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[Federal Register: August 1, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 148)]
[Notices]               
[Page 46958-46969]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr01au00-91]                         

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

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Employment and Training Administration

 
Solicitation for Grant Applications (SGA) H-1B TechnicaL Skill 
Training Grants

AGENCY: Employment and Training Administration (ETA), Labor.

ACTION: Notice of availability of funds and solicitation for grant 
applications (SGA).

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

SUMMARY: This Notice contains all of the necessary information and 
forms needed to apply for grant funding. The Employment and Training 
Administration (ETA), U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), announces the 
availability of grant funds for skill training programs for unemployed 
and employed workers. Funding for these grants is coming from the user 
fee mandated for applicants for new H-1B nonimmigrant visa workers and 
established under the American Competitiveness and Workforce 
Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA). The grants will have the longer term 
goal of raising the skill levels of domestic workers so that they can 
fill high skill jobs which are presently being filled by temporary 
workers being admitted to the United States under the provisions of H-
1B. Department of Labor will convene Bidders Conferences in early 
August to share information with eligible applicants and other 
interested parties. Detailed information as to the exact times and 
locations of these sessions together with other pertinent facts may be 
found on the ETA web page (http:/www.doleta.gov) or by calling a toll-
free help line (1-877-US2-JOBS).
    Eligible applicants for these grants will be local Workforce 
Investment Boards (WIBs) established under section 117 of the Workforce 
Investment Act (WIA) that will carry out such programs or projects 
through one-stop delivery systems established under section 121 of WIA, 
or regional consortia of local boards. Regional consortia may be 
interstate. Successful applicants under earlier H-1B Solicitations will 
be eligible for grants under this competition; however those current 
awardees will be required to indicate that this proposal provides a 
completely new approach to skill training (including a different skill 
shortage area, e.g., health occupations rather than information 
technology) from that being conducted under their current grant. 
Proposals submitted by those current awardees will be subject to pre-
screening to assure that they propose an approach that is clearly 
innovative and different from the activity that was implemented under 
the previous award.
    WIA provides a framework for a national workforce investment and 
employment system designed to meet both the needs of the nation's 
businesses and the needs of job seekers and workers who want to further 
their careers. ACWIA will provide resources for skill training in 
occupations that are in employer demand; one measure of this demand is 
employer H-1B applications for workers. In particular, industries that 
appear to generate the most H-1B demand include information technology 
and health. Appendix A to this Solicitation provides information on the 
kinds of occupations certified under the H-1B program by the Department 
of Labor for Fiscal Year 1999 (Oct.1, 1998 to May 1999), and the number 
of job openings certified in each occupation.
    This notice describes the application submission requirements, the 
process that eligible entities must use to apply for funds covered by 
this solicitation, and how grantees will be selected. It is anticipated 
that about $45 million will be available for funding the projects 
covered in this second-round solicitation, that approximately fifteen 
projects will be selected for funding,

[[Page 46959]]

and that the maximum grant award will not exceed $3.0 million.

DATES: Applications for grant awards will be accepted commencing 
immediately. The closing date for receipt of applications shall be 
September 19, 2000 at 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) at the address below.

ADDRESSES: Applications shall be mailed to the U.S. Department of 
Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Division of Federal 
Assistance, Attention: Diemle Phan, SGA/DFA 00-108, 200 Constitution 
Avenue, NW, Room S-4203, Washington, D.C. 20210.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions should be faxed to Diemle 
Phan, Grants Management Specialist, Division of Federal Assistance, Fax 
(202) 219-8739. This is not a toll free number. All inquiries should 
include the SGA number (DFA 00-108) and a contact name, fax and phone 
number. This solicitation will also be published on the Internet on the 
Employment and Training Administration's Homepage at http://
www.doleta.gov. Award notifications will also be published on this 
Homepage.

Background

    This initiative will build on similar ETA initiatives that deal 
with the issue of skill shortages including the June 1998 dislocated 
worker technology demonstration, the new dislocated worker technology 
demonstration, the regional skills consortium building awards announced 
in March 2000, the individual training account demonstration grant 
awards announced in February 2000 and the skills strategies, 
partnership training/system building demonstration awards which were 
announced in June. These efforts were intended to strengthen linkages 
between employers experiencing skill shortages in specific occupations 
and the publicly funded workforce development system. In June 1998, 
$7.5 million in JTPA Title III dislocated worker funds was awarded to 
11 organizations throughout the country to train workers in skills 
related to the information technology industry. In June 1999, over 
$9.57 million was awarded to 10 grantees to train dislocated workers in 
the skills necessary to obtain work requiring advanced skills in 
occupations in manufacturing industry settings, including computers and 
electronics manufacturing, machinery and motor vehicles, chemicals and 
petroleum, specialized instruments and devices, and biomedics. On March 
2, 2000, 23 awards totaling $15.2 million were announced for the 
regional skills consortium competition. Finally, this Solicitation is 
taking into account the experience gained from the first and second 
rounds of the H-1B competition for which 9 awards totaling $12.4 
million were announced on February 10, 2000 and 12 awards totaling 
$29.2 million were announced on July 19, 2000.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: ETA is soliciting proposals on a competitive 
basis for the conduct of demonstration projects to provide technical 
skills training for workers, including both employed and unemployed 
workers. This announcement consists of three parts:
     Part I  Application Process.
     Part II  Statement of Work/Reporting Requirements.
     Part III  Review Process/Rating Criteria

