical thinking and professionalism, learning styles, identifying strengths and weaknesses); (d) Collaborate with other federally funded career pathway initiatives conducting activities relevant to the work of its proposed project; and (e) Develop and conduct an evaluation of the project’s performance VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:12 Jan 06, 2021 Jkt 253001 that documents the relationship between participants’ engagement with or use of specific practices and strategies implemented by the project and key outcomes. Application Requirements: Under this priority, to be considered for funding, an application must include the following: (a) A detailed review of the literature that supports the potential effectiveness of the proposed model, its components, and processes to improve career advancement for individuals with disabilities; (b) A logic model that communicates how the demonstration project will achieve its outcomes and provides a framework for project evaluation. The logic model must: (1) Depict, at a minimum, the goals, activities, outputs, and outcomes of the proposed model demonstration project; and (2) Demonstrate how the specific career pathways components developed and implemented in the project are thought to affect project outcomes. Project activities that demonstrate a rationale and are depicted in the logic model must be specifically noted; (c) A description of the applicant’s plan, methods, and criteria for implementing the project, including a description of— (1) A cohesive, articulated model of partnership and coordination among the participating agencies and organizations; (2) The coordinated set of practices and strategies in the use and development of career pathways that are aligned with employment, training, and education programs and reflect the needs of employers and VR-eligible individuals, including previously served VR participants in employment who re-enter the VR program to advance in their careers; (3) The model demonstration project’s proposed sites and targeted occupational clusters, and the proposed criteria for selecting such sites and occupational clusters. State VR agencies applying as a group must also identify the shared geographic area and describe how they will coordinate their project activities, including the data collection and evaluation, within the shared area; (4) How the proposed project will— (i) Provide access to existing career pathways, create new pathways, or both, incorporating the six required career pathway components: Secondary and postsecondary education and training aligned with targeted industry sector needs; rigorous, sequential, connected and efficient curricula; multiple entry and exit points; comprehensive support PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 1095 services; flexible design of education, training, work settings and assistive technology; and focus on the attainment of secondary education, recognized postsecondary credentials, sectorspecific employment, and related knowledge and skills in order to advance in employment; (ii) Identify local workforce needs, aligned with the skill needs of targeted industry sectors important to local, regional, or State economies; (iii) Involve employers in the project design and in partnering with project staff to develop integrated community settings for assessments, job shadowing, internships, apprenticeships, and other paid and unpaid work experiences that are designed to lead to career advancement competitive for individuals with disabilities; (iv) Provide technical assistance or other resources (e.g., trainings) for employers as needed on topics or strategies related to career advancement for VR eligible individuals with disabilities, including previously served VR participants in employment who reenter the VR program; (v) Collaborate with participating agencies and organizations, including career pathway partners; and (vi) Develop strategies and conduct outreach activities to identify VReligible individuals with disabilities, including previously served VR participants in employment who reenter the VR program, whom the career pathways approach could assist in changing careers or advancing their careers. Note: If a project proposes multiple career pathways, the plan must separately describe the strategies and outreach activities that will be used to identify VR-eligible individuals with disabilities, including previously served VR participants in employment who reenter the VR program; (d) A memorandum of understanding between the State VR agency and its proposed partners in developing and implementing the project. In the case of a consortium, the application must also include a signed agreement among the constituent State VR agencies that designates the agency legally authorized to submit the application on behalf of the group; binds each agency to every statement, assurance, and obligation in the application; and details the agencies’ assigned roles and responsibilities, in accordance with 34 CFR 75.128 and 75.129; (e) A plan for evaluating the project’s performance, including documenting the relationship between program participation and the project’s goals and objectives: E:\FR\FM\07JAN1.SGM 07JAN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 1096 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 4 / Thursday, January 7, 2021 / Notices Specifically, the evaluation plan must include a description of— (1) Project goals, measurable objectives, and operational definitions; (2) The data to be collected; (3) How the data will be analyzed; and (4) How the outcomes for individuals with disabilities served by the project compared with the outcomes of individuals with VR-eligible individuals with disabilities, including previously served VR participants, not receiving project services; (f) For each career pathway accessed or created through the project, the evaluation plan must provide the following information: (1) Description of the career pathway, including the respective occupational cluster(s) or career field(s), stackable credentials, and multiple entry/exit points; and (2) Collection of the following data, at minimum: (i) The relevant RSA–911 Case Service Report data for each project participant, including disability and other demographic data; (ii) The number of participants who entered the career pathway; (iii) The number of participants who completed training in the career pathway; (iv) The number of participants who attained one or more recognized postsecondary credential and the types of credentials attained; (v) The number of participants who achieved CIE through the project; (vi) The corresponding weekly wage and employer-provided medical benefits received by these participants before and after receiving services; (vii) The corresponding weekly hours worked by these participants before and after receiving services; (viii) The number of participants who receive a promotion or additional responsibilities resulting in an increase in salary; and; (ix) The number of participants who report public benefits (e.g., SSI, SSDI, and/or TANF, and State or local benefits) as their primary source of support at the time they exit in CIE; (g) A plan for systematic dissemination of project findings and knowledge gained that will assist State and local agencies in adapting or replicating the model career pathways developed and implemented by the project. This plan could include elements such as development of a website or community of practice, and participation in national and State conferences; (h) An assurance that, based on the informed choice of the VR participant, VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:12 Jan 06, 2021 Jkt 253001 the employment goal for all individuals served under this project will be CIE, including customized or supported employment; (i) An assurance that the project will collaborate with other federally funded career pathway initiatives conducting activities relevant to its work; and (j) An assurance that the project will train employers, including businesses, to collaborate with VR on working with employees or trainees with disabilities. Within this absolute priority, we are particularly interested in applications that address the following invitational priority. Invitational Priority: Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(1) we do not give an application that meets this invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over applications that do not meet the invitational priority. This priority is: Career pathway projects that focus on individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. 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. 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 the authority given in the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, and, therefore, qualifies for this exception. To ensure timely grant awards, the Secretary has decided to forego public comment on the absolute priority under section 437(d)(1) of GEPA. This priority will apply to the FY 21 grant competition and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications for this competition. Program Authority: Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (Pub. L. 116–94), 133 Stat. 2590–91. Note: Projects must be awarded and operated in a manner consistent with the nondiscrimination requirements contained in the U.S. Constitution and the Federal civil rights laws. 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 PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 part 3485. (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance) in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3474. II. Award Information Type of Award: Discretionary grants negotiated as cooperative agreements. Estimated Available Funds: $110,000,000. Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2022 from the list of unfunded applications from this competition. Estimated Range of Awards: $3,548,387.10 to $18,333,333.33 (frontloaded for the 60-month project period). Maximum Award: We will not make an award exceeding $18, 333,333.33 for a single budget period of 60 months. Estimated Number of Awards: 6 (if all awards are made at the estimated maximum amount) to 31 (if all awards are made at the estimated minimum amount). Note: The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice. Project Period: Up to 60 months. Note: The Final Performance Report must be completed and submitted by the end of the project period, September 30, 2026. Therefore, all project activities (other than work on the evaluation and final performance report) must conclude earlier than 60 months to allow time for the evaluation and final performance report to be completed and submitted by the end of the project period of September 30, 2026. Note: Applicants under this competition are required to provide detailed budget information for each of the five years of this project and for the total grant. III. Eligibility Information 1. Eligible Applicants: State VR agencies or State VR agencies applying as a consortium under 34 CFR 75.128. 