Legislative Mandate

    The relevant portions of ACWIA dealing with the establishment of a 
fund for implementing a program of H-1B skill training grants state:

``Section 286(s)--H-1B Nonimmigrant Petitioner Account

    (1) In General--There is established in the general fund of the 
Treasury a separate account, which shall be known as the ``H-1B 
Nonimmigrant Petitioner Account.'' Notwithstanding any other section of 
this title, there shall be deposited as offsetting receipts into the 
account all fees collected under section 214(c)(9).
    (2) Use of Fees For Job Training--56.3 percent of amounts deposited 
into the H-1B Nonimmigrant Petitioner Account shall remain available to 
the Secretary of Labor until expended for demonstration programs and 
projects described in section 104(c) of the American Competitiveness 
and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998.''

``Section 104(c)--Demonstration Programs and Projects To Provide 
Technical Skills Training for Workers

    (1) In General--In establishing demonstration programs under 
section 452(c) of the Job Training Partnership Act (29 U.S.C. 1732(c)), 
as in effect on the date of the enactment of this Act, or demonstration 
programs of projects under section 171(b) of the Workforce Investment 
Act of 1998, the Secretary of Labor shall use funds available under 
section 286(s) to establish demonstration programs or projects to 
provide technical skills training for workers, including both employed 
and unemployed workers.
    (2) Grants--The Secretary of Labor shall award grants to carry out 
the programs and projects described in paragraph (1) to--
    (A)(i) private industry councils established under section 102 of 
the Job Training Partnership Act (29 U.S.C. 1512), as in effect on the 
date of the enactment of this Act; or
    (ii) local boards that will carry out such programs or projects 
through one-stop delivery systems established under section 121 of the 
Workforce Investment Act of 1998; or
    (B) regional consortia of councils or local boards described in 
subparagraph (A). The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) (section 
101(a)(15)( H)(i) (b)) defines the ``H-1B alien as one who is coming 
temporarily to the United States to perform services in a specialty 
occupation or as a fashion model.''
    The INA (Section 214(i)) sets criteria to define the term 
``specialty occupation:''
    (1) For purposes of section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) and paragraph 2, a 
``specialty occupation'' means an occupation that requires--
    (A) theoretical and practical application of a body of highly 
specialized knowledge and,
    (B) attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree in the specific 
specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the 
occupation in the United States
    (2) For purposes of section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b)), the requirements 
of this paragraph with respect to a specialty occupation are--
    (A) full state licensure to practice in the occupation, if such 
licensure is required.
    (B) completion of the degree described in paragraph (1)(B) for the 
occupation, or
    (C)(i) experience in the specialty equivalent to the completion of 
such degree, and (ii) recognition of expertise in the specialty through 
progressively responsible positions relating to the specialty.

Part I--Application Process

A. Eligible Applicants

    ACWIA specifies under Section 104(c)(2) that the Secretary shall 
award grants to private industry councils (PICs) established under 
section 102 of the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) (Note: The 
Workforce Investment Act was implemented on July 1, 2000 and superseded 
JTPA; therefore private industry councils have been replaced by 
workforce investment boards), or local boards that will carry out such 
programs or projects through one-stop delivery

[[Page 46960]]

systems established under section 121 of the Workforce Investment Act 
(WIA) of 1998, or regional consortia of councils or local boards. This 
Solicitation contemplates that the local boards will designate a fiscal 
agent to be the recipient of grant funds. Successful applicants under 
earlier H-1B Solicitations will be eligible for grants under this 
competition; however those current awardees will be required to 
indicate that this proposal provides a completely new approach to skill 
training (including a different skill shortage area, e.g., health 
occupations rather than information technology) from that being 
conducted under their current grant. Proposals submitted by those 
current awardees will be subject to pre-screening to assure that they 
propose an approach that is clearly innovative and different from the 
activity that was implemented under previous award.
    While the statute is quite specific about the fact that only local 
boards (through their designated fiscal agents) and consortia may apply 
for and receive these grant awards, it does not preempt the 
participation of other concerned entities which are integral to the 
process of planning for and conducting skill training in skill shortage 
areas. The Department of Labor is requiring that eligible applicants 
must demonstrate that they have the involvement of a wide 
representation of the business community in their region. They are also 
strongly encouraged to reach out widely and involve a broad spectrum of 
other organizations such as labor unions, community colleges and other 
postsecondary educational institutions, and community based and faith 
based organizations in a partnership or consortium arrangement.
    Applicants are encouraged to associate with entities which possess 
a sound grasp of the job marketplace in the region and which are in a 
position to address the issue of skill shortage occupations. Such 
organizations would include private, for profit businesses--including 
small- and medium-size businesses; business, trade, or industry 
associations such as local Chambers of Commerce and small business 
federations; and labor unions. Also, those entities should include 
businesses and business associations which have experienced first hand 
the problems of coping with skill shortages and which employ workers 
engaged in skill shortage occupations. This Solicitation will not 
prescriptively define the roles of individual entities within the 
partnership beyond requiring, as ACWIA states, that local workforce 
investment boards, or consortia be the applicant and the recipient of 
(or fiscal agent for receiving) grant funds. It is anticipated, 
however, that the proposal will provide a detailed discussion of 
participating organizations' respective responsibilities. The proposal 
should describe a consortium of several employers that will lead the 
consortium and provide matching funds and who intend to employ workers 
participating in the technical skills training.
    Based on Department of Labor experiences, regional partnerships 
that actively engage a wide range of participation from community 
groups--particularly with strong private employer involvement--appear 
to be successful. In general, applicants will be encouraged to include 
a broad spectrum of stakeholder groups, including such employers, in 
their partnership effort. Also, local workforce investment boards or 
consortia thereof representing more than one region that share common 
economic goals may band together as one applicant rather than applying 
individually.
    The application must clearly identify who the applicant is (or who 
the fiscal agent is). As part of this certification, the applicant must 
identify who the grant recipient (and/or fiscal agent) is and describe 
its capacity to administer this project; it shall also indicate that 
the project is consistent with and will be coordinated with the 
workforce investment system(s) that are involved in technical skills 
activities in the region(s) encompassed by the applicant.
    Part III of this announcement enumerates and defines in depth a 
series of criteria that will be utilized to rate applicant submissions. 
Briefly, these criteria are:
     Statement of Need
     Service Delivery Strategy
     Target Population
     Sustainability
     Linkages with Key Partners
     Outcomes
     Cost Effectiveness

B. Submission of Proposals

    Applicants must submit four (4) copies of their proposal, with 
original signatures. The proposal must consist of two (2) separate and 
distinct parts, Parts I and II.
     Part I of the proposal shall contain the Standard Form 
(SF) 424, ``Application for Federal Assistance'' (Appendix B) and the 
Budget Information Form (Appendix C). The individual signing the (SF) 
424 on behalf of the applicant shall represent the responsible 
financial and administrative entity for a grant should that application 
result in an award. The individual who signs the application should be 
the same individual who signs the certification discussed in the 
previous section. According to the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, 
Section 18, an organization described in Section 501 (c) 4 of the 
Internal Revenue Code of 1986 which engages in lobbying activities 
shall not be eligible for the receipt of federal funds constituting an 
award, grant, or loan.
    In preparing the Budget Information form, the applicant must 
provide a concise narrative explanation to support the request. The 
statutory language of ACWIA is specific in stating that grant resources 
are to be expended for programs or projects to provide technical skills 
training. Therefore, ACWIA grant resources to be utilized for the costs 
of administration will be limited to no more than 10 percent of the 
request and should clearly support the goals of the project. 
Administrative costs include such items as project staff, travel, and 
fungible supplies. In general, however, this does not contemplate or 
permit the purchase of capital equipment. The budget narrative should 
discuss precisely how the administrative costs support those goals.
     Part II must contain a technical proposal that 
demonstrates the Offeror's capabilities in accordance with the 
Statement of Work contained in this announcement. A grant application 
is limited to twenty (20) double-spaced, single-side, 8.5 inch  x  11 
inch pages with 1-inch margins. The Offeror may provide statistical 
information and related material in attachments. Attachments may not 
exceed fifteen (15) pages. Letters of commitment from partners or from 
those providing matching resources may be submitted as attachments; 
however, letters of support are not required. Such letters will not 
count against the allowable maximum page total. The Applicant must 
briefly enumerate those entities in the text of the proposal. Text type 
shall be 11 point or larger. Applications that do not meet these 
requirements will not be considered. Each application must include a 
Time Line outlining project activities and an Executive Summary not to 
exceed two pages. The Time Line and the Executive Summary do not count 
against the 20 page limit. No cost data or reference to price is 
included in the technical proposal.

C. Hand Delivered Proposals

    If proposals are hand delivered, they must be received at the 
address identified above by September 19, 2000, at 4:00 p.m., Eastern 
Time. All overnight mail will be considered to be hand delivered and 
must be received at the designated place by 2:00 on the

[[Page 46961]]

specified closing date. Telegraphed and/or faxed proposals will not be 
honored. Failure to adhere to the above instructions will be a basis 
for a determination of nonresponsiveness.

D. Late Proposals

    A proposal received at the designated office after the exact time 
specified for receipt will not be considered unless it is received 
before award is made and it:
     Was sent by registered or certified mail not later than 
the fifth calendar day before the date specified for receipt of 
applications (e.g., a proposal submitted in response to a solicitation 
requiring receipt of applications by the 20th of the month must be 
mailed by the 15th);
     Was sent by U.S. Postal Service Express Mail Next Day 
Service, Post Office to addressee, not later than 5 p.m. at the place 
of mailing two working days prior to the date specified for proposals. 
The term ``working days'' excludes weekends and U.S. Federal holidays. 
The only acceptable evidence that an application was sent in accordance 
with these requirements is a printed, stamped, or otherwise placed 
impression (exclusive of a postage meter machine impression) that is 
readily identifiable without further action as having been supplied or 
affixed on the date of mailing by employees of the U.S. Postal Service.

E. Period of Performance

    The initial period of performance will be up to 24 months from the 
date of execution of the grant documents. It is anticipated that about 
$45 million will be disbursed. U.S. Department of Labor may elect to 
exercise its option to extend these grants for an additional period not 
to exceed 36 months, based on the availability of funding and 
successful program operation.