2. a. Cost Sharing or Matching: This competition does not require cost sharing or matching. b. Indirect Cost Rate Information: This program uses an unrestricted indirect cost rate. For more information regarding indirect costs, or to obtain a negotiated indirect cost rate, please see www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocfo/ intro.html. c. Administrative Cost Limitation: This program does not include any program-specific limitation on administrative expenses. All administrative expenses must be reasonable and necessary and conform E:\FR\FM\07JAN1.SGM 07JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 4 / Thursday, January 7, 2021 / Notices to the Cost Principles described in 2 CFR part 200 subpart E of the Uniform Guidance. 3. Subgrantees: Under the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, a grantee under this competition may award subgrants for a portion of the funds to other public and private, nonprofit entities to directly carry out project activities described in the grantee’s application. Under 34 CFR 75.708(e), a grantee may contract for supplies, equipment, and other services in accordance with 2 CFR part 200. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 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 Disability Innovation Fund, 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. Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this competition. 4. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:12 Jan 06, 2021 Jkt 253001 restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice. 5. Recommended Page Limit: The application narrative 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 the cover sheet; the budget section, including the narrative budget justification; 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. V. Application Review Information 1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition are from 34 CFR 75.210 and are as follows: (a) Need for project and significance of the project (10 points) (1) The Secretary considers the need for the proposed project and the significance of the proposed project. (2) In determining the need for the proposed project and the significance of the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors: (i) The national significance of the proposed project. (ii) The magnitude of the need for the services to be provided or the activities to be carried out by the proposed project. (iii) The extent to which the proposed project is likely to build local capacity to provide, improve, or expand services that address the needs of target population. (b) Quality of the project design (20 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: PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 1097 (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 the design of the proposed project reflects up-to-date knowledge from research and effective practice. (iii) The extent to which the results of the proposed project are to be disseminated in ways that will enable others to use the information or strategies. (iv) The extent to which the proposed project represents an exceptional approach to the priority or priorities established for the competition. (v) The extent to which performance feedback and continuous improvement are integral to the design of the proposed project. (c) Quality of project services (20 points) (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the services to be provided by the proposed project. (2) In determining the quality of 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 services to be provided by the proposed project involve the collaboration of appropriate partners for maximizing the effectiveness of project services. (ii) The extent to which the services to be provided by the proposed project are appropriate to the needs of the intended recipients or beneficiaries of those services. (iii) The likely impact of the services to be provided by the proposed project on the intended recipients of those services. (iv) The likelihood that the services to be provided by the proposed project will lead to improvements in skills necessary to gain employment or build capacity for independent living. (d) Quality of the project evaluation (20 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. E:\FR\FM\07JAN1.SGM 07JAN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 1098 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 4 / Thursday, January 7, 2021 / Notices (ii) The extent to which the methods of evaluation include the use of objective performance measures that are clearly related to the intended outcomes of the project and will produce quantitative and qualitative data to the extent possible. (iii) The extent to which the evaluation will provide performance feedback and permit periodic assessment of progress toward achieving intended outcomes. (iv) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will, if well implemented, produce promising evidence (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1(c)) about the project’s effectiveness. (e) 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 project personnel, 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. (iii) The extent to which time commitments of the project director and other key personnel are appropriate and adequate to meet the objectives of the proposed project. (f) Adequacy of resources (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 relevance and demonstrated commitment of each partner in the proposed project to the implementation and success of the project. (ii) 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. (iii) 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. (iv) The adequacy of support, including facilities, equipment, supplies, and other resources, from the VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:12 Jan 06, 2021 Jkt 253001 applicant organization or the lead applicant organization. 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 200.206(a)(2) we must make a judgment about your integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards—that is, the risk posed 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 PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 $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. 5. In General: In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget’s guidance located at 2 CFR part 200, all applicable Federal laws, and relevant Executive guidance, the Department will review and consider applications for funding pursuant to this notice inviting applications in accordance with— (a) Selecting recipients most likely to be successful in delivering results based on the program objectives through an objective process of evaluating Federal award applications (2 CFR 200.205); (b) Prohibiting the purchase of certain telecommunication and video surveillance services or equipment in alignment with section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 (Pub. L. 115—232) (2 CFR 200.216); (c) Promoting the freedom of speech and religious liberty in alignment with Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty (E.O. 13798) and Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities (E.O. 13864) (2 CFR 200.300, 200.303, 200.339, and 200.341); (d) Providing a preference, to the extent permitted by law, to maximize use of goods, products, and materials produced in the United States (2 CFR 200.322); and (e) Terminating agreements in whole or in part to the greatest extent authorized by law if an award no longer effectuates the program goals or agency priorities (2 CFR 200.340). 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 E:\FR\FM\07JAN1.SGM 07JAN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 4 / Thursday, January 7, 2021 / Notices 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. (c) Under 34 CFR 75.250(b), the Secretary may provide a grantee with additional funding for data collection and reporting. In this case, the Secretary establishes a data collection period. 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:12 Jan 06, 2021 Jkt 253001 measuring program results against those goals. For the purposes of GPRA and Department reporting under 34 CFR 75.110, we have established the following performance measures for this program: (a) Of the individuals participating in the project, their average hourly wage at the time they exit in CIE. (b) Of the individuals participating in the project, their average hours worked per week at the time they exit in CIE. (c) Of the individuals participating in the project, the number and percentage who exit in CIE with employer-provided medical benefits. (d) Of the individuals participating in the project, the number and percentage who report their income as the primary source of support at the time they exit in CIE. (e) Of the individuals participating in the project, the number and percentage who report public benefits (e.g., SSI, SSDI, and/or TANF, and State or local benefits) as their primary source of support at the time they exit in CIE. 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. The Department will provide the requestor with an accessible format that may include Rich Text Format (RTF) or text format (txt), a thumb drive, an MP3 file, braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc, or other accessible format. Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 1099 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 your search to documents published by the Department. Mark Schultz, Commissioner, Rehabilitation Services Administration, Delegated the authority to perform the functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. [FR Doc. 2021–00149 Filed 1–5–21; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket ID ED–2020–FSA–0151] Privacy Act of 1974; Matching Program Federal Student Aid, Department of Education. ACTION: Notice of a new matching program. AGENCY: This provides notice of the reestablishment of the matching program between the U.S. Department of Education (Department) and the Social Security Administration (SSA), which sets forth the terms, safeguards, and procedures under which the SSA will disclose to the Department data related to the Medical Improvement Not Expected (MINE) disability data of beneficiaries and recipients under title II and title XVI of the Social Security Act from the SSA system of records entitled the Disability Control File (DCF) and the Master Beneficiary Record (MBR). This matching program will enable the Department to contact the individuals who have a balance on a loan under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), have a title IV loan written off due to default, or have an outstanding service obligation under the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program to inform those borrowers and TEACH Grant recipients of the total and permanent disability (TPD) process. Once informed, those borrowers who SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\07JAN1.SGM 07JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 4 (Thursday, January 7, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 1092-1099]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-00149]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


Applications for New Awards; Rehabilitation Training: Disability 
Innovation Fund--Career Advancement Initiative Model Demonstration 
Project

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

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Education (Department) is issuing a 
notice inviting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2021 for the 
Disability Innovation Fund--Career Advancement Initiative Model 
Demonstration Project, Assistance Listing Number 84.421C. The 
Department intends to fund a multi-site model demonstration project 
designed to assist State vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies, in 
partnership with other entities, to develop career pathways focused on 
career advancement. This competition will help VR-eligible individuals 
with disabilities, including previously served VR participants in 
employment who re-enter the VR program, to advance in high-demand, 
high-quality careers, such as science, technology, engineering, and 
math (STEM), including computer science, careers; to enter career 
pathways in industry-driven sectors through pre-apprenticeships, 
registered apprenticeships and Industry Recognized Apprenticeship 
Program (IRAP); to improve and maximize competitive integrated 
employment outcomes, economic self-sufficiency, independence, and 
inclusion in society; and to reduce reliance on public benefits (e.g., 
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/Social Security Disability Insurance 
(SSDI), and/or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and 
State or local benefits). This notice relates to the approved 
information collection under OMB control number 1820-0018.

DATES: 
    Applications Available: January 7, 2021.
    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: April 7, 2021.
    Date of Pre-Application Meeting: The Office of Special Education 
and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) will post a PowerPoint presentation 
that provides general information about the Rehabilitation Services 
Administration's (RSA) discretionary grants and a PowerPoint 
presentation specifically about the Disability Innovation Fund--Career 
Advancement Initiative Model Demonstration Projects at https://ncrtm.ed.gov/RSAGrantInfo.aspx. OSERS will conduct a pre-application 
meeting specific to this competition via conference call to respond to 
questions. Information about the pre-application meeting will be 
available at https://ncrtm.ed.gov/RSAGrantInfo.aspx prior to the date 
of the call. OSERS invites you to send questions to [email protected] in 
advance of the pre-application meeting. The teleconference information, 
including the 84.421C pre-application meeting summary of the questions 
and answers, will be available at https://ncrtm.ed.gov/RSAGrantInfo.aspx within six days after the pre-application meeting.
    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: May 7, 2021.