F. Definitions

    For purposes of this solicitation:
     Technical skills training includes occupational skills 
training--that may combine academic and work-place learning and related 
instruction, customized training with a commitment of an employer or 
group of employers to employ an individual upon successful completion 
of training, and that may be tailored to meet the needs of the 
individual participant. Section 134 (d)(4)(D) of WIA provides a 
definition of training services that shall be viewed as generally 
applicable to the term ``technical skills training'' in this 
Solicitation. This definition of technical skills training specifically 
allows the use of grant funds to provide necessary books.
     Region means an area which exhibits a commonality of 
economic interest. Thus, a region may comprise a few labor market 
areas, one large labor market, one labor market area joined together 
with a couple of adjacent rural districts, a few special purpose 
districts, or a few contiguous local boards. Clearly, if the region 
involves multiple economic or political jurisdictions, it is essential 
that they be contiguous to one another. A region may be either 
intrastate or interstate. Although the rating criteria will provide 
more detail, it is the applicant's responsibility to demonstrate the 
regional nature of the area which that application covers. Also, a 
region may be coterminous with a single local board.

G. Sustainability

    No applicant may receive a grant unless that applicant agrees to 
provide resources equivalent to at least 25 percent of the grant award 
amount as a match. That match may be provided in cash or in kind, 
however, Federal resources may not be counted against the matching 
requirement. In view of the fact that the singular focus of grant 
resources is to provide skill training, ETA particularly encourages the 
provision of essential capital equipment, such as computer equipment, 
as part of the match. The match will not be tied to the drawdown of 
funds, however, the amount and nature of it must be clearly described 
in the application.
    The 25 percent matching requirement should be viewed as a minimum 
designed to assist grantees in developing sustainability. The 
Department is particularly interested that applicants demonstrate clear 
evidence through matched and/or leveraged resources (those Federal 
resources which may not be counted against match but which are integral 
to strengthening the quality of technical skills training provided and 
which contribute materially to sustainability) that the project will 
have the capacity to continue its training activities after the 
expiration date of the grant.

Part II--Statement of Work/Reporting Requirements

A. Principles

    Five basic key principles underlie this effort:
     Partnership Sustainability: The grant awards will be of 
relatively short duration--up to 24 months. Although the primary focus 
of these awards is technical skill training, ETA intends that regional 
partnerships sustain themselves over the long term--well after the 
federal resources from this initiative have been exhausted. The 25 
percent non-Federal matching requirement is an integral part of 
ensuring sustainability; matching resources will help sustain the skill 
shortages training effort beyond the term of the grant. This concept 
relates to Links with Key Partners and Sustainability (What resources 
does each partner bring to the table and how does this contribution 
assist in building the foundation for a permanent partnership?)
     Business Involvement: Business is an essential partner. It 
articulates skill requirements, hires skilled workers, and provides 
support for lifelong learning. Under WIA, business plays a critical 
role in planning and overseeing training and employment activities. WIA 
requires that the majority of the membership of State and local boards 
be business representatives, and that the State and local board chairs 
be drawn from business. For the purpose of these grants, it is 
imperative that businesses represented include businesses with current 
skill shortages who intend to hire graduates of the technical skills 
training. This concept relates to three Rating Criteria: Statement of 
Need (Assists in determining what skill shortage occupations are in 
demand in the region), Linkages with Key Partners and Sustainability 
(What private sector involvement is there in the partnership; what 
resources does each of the partners bring to the table; how do 
contributions assist in building the foundation for a permanent 
partnership?), and Outcomes (Businesses involved in the partnerships 
will provide a key resource in hiring/upgrading workers who have been 
trained).
     Current Skills Gap: Current skill shortages are the 
immediate focus of this initiative. Training investments should be 
targeted in occupational areas that have been identified on the basis 
of H-1B occupations as skill shortage areas. This concept relates to 
Statement of Need (The most important issue to be addressed under this 
section is identifying the particular skill shortages that manifest 
themselves in the region.) and Service Delivery Strategy (How will 
skill training meet the skill needs of the region.)
     Innovative and Effective Tools: The grantees will use 
innovative or proven tools and approaches to close particular skills 
gaps and provide strategies for training that promote regional 
development. This concept relates to Service Delivery Strategy (There 
can be innovation in the way training services are provided.) and Cost 
Effectiveness (Innovative tools and approaches may

[[Page 46962]]

more effectively deliver training services to individual participants 
thereby resulting in better employment outcomes and higher levels of 
skill achieved by those participants for the same cost.)
     Target Population: The primary emphasis of the ACWIA 
technical skills training will be to focus on employed and unemployed 
workers who can be trained and placed directly in the highly skilled H-
1B occupations. As part of identifying people with the appropriate 
backgrounds that would benefit from such training, there should be a 
special outreach effort to target women, minorities, persons with 
disabilities, and other underrepresented groups. This relates to the 
rating criterion, Target Population (Discussion of who the targeted 
workers are.)