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 5065A, 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 purpose of the Disability Innovation Fund 
(DIF) Program, as provided by the Further Consolidated Appropriations 
Act, 2020 (Pub. L. 116-94), is to support innovative activities aimed 
at improving the outcomes of individuals with disabilities, as defined 
in section 7(20)(B) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 
including activities aimed at improving the education and post-school 
outcomes of children receiving SSI and their families that may result 
in long-term improvement in the SSI child recipient's economic status 
and self-sufficiency.
    Priorities: This competition contains an absolute priority and an 
invitational priority. We are establishing the absolute priority for 
the FY 2021 grant competition, 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: This priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 
CFR 75.105(c)(3), we consider only applications that meet this 
priority.
    This priority is:
    Career Advancement Initiative Model Demonstration Project.
    Background:
    Though always permissible under the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) 
program, the amendments to the Rehabilitation

[[Page 1093]]

Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act) made by the Workforce Innovation and 
Opportunity Act (WIOA) clarified and emphasized that individuals with 
disabilities were eligible for VR services for the purpose of advancing 
in employment. Among the stated purposes of WIOA, Congress included--

    To improve the quality and labor market relevance of workforce 
investment, education, and economic development efforts to provide 
America's workers with the skills and credentials necessary to 
secure and advance in employment with family-sustaining wages.

WIOA Section 2, Paragraph (3); 29 U.S.C. 3101(3) (emphasis added). As 
such, the VR program is not solely intended to place individuals with 
disabilities in entry-level jobs, but, rather, to assist them to 
obtain, retain, advance in, or regain employment, consistent with their 
unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, 
capabilities, and informed choice, through the services and supports 
identified on their individualized plans for employment (IPE).
    While the VR program has a long history of helping individuals with 
disabilities secure employment, there is room for improvement in 
helping individuals with disabilities move off of public benefits and 
advance in employment, which as used in section 102(a)(1)(B) of the 
Rehabilitation Act, includes both advancing within current employment 
and advancing into new employment.
    Our examination of RSA-911 data for program year (PY) 2019, located 
at https://rsa.ed.gov/performance-data/rsa-911-policy-directive, 
demonstrates that, of 361,421 new applicants, 105,760 (29 percent) 
reported their primary source of support as SSI, SSDI, or TANF. Of the 
128,866 individuals who exited the VR program in competitive integrated 
employment (CIE), 15,233 (12 percent) indicated that their primary 
source of support was still SSI, SSDI, or TANF.
    The U.S. Department of Labor Federal Minimum Wage website, https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/wages/minimumwage, indicates that the Federal 
minimum wage for covered nonexempt employees is $7.25 per hour. There 
are numerous States with minimum wage laws. In cases where an employee 
is subject to both the State and Federal minimum wage laws, the 
employee is entitled to the higher of the two minimum wages. 
Participants who exited the VR program in CIE reported a median wage of 
$12 per hour and median 30 hours worked per week. Approximately 80 
percent of participants earned less than $17 per hour. Of the 128,866 
individuals who exited the VR program in CIE, 28,926 (22 percent) 
indicated that they had private insurance through their employer and 
3,309 (3 percent) indicated that they were not yet eligible for private 
insurance through their employer.
    The 10 most common occupations, reported by fully one third of the 
participants who exited in CIE, were:

    1. Stock Clerks and Order Fillers;
    2. Customer Service Representatives;
    3. Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping 
Cleaners;
    4. Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand;
    5. Retail Salespersons;
    6. Cashiers;
    7. Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, including Fast 
Food;
    8. Food Preparation Workers;
    9. Production Workers, All Other; and
    10. Dishwashers.

    Wages at this level, in combination with less than full-time work 
in these positions and without employer-provided medical benefits, 
provide little opportunity for individuals to reduce their reliance on 
public benefits (e.g., SSI, SSDI, and/or TANF, and State or local 
benefits), and the wages suggest that there is room for many 
individuals with disabilities to advance in employment and their 
careers. To emphasize the point, individuals who earned $20 per hour or 
more reported their top five occupations as:
    1. Registered Nurses;
    2. Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers;
    3. Managers, All Other;
    4. Teachers and Instructors, All Other; and
    5. Accountants and Auditors.

    The Department believes that career pathways provide a mechanism 
for VR agencies to assist VR eligible individuals with disabilities, 
including previously served VR participants in employment who re-enter 
the VR program, to obtain or advance in employment or change careers.
    In FY 2015, RSA awarded four Career Pathways for Individuals with 
Disabilities projects under the Demonstration and Training program. 
Early results from States that received these awards are encouraging. 
In 2015, Nebraska VR created the Career Pathways Advancement Project 
and employed the upskill/backfill model of career pathways advancement 
for their former VR participants in five career pathways based upon the 
State's economy's needs: Information Technology; Manufacturing; 
Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics; Healthcare; and 
Architecture/Construction (Moore, D., Haines, K., Drudik, J., Arter, 
Z., and Foley, S. (2020). Upskill/Backfill Model of Career Pathways 
Advancement: The Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation Approach. Journal 
of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 51(3), 1-14). The results of 
Nebraska's project demonstrate that this model does assist former 
clients in advancing in their careers, as well as obtaining CIE that 
comes with higher income and benefits (Moore et al., 2020). As former 
clients are increasing their skills or ``getting upskilled'' (e.g., 
through credentialed training programs) and advancing in their careers, 
new clients can fill the newly vacated positions (Moore et al., 2020). 
In Georgia, the project focused on expanding pre-employment transition 
services to students with disabilities and transition services to VR 
eligible students, thereby increasing the number of participants who 
achieved a recognized post-secondary credential from 12 in FY 2016 to 
353 in FY 2020. In Kentucky, the focus was on career pathways STEM 
events, employer engagement, and workforce partnerships, which resulted 
in an increase in employment outcomes from 168 in FY 2017 to 294 in FY 
2019. In Virginia, the focus was on sustainable strategies, including 
business-driven strategies and credential training, which resulted in 
an increase in the number of credentials obtained from 8 in FY 2016 to 
56 in FY 2020 and an increase in the number of individuals whose cases 
were closed in competitive integrated employment outcomes from 7 in FY 
2016 to 32 in FY 2020.
    Further, Congress made career pathways a necessary, if not 
foundational, part of WIOA's workforce reforms. States, for example, 
are required to include career pathways in their workforce development 
systems, WIOA section 101(d)(3)(B); career pathways are required in 
training programs, WIOA section 101(d)(5)(C); and local workforce 
development boards are required to include career pathways in their 
local plans, WIOA sections 107(d)(5), 108(b)(3).
    As earning a degree or certificate may be part of a successful 
career pathway, RSA-911 data show that while many VR customers are 
pursuing degrees or certificates, there are opportunities for many more 
to do so. Of the 875,275 individuals in receipt of VR services through 
an IPE during PY 2019, 154,239 participants (18 percent) were enrolled 
in some form of postsecondary education or career/technical training, 
80,916 (9 percent) received either Associate, Bachelor, or Graduate 
School training, 31,258 (4 percent) received vocational training and 
194 participants

[[Page 1094]]

were taking part in Registered Apprenticeship Training.
    This competition will provide an opportunity and flexibility for a 
State VR agency, given additional funding and the full range of 
resources available through the VR program, to demonstrate the 
effectiveness of providing the career pathways services needed by VR-
eligible individuals, including those participating in the VR program 
and those who are not receiving services in the VR program for reasons 
such as assignment to closed priority categories under an order of 
selection. This includes previously served VR participants in 
employment who re-enter the VR program, to obtain, change careers to, 
advance in, or maximize employment in fields that provide a true living 
wage and freedom from public support.
    VR agencies, whether applying alone or in a consortium with 
multiple State VR agencies, must implement career advancement 
initiative model demonstration projects by establishing career pathway 
and work-based learning partnerships with employers, community colleges 
and postsecondary institutions, entities that make up the workforce 
development systems, entities that provide registered apprenticeships, 
pre-apprenticeships and IRAPs, comprehensive rehabilitation centers, 
local or State educational agencies (LEAs or SEAs), and providers or 
other Federal or State agencies (i.e., State Apprenticeships Programs, 
Employment Networks under Social Security, Department of Labor, etc.), 
as appropriate to the career pathway or pathways chosen and the 
industries or types of professions served. The models must be 
implemented at multiple local sites to ensure replicability and 
delivered through a coordinated system.
    Assistance to individuals could include, as appropriate for the 
individual, pre-apprenticeship, registered apprenticeship and IRAP 
training or postsecondary training and graduate-level postsecondary 
education, registered apprenticeships in formal trades, other work-
based learning experiences, community college and technical college 
education and training, or other appropriate training and education 
opportunities to achieve the advancement in employment specified as the 
individual's vocational goal.
    In sum, this competition is designed to help VR-eligible 
individuals with disabilities, including previously served VR 
participants in employment who re-enter the VR program, to advance in 
or change to high-demand, high-quality careers, such as STEM 
careers.\1\ This also includes individuals who enter career pathways in 
industry-driven sectors through pre-apprenticeships, registered 
apprenticeships and IRAPs; to improve and maximize CIE outcomes, 
economic self-sufficiency, independence, and inclusion in society; and 
to reduce reliance on public benefits (e.g., Supplemental Security 
Income (SSI)/Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)).
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    \1\ This competition is aligned with the aims of the Federal 
Government's five-year strategic plan for STEM education entitled 
Charting A Course for Success: America's Strategy for STEM Education 
(Plan) published in December 2018, including the Plan's overarching 
goal to Increase Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEM. https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/STEM-Education-Strategic-Plan-2018.pdf.
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    Priority:
    This priority establishes model demonstration projects in which 
State vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies, whether applying alone 
or in a consortium, by developing and using career pathways, will 
assist VR eligible individuals with disabilities, including previously 
served VR participants in employment who re-enter the VR program, to 
advance in their careers. Projects should help these individuals obtain 
promotional opportunities with a current employer or a different 
employer; obtain additional responsibility and compensation by 
advancing in a formal career or job series; obtain industry recognized 
credentials that result in additional responsibilities, compensation, 
and benefits; improve and maximize CIE outcomes, economic self-
sufficiency, independence, and inclusion in society; and/or reduce 
reliance on public benefits (e.g., SSI, SSDI, and/or TANF, and State or 
local benefits).
    As used in this competition, career pathway means a combination of 
rigorous and high-quality education, training, and other services 
that--
    (a) Aligns with the skill needs of industries in the economy of the 
State or regional economy involved;
    (b) Prepares an individual to be successful in any of a full range 
of secondary or postsecondary education options, including 
apprenticeships registered under the Act of August 16, 1937 (commonly 
known as the ``National Apprenticeship Act''; 50 Stat. 664, chapter 
663; 29 U.S.C. 50 et seq.);
    (c) Includes counseling to support an individual in achieving the 
individual's education and career goals;
    (d) Includes, as appropriate, education offered concurrently with 
and in the same context as workforce preparation activities and 
training for a specific occupation or occupational cluster;
    (e) Organizes education, training, and other services to meet the 
particular needs of an individual in a manner that accelerates the 
educational and career advancement of the individual to the extent 
practicable;
    (f) Enables, as appropriate, an individual to attain a secondary 
school diploma or its recognized equivalent, and at least one 
recognized postsecondary credential; and
    (g) Helps an individual enter or advance within a specific 
occupation or occupational cluster (i.e., a group of occupations and 
broad industries based on common knowledge and skills, job 
requirements, or worker characteristics).
    Project Requirements: Under this priority, the model demonstration 
proposed by an applicant must, at a minimum--
    (a) Develop and implement a collaborative model that demonstrates a 
rationale \2\ in the use of career pathways to enable VR eligible 
individuals with disabilities, including previously served VR 
participants in employment who re-enter the VR program, to advance in 
their careers, such as obtaining promotional opportunities with a 
current employer or a different employer; obtaining additional 
responsibility and compensation by advancing in a formal career or job 
series; increasing the number of hours worked; and obtaining industry 
recognized credentials that result in additional responsibilities, 
compensation, and benefits;
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    \2\ For purposes of this priority, ``demonstrates a rationale'' 
means a key project component included in the project's logic model 
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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    (1) The model project must involve providing access to existing 
career pathways, creating a new pathway, or both;
    (2) The model project must propose multiple partnerships and 
multiple pathways to serve different populations, provided that the 
applicant identify any separate personnel, activities, and budgets;
    (3) The model project must propose to serve diverse geographic 
regions, including urban, suburban, rural and Tribal communities, if 
applicable.
    (b) Establish partnerships between the VR agencies and appropriate 
employers, agencies, and entities that are critical to the development 
of the career pathway or pathways used in the model. These partnerships 
could include two-year and four-year institutions of higher education, 
American Job Centers, and