B. Skills Shortages

    Section 104(c) of ACWIA mandates that the grants awarded under this 
authority be used for technical skill training to employed and 
unemployed workers. The basis of the funding for the grants, however, 
is a user fee paid by an employer seeking nonimmigrant alien workers 
(H-1B) that possess qualifications in occupations with skill shortages 
at high skill levels in American industry. Thus, training conducted 
under these auspices should be in occupations that have been 
demonstrated to be in short supply. What is a skills shortage? In the 
simplest terms possible, such shortages occur in a market economy when 
the demand for skilled workers for a particular occupation is greater 
than the supply of workers who are qualified, available, and willing to 
do that job. Although, some of the explanations for why this demand or 
supply disequilibrium exists are fairly complex, the basic concept is 
straightforward. In many instances, labor markets adjust quickly and 
the skill shortage is resolved.
    Problematic skills shortages occur when there is imbalance between 
worker supply and demand for an unusual period of time. The H-1B visa 
program is a response to those shortages, and this skill training grant 
program helps alleviate such shortages. It should be noted that the 
concept of skill shortages also may include an imbalance between the 
demand and supply of workers at some definable skill level.

C. Skills Standards

    As noted earlier, the definition of the minimum proficiency level 
required to be considered an H-1B occupation, contained in section 214 
(i) of INA, speaks to a very high skill level for these ``specialty 
occupations'' (8 U.S.C. 1184 (i)). To reiterate, these are occupations 
that require ``theoretical and practical application of a body of 
highly specialized knowledge,'' and full state licensure to practice in 
the occupation (if it is required). These occupations also must require 
either completion of at least a bachelor's degree or experience in the 
specialty equivalent to the completion of such degree and recognition 
of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible 
positions relating to the specialty.
    Skill standards represent a benchmark by which an individual's 
achieved competence can be measured. Much work has been done in this 
area--some by private industry and trade associations, some by 
registered apprenticeship training systems, some by public and private 
partnerships, including local School-to-Work partnerships, and the Job 
Corps. Succinctly stated, well-defined skill standards can be a useful 
tool in matching training goals to targeted occupational areas. 
Applicants are encouraged to survey the progress to date in developing 
occupational skill standards in their communities. Do companies that 
will be seeking skilled workers for H-1B occupations have a clearly 
defined set of expectations for the requisite capabilities of those 
workers?

D. Regional Planning

    Applicants must describe the local area or region that will be 
served with particular emphasis on its skill shortages. That discussion 
should include an articulation of the dimensions, nature and specifics 
of those skill shortages. The proposal must also identify the political 
jurisdictions to be included as well as provide an enumeration of the 
specific local areas under WIA. Although comprehensive occupational 
vacancy data do not exist, current H-1B applicant data should be 
utilized to the extent feasible to describe occupational shortages. 
Attachment A to this Solicitation is a listing by occupation of the 
most current H-1B applicant data. Applicants may take into 
consideration that occupations listed in high demand among those for 
which H-1B visas were sought nationally also might be in short supply 
in their region. However, applicants should avail themselves of all 
available local data including data provided by area businesses and 
business associations in making determinations as to shortages. They 
are encouraged to research widely and be inclusive in utilization of 
labor market information. In addition to the sources already described, 
applicants are encouraged to analyze data made available by the Bureau 
of Labor Statistics and through the local One-Stop delivery system.

E. Service Delivery and Supportive Services

    Applicants should carefully describe skill training that will be 
provided under the grant in context of the goals that are to be 
achieved by participants. These goals should be expressed in terms of 
targeted occupations. The Statement of Work should provide a detailed 
discussion of the kinds of training to be provided and the mechanisms 
to be used to provide it. Applicants also should build linkages to the 
One-Stop system established under WIA to reach out, inform, and recruit 
individuals to participate in the H-1B financed training. It is 
expected that the applicant's work statement will include a discussion 
of the types of skills being trained for, the necessary skill levels 
that are targeted, how they will be measured, and how skill shortages 
in the local area or region will be met through this training
    The central role of the local boards in the planning and policy 
activity surrounding these grants is critical. WIA requires the local 
board to prepare a strategic workforce investment plan for the area 
that it embraces. The local board also designates One-Stop service 
center operators and selects eligible training providers. In short, 
local boards are already engaged in much of the necessary work that 
could provide a solid foundation for the training activities to be 
undertaken in ACWIA.
    ACWIA requires that grant resources be used for technical skills 
training. However, ETA anticipates that applicants may need to make 
available a range of supportive services to enhance the quality and 
effectiveness of the skill training provided under the grant. Grant 
funds may not be used to provide supportive services. Appropriately 
focused services, however--such as transportation or child care and 
others defined by section 101(46) of WIA--could be viewed as an 
important factor enhancing the technical skills training package. To 
the extent that these services are provided utilizing non-Federal 
resources, applicants may present them as part of the proposed matching 
requirement. Federal resources such as coenrollment in WIA while 
participating in ACWIA training for supportive services clearly cannot 
be counted toward the matching requirement; however, such coordinated 
coenrollment and services are clearly desirable features of these 
projects. Successful applicants are encouraged to

[[Page 46963]]

leverage such Federal resources as part of making the technical skills 
training more effective.