[[Page 1095]]

other workforce training providers, such as registered apprenticeship 
and pre-apprenticeship providers, comprehensive support service 
providers, and on-the-job and customized training providers);
    (c) Include the following career pathway components:
    (1) Alignment of secondary and postsecondary education, training, 
and employment, such as skilled trades and STEM careers important to 
local, regional, or State economies;
    (2) Rigorous, sequential, connected, and efficient curricula that 
connect education and skills training courses and that integrate 
education with training, as appropriate;
    (3) Multiple entry and exit points for VR participants entering and 
exiting training;
    (4) Comprehensive, coordinated and personalized support services 
that are designed to ensure the individual's success in completing 
education and training programs:
    (i) Financial literacy, benefits counseling, childcare, physical 
health and mental health services and transportation;
    (ii) Educational supports (e.g., tutors, on-campus supports such as 
writing labs, math labs, and disability services);
    (iii) Self-advocacy training (e.g., mentoring, peer relationships, 
understanding how to request services and supports); and
    (iv) Appropriate assistive technology services and devices;
    (5) Flexible design of education and training programs and services 
to meet the particular needs of VR participants, including flexible 
work schedules, alternative class times and locations, and the 
innovative use of technology; and
    (6) Education and training programs that focus on advancing in 
employment and are designed to develop the following knowledge and 
skills:
    (i) Comprehensive career development counseling and guidance, 
including self-exploration and career exploration and career planning 
and management;
    (ii) Career and technical skills leading to advancement in careers, 
including the skilled trades and STEM careers; and
    (iii) Soft skills (e.g., understanding, communication, teamwork, 
networking, problem solving, critical thinking and professionalism, 
learning styles, identifying strengths and weaknesses);
    (d) Collaborate with other federally funded career pathway 
initiatives conducting activities relevant to the work of its proposed 
project; and
    (e) Develop and conduct an evaluation of the project's performance 
that documents the relationship between participants' engagement with 
or use of specific practices and strategies implemented by the project 
and key outcomes.
    Application Requirements: Under this priority, to be considered for 
funding, an application must include the following:
    (a) A detailed review of the literature that supports the potential 
effectiveness of the proposed model, its components, and processes to 
improve career advancement for individuals with disabilities;
    (b) A logic model that communicates how the demonstration project 
will achieve its outcomes and provides a framework for project 
evaluation. The logic model must:
    (1) Depict, at a minimum, the goals, activities, outputs, and 
outcomes of the proposed model demonstration project; and
    (2) Demonstrate how the specific career pathways components 
developed and implemented in the project are thought to affect project 
outcomes. Project activities that demonstrate a rationale and are 
depicted in the logic model must be specifically noted;
    (c) A description of the applicant's plan, methods, and criteria 
for implementing the project, including a description of--
    (1) A cohesive, articulated model of partnership and coordination 
among the participating agencies and organizations;
    (2) The coordinated set of practices and strategies in the use and 
development of career pathways that are aligned with employment, 
training, and education programs and reflect the needs of employers and 
VR-eligible individuals, including previously served VR participants in 
employment who re-enter the VR program to advance in their careers;
    (3) The model demonstration project's proposed sites and targeted 
occupational clusters, and the proposed criteria for selecting such 
sites and occupational clusters. State VR agencies applying as a group 
must also identify the shared geographic area and describe how they 
will coordinate their project activities, including the data collection 
and evaluation, within the shared area;
    (4) How the proposed project will--
    (i) Provide access to existing career pathways, create new 
pathways, or both, incorporating the six required career pathway 
components: Secondary and postsecondary education and training aligned 
with targeted industry sector needs; rigorous, sequential, connected 
and efficient curricula; multiple entry and exit points; comprehensive 
support services; flexible design of education, training, work settings 
and assistive technology; and focus on the attainment of secondary 
education, recognized postsecondary credentials, sector-specific 
employment, and related knowledge and skills in order to advance in 
employment;
    (ii) Identify local workforce needs, aligned with the skill needs 
of targeted industry sectors important to local, regional, or State 
economies;
    (iii) Involve employers in the project design and in partnering 
with project staff to develop integrated community settings for 
assessments, job shadowing, internships, apprenticeships, and other 
paid and unpaid work experiences that are designed to lead to career 
advancement competitive for individuals with disabilities;
    (iv) Provide technical assistance or other resources (e.g., 
trainings) for employers as needed on topics or strategies related to 
career advancement for VR eligible individuals with disabilities, 
including previously served VR participants in employment who re-enter 
the VR program;
    (v) Collaborate with participating agencies and organizations, 
including career pathway partners; and
    (vi) Develop strategies and conduct outreach activities to identify 
VR-eligible individuals with disabilities, including previously served 
VR participants in employment who re-enter the VR program, whom the 
career pathways approach could assist in changing careers or advancing 
their careers. Note: If a project proposes multiple career pathways, 
the plan must separately describe the strategies and outreach 
activities that will be used to identify VR-eligible individuals with 
disabilities, including previously served VR participants in employment 
who re-enter the VR program;
    (d) A memorandum of understanding between the State VR agency and 
its proposed partners in developing and implementing the project. In 
the case of a consortium, the application must also include a signed 
agreement among the constituent State VR agencies that designates the 
agency legally authorized to submit the application on behalf of the 
group; binds each agency to every statement, assurance, and obligation 
in the application; and details the agencies' assigned roles and 
responsibilities, in accordance with 34 CFR 75.128 and 75.129;
    (e) A plan for evaluating the project's performance, including 
documenting the relationship between program participation and the 
project's goals and objectives:

[[Page 1096]]

    Specifically, the evaluation plan must include a description of--
    (1) Project goals, measurable objectives, and operational 
definitions;
    (2) The data to be collected;
    (3) How the data will be analyzed; and
    (4) How the outcomes for individuals with disabilities served by 
the project compared with the outcomes of individuals with VR-eligible 
individuals with disabilities, including previously served VR 
participants, not receiving project services;
    (f) For each career pathway accessed or created through the 
project, the evaluation plan must provide the following information:
    (1) Description of the career pathway, including the respective 
occupational cluster(s) or career field(s), stackable credentials, and 
multiple entry/exit points; and
    (2) Collection of the following data, at minimum:
    (i) The relevant RSA-911 Case Service Report data for each project 
participant, including disability and other demographic data;
    (ii) The number of participants who entered the career pathway;
    (iii) The number of participants who completed training in the 
career pathway;
    (iv) The number of participants who attained one or more recognized 
postsecondary credential and the types of credentials attained;
    (v) The number of participants who achieved CIE through the 
project;
    (vi) The corresponding weekly wage and employer-provided medical 
benefits received by these participants before and after receiving 
services;
    (vii) The corresponding weekly hours worked by these participants 
before and after receiving services;
    (viii) The number of participants who receive a promotion or 
additional responsibilities resulting in an increase in salary; and;
    (ix) The number of participants who report public benefits (e.g., 
SSI, SSDI, and/or TANF, and State or local benefits) as their primary 
source of support at the time they exit in CIE;
    (g) A plan for systematic dissemination of project findings and 
knowledge gained that will assist State and local agencies in adapting 
or replicating the model career pathways developed and implemented by 
the project. This plan could include elements such as development of a 
website or community of practice, and participation in national and 
State conferences;
    (h) An assurance that, based on the informed choice of the VR 
participant, the employment goal for all individuals served under this 
project will be CIE, including customized or supported employment;
    (i) An assurance that the project will collaborate with other 
federally funded career pathway initiatives conducting activities 
relevant to its work; and
    (j) An assurance that the project will train employers, including 
businesses, to collaborate with VR on working with employees or 
trainees with disabilities.
    Within this absolute priority, we are particularly interested in 
applications that address the following invitational priority.
    Invitational Priority: Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(1) we do not give an 
application that meets this invitational priority a competitive or 
absolute preference over applications that do not meet the invitational 
priority.
    This priority is:
    Career pathway projects that focus on individuals with intellectual 
or developmental disabilities.
    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. 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 the authority given in the Further 
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, and, therefore, qualifies for 
this exception. To ensure timely grant awards, the Secretary has 
decided to forego public comment on the absolute priority under section 
437(d)(1) of GEPA. This priority will apply to the FY 21 grant 
competition and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the 
list of unfunded applications for this competition.
    Program Authority: Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 
(Pub. L. 116-94), 133 Stat. 2590-91.

    Note:  Projects must be awarded and operated in a manner 
consistent with the nondiscrimination requirements contained in the 
U.S. Constitution and the Federal civil rights laws.

    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 (Uniform 
Guidance) in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted and amended as regulations of 
the Department in 2 CFR part 3474.

II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Discretionary grants negotiated as cooperative 
agreements.
    Estimated Available Funds: $110,000,000.
    Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of 
applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2022 from the list of 
unfunded applications from this competition.
    Estimated Range of Awards: $3,548,387.10 to $18,333,333.33 
(frontloaded for the 60-month project period).
    Maximum Award: We will not make an award exceeding $18, 333,333.33 
for a single budget period of 60 months.
    Estimated Number of Awards: 6 (if all awards are made at the 
estimated maximum amount) to 31 (if all awards are made at the 
estimated minimum amount).

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

    Project Period: Up to 60 months.

    Note:  The Final Performance Report must be completed and 
submitted by the end of the project period, September 30, 2026. 
Therefore, all project activities (other than work on the evaluation 
and final performance report) must conclude earlier than 60 months 
to allow time for the evaluation and final performance report to be 
completed and submitted by the end of the project period of 
September 30, 2026.


    Note:  Applicants under this competition are required to provide 
detailed budget information for each of the five years of this 
project and for the total grant.

III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants: State VR agencies or State VR agencies 
applying as a consortium under 34 CFR 75.128.
    2. a. Cost Sharing or Matching: This competition does not require 
cost sharing or matching.
    b. Indirect Cost Rate Information: This program uses an 
unrestricted indirect cost rate. For more information regarding 
indirect costs, or to obtain a negotiated indirect cost rate, please 
see www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocfo/intro.html.
    c. Administrative Cost Limitation: This program does not include 
any program-specific limitation on administrative expenses. All 
administrative expenses must be reasonable and necessary and conform

[[Page 1097]]

to the Cost Principles described in 2 CFR part 200 subpart E of the 
Uniform Guidance.
    3. Subgrantees: Under the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 
2020, a grantee under this competition may award subgrants for a 
portion of the funds to other public and private, nonprofit entities to 
directly carry out project activities described in the grantee's 
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 Disability 
Innovation Fund, 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. 
Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under 
Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this 
competition.
    4. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding 
restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.
    5. Recommended Page Limit: The application narrative 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 the cover sheet; the 
budget section, including the narrative budget justification; 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.