F. Reporting Requirements

    The Grantee is required to provide the reports and documents listed 
below:
     Quarterly Financial Reports. The grantee must submit to 
the Grant Officer's Technical Representative (GOTR) within the 30 days 
following each quarter, two copies of a quarterly Financial Status 
Report (SF269) until such time as all funds have been expended or the 
period of availability has expired.
     Progress Reports. The grantee must submit brief narrative 
quarterly reports to the GOTR within the 30 days following each 
quarter. Two copies are to be submitted; the report provides a detailed 
account of activities undertaken during that quarter including:
    a. A discussion of occupational areas for which skill training is 
being provided,
    b. Job placements in skill shortage occupations, and
    c. An indication of any current problems which may affect 
performance and proposed corrective action.
     Final Report. A draft final report which summarizes 
project activities and employment outcomes and related results of the 
demonstration shall be submitted no later than the expiration date of 
the grant. The final report shall be submitted in 3 copies no later 
than 60 days after the grant expiration date.

G. Evaluation

    ETA will arrange for or conduct an independent evaluation of the 
outcomes, impacts, and benefits of the demonstration projects. Grantees 
must agree to make available records on participants and employers and 
to provide access to personnel, as specified by the evaluator(s) under 
the direction of ETA.

Part III--Review Process and Rating Criteria

    A careful evaluation of applications will be made by a technical 
review panel who will evaluate the applications against the criteria 
listed below. The panel results are advisory in nature and not binding 
on the Grant Officer. The Government may elect to award the grant with 
or without discussions with the offeror. In situations without 
discussions, an award will be based on the offeror's signature on the 
(SF) 424, which constitutes a binding offer. Awards will be those in 
the best interest of the Government.

A. Statement of Need (15 points)

    The underlying statute authorizing this competitive grant program--
ACWIA--is a response to skill shortages around the country in specific 
occupations. ETA has provided the most recent H-1B application data as 
an attachment to this solicitation. The most important issue to be 
addressed under this section is identifying, to the extent possible, 
the particular skill shortages that manifest themselves in the region 
that is encompassed by the application. Applicants are encouraged to 
utilize all available data resources--H-1B applications, newspaper want 
ads, expressed employer consortium hiring desires, and One Stop 
system's labor market information--in responding to this criterion. To 
provide a focused backdrop for the discussion of skill shortages, 
applicants should describe clearly the region for which services are to 
be provided. What are the characteristics that make this area a 
cohesive region? What are the particular characteristics of the local 
political, economic and administrative jurisdictions--local workforce 
investment boards, labor market areas, special district authorities--
that caused them to associate for the purpose of this application? 
There are several useful items of information that could be provided to 
enhance the description of the region. A general discussion of the 
region should include socioeconomic data--with a particular focus on 
the general education and skill level prevalent in the area. Also, it 
is useful to include such items as transportation patterns, demographic 
information (such as age and general income of residents). Judicious 
use of statistical information is encouraged. Other pertinent questions 
that will provide greater depth of description include: What is the 
general business environment? What industries and occupations are 
growing, and which ones are cutting back? What are the characteristics 
of the major employers in the region? What is the particular situation 
of the consortium member companies?

B. Service Delivery Strategy (30 points)

    Applicants must lay out a comprehensive strategy for providing the 
technical skills training that is mandated as the core activity of 
these grant awards. Concomitantly, there needs to be a discussion of 
how this skill training will meet the skill needs of the region. 
Several specific issues must be focused on as part of this section. 
Those issues include:
    What is the range of potential training providers, what kinds of 
skill training will be offered, how will that meet the regional skill 
needs, and how will training be provided? How will the types of 
training planned for project participants be determined? Also, although 
there is a separate section on outcomes, it is strongly recommended 
that some brief mention in context of the service delivery strategy, be 
made of them here. Such outcomes would include job placements in skill 
shortage occupations, increased salary, and measurable skill gains or 
certificates obtained that demonstrate how the training will alleviate 
skill shortages.
    Supportive services, per se, are not an allowable activity with 
grant funds. However, making such services available on an as needed 
basis (utilizing other available resources) is encouraged. Innovation 
in the context of service delivery can represent a wide variety of 
items. There can be innovation in the way training services are 
provided--e.g., distance learning to provide instruction, interactive 
video self-instructional materials, and flexible class scheduling 
(sections of the same class scheduled at different times of the day to 
accommodate workers whose schedules fluctuate). Creativity in 
developing the service strategy is also encouraged.

C. Target Population (10 points)

    The eligibility criterion for skill training enumerated in ACWIA is 
extremely broad--employed and unemployed workers. This section should 
include an extensive focused discussion of who the targeted workers 
are, including their characteristics, and why they are being targeted. 
A discussion of what assessment procedures are to be used is integral. 
In the case of employed workers, there should be some articulation of 
what is to be accomplished. The applicant should address some specific 
issues relating to the target employed worker population such as:
    --How many employed workers will be targeted for services and why?
    --What are the technical skills training needs of those workers to 
fulfill skill shortage occupations? In the case of unemployed workers, 
there needs to be an extensive discussion of criteria to be used to 
assess and enroll individuals. It is true that the target occupations 
and specific jobs to be trained for within the H-1B rubric are 
statutorily geared to a very high skill standard. It is extremely 
important that the selection process for workers be carefully described 
to make it clear how those individuals will possess the capacity after 
the

[[Page 46964]]

completion of training to take jobs that previously were filled by 
resorting to the H-1B visa process. In particular, the applicant should 
describe with precision the methods that will be used to reach out and 
include minorities, women, and individuals with disabilities who can 
meet these standards.