V. Application Review Information

    1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition 
are from 34 CFR 75.210 and are as follows:
    (a) Need for project and significance of the project (10 points)
    (1) The Secretary considers the need for the proposed project and 
the significance of the proposed project.
    (2) In determining the need for the proposed project and the 
significance of the proposed project, the Secretary considers the 
following factors:
    (i) The national significance of the proposed project.
    (ii) The magnitude of the need for the services to be provided or 
the activities to be carried out by the proposed project.
    (iii) The extent to which the proposed project is likely to build 
local capacity to provide, improve, or expand services that address the 
needs of target population.
    (b) Quality of the project design (20 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 the design of the proposed project 
reflects up-to-date knowledge from research and effective practice.
    (iii) The extent to which the results of the proposed project are 
to be disseminated in ways that will enable others to use the 
information or strategies.
    (iv) The extent to which the proposed project represents an 
exceptional approach to the priority or priorities established for the 
competition.
    (v) The extent to which performance feedback and continuous 
improvement are integral to the design of the proposed project.
    (c) Quality of project services (20 points)
    (1) The Secretary considers the quality of the services to be 
provided by the proposed project.
    (2) In determining the quality of 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 services to be provided by the proposed 
project involve the collaboration of appropriate partners for 
maximizing the effectiveness of project services.
    (ii) The extent to which the services to be provided by the 
proposed project are appropriate to the needs of the intended 
recipients or beneficiaries of those services.
    (iii) The likely impact of the services to be provided by the 
proposed project on the intended recipients of those services.
    (iv) The likelihood that the services to be provided by the 
proposed project will lead to improvements in skills necessary to gain 
employment or build capacity for independent living.
    (d) Quality of the project evaluation (20 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.

[[Page 1098]]

    (ii) The extent to which the methods of evaluation include the use 
of objective performance measures that are clearly related to the 
intended outcomes of the project and will produce quantitative and 
qualitative data to the extent possible.
    (iii) The extent to which the evaluation will provide performance 
feedback and permit periodic assessment of progress toward achieving 
intended outcomes.
    (iv) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will, if well 
implemented, produce promising evidence (as defined in 34 CFR 77.1(c)) 
about the project's effectiveness.
    (e) 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 project personnel, 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.
    (iii) The extent to which time commitments of the project director 
and other key personnel are appropriate and adequate to meet the 
objectives of the proposed project.
    (f) Adequacy of resources (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 relevance and demonstrated commitment of each partner in 
the proposed project to the implementation and success of the project.
    (ii) 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.
    (iii) 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.
    (iv) The adequacy of support, including facilities, equipment, 
supplies, and other resources, from the applicant organization or the 
lead applicant organization.
    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 200.206(a)(2) we must make a judgment about your 
integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal 
awards--that is, the risk posed 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.
    5. In General: In accordance with the Office of Management and 
Budget's guidance located at 2 CFR part 200, all applicable Federal 
laws, and relevant Executive guidance, the Department will review and 
consider applications for funding pursuant to this notice inviting 
applications in accordance with--
    (a) Selecting recipients most likely to be successful in delivering 
results based on the program objectives through an objective process of 
evaluating Federal award applications (2 CFR 200.205);
    (b) Prohibiting the purchase of certain telecommunication and video 
surveillance services or equipment in alignment with section 889 of the 
National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 (Pub. L. 115--232) (2 CFR 
200.216);
    (c) Promoting the freedom of speech and religious liberty in 
alignment with Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty (E.O. 13798) 
and Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at 
Colleges and Universities (E.O. 13864) (2 CFR 200.300, 200.303, 
200.339, and 200.341);
    (d) Providing a preference, to the extent permitted by law, to 
maximize use of goods, products, and materials produced in the United 
States (2 CFR 200.322); and
    (e) Terminating agreements in whole or in part to the greatest 
extent authorized by law if an award no longer effectuates the program 
goals or agency priorities (2 CFR 200.340).

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

[[Page 1099]]

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.
    (c) Under 34 CFR 75.250(b), the Secretary may provide a grantee 
with additional funding for data collection and reporting. In this 
case, the Secretary establishes a data collection period.
    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.
    For the purposes of GPRA and Department reporting under 34 CFR 
75.110, we have established the following performance measures for this 
program:
    (a) Of the individuals participating in the project, their average 
hourly wage at the time they exit in CIE.
    (b) Of the individuals participating in the project, their average 
hours worked per week at the time they exit in CIE.
    (c) Of the individuals participating in the project, the number and 
percentage who exit in CIE with employer-provided medical benefits.
    (d) Of the individuals participating in the project, the number and 
percentage who report their income as the primary source of support at 
the time they exit in CIE.
    (e) Of the individuals participating in the project, the number and 
percentage who report public benefits (e.g., SSI, SSDI, and/or TANF, 
and State or local benefits) as their primary source of support at the 
time they exit in CIE.
    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. The Department will provide the requestor with an accessible 
format that may include Rich Text Format (RTF) or text format (txt), a 
thumb drive, an MP3 file, braille, large print, audiotape, or compact 
disc, or other accessible format.
    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 your search to documents published 
by the Department.

Mark Schultz,
Commissioner, Rehabilitation Services Administration, Delegated the 
authority to perform the functions and duties of the Assistant 
Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services.
[FR Doc. 2021-00149 Filed 1-5-21; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P