D. Sustainability (5 points)

    There is a 25 percent matching requirement. To what extent does any 
of these partners provide matching funds or services and how does this 
contribution assist in building the foundation for a permanent 
partnership, i.e., sustainability? As noted earlier, Federal resources 
cannot be counted against the matching requirement; however, it is 
important that such resources be provided as part of the project 
because they certainly support and strengthen the quality of the 
technical skills training provided in the project and contribute 
materially toward sustainability. ACWIA resources are limited to 
training individuals to fill high skill H-1B jobs, however, applicants 
will be given preference for enumerating other resources -Federal and 
non Federal--because they can contribute materially toward 
sustainability. For example, local boards could commit through One-Stop 
centers such valuable participant services as participant assessment 
and case management. Applicants are encouraged to enumerate these 
resources under this section to support their discussion of 
sustainability. This section should also enumerate any specific 
existing contractual commitments. Briefly stated, the sustainability 
issue can be addressed by providing concrete evidence that activities 
supported by the demonstration grant will be continued after the 
expiration date of the grant using other public or private resources.

E. Linkages With Key Partners (15 points)

    The applicant should enumerate who the partners are in this 
endeavor and how they will link together--i.e., what role each will 
play. In particular, this section should articulate ties to the private 
sector, including ties with small-and medium-sized businesses and small 
business federations. The Service Delivery Strategy section of the 
Statement of Work described the role each of the actors would play in 
providing services. This section looks at the linkages from a somewhat 
different more structural perspective with particular emphasis on the 
employers in the consortium that are experiencing skill shortages. What 
resources does each partner bring to the table? The application will 
specify a management entity (together with a staffing pattern and 
resumes of major staff members) and will articulate with some precision 
the roles of various actors. Each application MUST designate an 
individual who will serve as project director and who will devote a 
substantial portion of his/her time to it. (For purposes of this 
requirement, a substantial portion of time is defined as at least 40 
percent.) A short portion of this discussion should dwell upon the 
organizational capacity and track record of the primary actors in the 
partnership.

F. Outcomes (15 points)

    Applicants must describe the predicted outcomes resulting from this 
training. It is posited that the projected results will be somewhat 
varied given the broad range of people that will probably be served. 
For example, employed workers may be trained to achieve a higher skill 
level than most unemployed workers. Their success could manifest itself 
through job placements in H-1B skill shortage occupations, increased 
wages, or skill attainment in H-1B occupations. There are, however, 
unemployed workers who may well already possess a very high skill 
level. They could receive refresher technical skills training to update 
their skills. The outcomes for this group may also be projected in 
terms of gaining employment and skills attainment; those outcomes would 
simply be at a somewhat higher level than for those unemployed workers 
who do not possess similar skills at the outset. Ideally, the 
applicant's outcomes section will describe some version of a relatively 
cohesive mosaic that weaves together the outcomes for both employed and 
unemployed workers in the context described in the preceding three 
paragraphs. Additionally, the outcomes section should focus very 
specifically on the changes that occur because of the training. Thus, 
an applicant might state that a certain skill level is projected for a 
given group; but the applicant should couch that outcome in context of 
what the initial pre-training skill level had been for the group.

G. Cost Effectiveness (10 points)

    Applicants will provide a detailed cost proposal including a 
discussion of the expected cost effectiveness of their proposal in 
terms of the expected cost per participant compared to the expected 
benefits for these participants. Applicants should address the 
employment outcomes and the levels of skills to be achieved (such as 
attaining State licensing in an occupation) relative to the amount of 
training that the individual had to receive to achieve those outcomes. 
Benefits can be described both qualitatively in terms of skills 
attained and quantitatively in terms of wage gains. Cost effectiveness 
may be demonstrated in part by cost per participant and cost per 
activity in relation to services provided and outcomes to be attained. 
This section MUST contain a detailed discussion of the size, nature, 
and quality of the non-Federal match. Proposals not presenting a 
detailed discussion of the non-Federal match or not meeting the 25 
percent match requirement will be considered nonresponsive. Applicants 
are advised that discussions and/or site visits may be necessary in 
order to clarify any inconsistencies in their applications. The 
reviewers' evaluations are only advisory to the Grant Officer. The 
final decisions for grant award will be made by the Grant Officer after 
considering the panelists' scoring decisions. The Grant Officer's 
decisions will be based on what he or she determines is most 
advantageous to the Federal Government in terms of technical quality 
and other factors.

    Signed in Washington, D.C. , this 26th day of July 2000.
Laura A. Cesario,
Grant Officer.

    Appendix A: Selected H-1B Professional, Technical and Managerial 
Occupations, and Fashion Models: Number of Job Openings Certified by 
the U.S. Department of Labor, Fiscal Year 1999 (Oct. 1, 1998-May 31, 
1999).
    Appendix B: (SF) 424-Application Form.
    Appendix C: Budget Information Form.

Appendix A--Selected H-1B Professional, Technical and Managerial 
Occupations, and Fashion Models: Number of Job Openings Certified by 
the U.S. Department of Labor, Fiscal Year 1999 (Oct. 1, 1998--May 31, 
1999)

     

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                            Number of openings
                Occupational code                           Occupational title                  certified
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
030..............................................  Occupations In Systems Analysis And                   360,745
                                                    Programming.

[[Page 46965]]


076..............................................  Therapists..........................                  181,665
160..............................................  Accountants, Auditors, And Related                     35,665
                                                    Occupations.
039..............................................  Other Computer-Related Occupations..                   28,529
003..............................................  Electrical/Electronic Engineering                      16,859
                                                    Occupations.
070..............................................  Physicians And Surgeons.............                   11,264
019..............................................  Other Occupations In Architecture,                     11,175
                                                    Engineering And.
090..............................................  Occupations In College And                              9,028
                                                    University Education.
199..............................................  Miscellaneous Professional,                             8,964
                                                    Technical, And Manager.
189..............................................  Miscellaneous Managers And Officials                    8,824
007..............................................  Mechanical Engineering Occupations..                    7,115
050..............................................  Occupations In Economics............                    5,608
163..............................................  Sales And Distribution Management                       5,368
                                                    Occupations.
033..............................................  Occupations In Computer Systems                         4,573
                                                    Technical Support.
161..............................................  Budget And Management Systems                           4,263
                                                    Analysis Occupations.
169..............................................  Other Occupations In Administrative                     4,135
                                                    Occupations.
031..............................................  Occupations In Data Communications                      4,121
                                                    And Networks.
041..............................................  Occupations In Biological Sciences..                    3,981
079..............................................  Other Occupations In Medicine And                       3,764
                                                    Health.
012..............................................  Industrial Engineering Occupations..                    2,725
186..............................................  Finance, Insurance And Real Estate                      2,624
                                                    Managers And Off.
020..............................................  Occupations In Mathematics..........                    2,599
001..............................................  Architectural Occupations...........                    2,490
141..............................................  Commercial Artists: Designers &                         2,371
                                                    Illustrators, Graphics.
297..............................................  Fashion Models......................                    2,367
092..............................................  Occupations In Preschool, Primary,                      2,359
                                                    Kindergarten Ed.
187..............................................  Service Industry Managers And                           2,347
                                                    Officials.
022..............................................  Occupations In Chemistry............                    2,345
005..............................................  Engineering Occupations.............                    2,186
032..............................................  Occupations In Computer System User                     1,595
                                                    Support.
091..............................................  Occupations In Secondary School                         1,579
                                                    Education.
110..............................................  Lawyers.............................                    1,353
029..............................................  Other Occupations In Mathematics And                    1,306
                                                    Physical Sciences.
131..............................................  Interpreters and Translators........                    1,270
166..............................................  Personnel Administration Occupations                    1,229
165..............................................  Public Relations Management                             1,216
                                                    Occupations.
185..............................................  Wholesale And Retail Trade Managers                     1,183
                                                    And Officials.
008..............................................  Inspectors And Investigators,                             974
                                                    Managerial & Public.
142..............................................  Environmental, Product And Related                        955
                                                    Designers.
119..............................................  Other Occupations In Law And                              882
                                                    Jurisprudence.
099..............................................  Other Occupations In Education......                      841
023..............................................  Occupations In Physics..............                      836
010..............................................  Mining And Petroleum Engineering                          777
                                                    Occupations.
164..............................................  Advertising Management Occupations..                      773
132..............................................  Editors: Publication, Broadcast, And                      748
                                                    Script.
078..............................................  Occupations In Medical And Dental                         699
                                                    Technology.
183..............................................  Manufacturing Industry Managers And                       681
                                                    Officials.
184..............................................  Transportation, Communication, And                        659
                                                    Utilities Management.
049..............................................  Other Occupations In Life Sciences..                      612
162..............................................  Purchasing Management Occupations...                      604
040..............................................  Occupations In Agricultural Sciences                      574
074..............................................  Pharmacists.........................                      508
159..............................................  Other Occupations In Entertainment                        506
                                                    And Recreation.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Technical Note: The Immigration and Nationality Act (Act) 
assigns responsibility to the Department of Labor with respect to 
the temporary entry of foreign professionals to work in specialty 
occupations in the U.S. under H-1B nonimmigrant status. Before the 
Immigration and Naturalization Service will approve a petition for 
an H-1B nonimmigrant worker, the employer must have filed and had 
certified by the Department a Labor Condition Application. The 
employer must indicate on the application the number of H-1B 
nonimmigrant workers sought, the rate of pay offered to the 
nonimmigrants, and the location where the nonimmigrants will work, 
among other things.
    The Act limits the number of foreign workers who may be assigned 
H-1B status in each fiscal year, however, there is no limit on the 
number of job openings that may be certified by the Department. 
Historically, the actual number of job openings certified by the 
Department each year far exceeds the number of available visas. This 
excess in the number of certified openings is due to a number of 
factors: extension of status filings that are not subject to the 
annual cap; openings certified for anticipated employment that does 
not transpire; or movement from one employer to another (again, not 
subject to cap).
    The occupational codes in the left-hand column represent the 
three-digit occupational groups codes for professional, technical 
and managerial occupations from the Dictionary of Occupational 
Titles (DOT).

BILLING CODE 4510-30-P

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[FR Doc. 00-19296 Filed 7-31-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-30-C




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