Apprenticeship NOFO FAQs

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Audience

Subjects

Adult Education

  1. ​The NOFO distributed by DCEO states existing intermediaries may apply for a maximum funding amount of $200,000. However, the grant website and bidder's conference presentation state the maximum funding amount is $250,000. Which funding amount is correct?

    The correct amount for Program Approach #2 is $50,000 to $200,000 as identified in the NOFO.  The NOFO is the official document to be followed.  We apologize for the incorrect amount identified on the workNet grant website and in the Bidder's Conference PowerPoint presentation.  Corrections will be made to the workNet grant website and to the Bidder's Conference PowerPoint presentation.  Please also note that the funding ranges are guidelines and the Department may provide awards that fall outside of these ranges depending on the Scope of Work and impact of the project.

  2. Can you be a lead applicant as well as partner with other organizations that are applying for the grant as the lead applicant?

    ​The answer to this question is yes, providing the applicant has the capacity to handle the workload.  While you may conduct the same activities for both grants/projects you will need to be sure that these activities are not be charged to more than one grant.

  3. In addition to tuition, can grant funds be used to pay for a portion of the apprenticeship on-the-job learning wages?

    ​Yes.

  4. What is meant by apprenticeship sponsors? I did not see that term included in the glossary.

    ​Business, consortium of businesses, workforce intermediaries, industry associations, community colleges, and community-based organizations can serve as sponsors.  Sponsors are responsible for the overall operation of an apprenticeship program and play a major role in the development and execution of an apprenticeship program.  For more information on this and other apprenticeship questions please refer to the U.S. DOL Apprenticeship Toolkit FAQ – Apprenticeship Program Components and Models, at https://www.dol.gov/apprenticeship/toolkit/toolkitfaq.htm

Application

  1. Attachment II asks about services provided under this project. It's difficult to quantify the number of services. Is this supposed to be quantified or do we just check the box?

    ​Please quantify with your best estimate based on the expectations of the project and the number of participants you plan to serve.

  2. FAQ 18 & 26 appears to say that we may not have to fill out attachment ii if applying for the navigator (approach 1) grant app – correct? If incorrect, please identify the portions of attachment ii that need to be competed for the navigator grant app.

    ​FAQ response 18 implies that some of the items in Attachment II may not be applicable in some cases depending on the approach proposed.  It in no way implies that any specific approach is not be applicable to all of the items in Attachment II.  FAQ response 26 is specific to Target Populations that are more associated with intermediaries than Navigators but does not say that as a navigator you are totally removed from activities associated with target populations.  As a navigator, the following sections of Attachment II would be applicable:  Section I – Subsection A. Target Population; Subsection C. Funding; Section II – Subsection A. Activities; Subsection B. Funding; Subsection C. Outcomes.

  3. I am finalizing the paperwork for the Apprenticeship Grant Application and was wondering if, for the MOU section, you require original signatures, or if a scanned copy from our partners is acceptable.

    ​Original signatures are not required for the application and scanned copies of the MOUs are acceptable.  

  4. I have been involved in Federal grant application processes where the deadline has been extended without any confusion. Funding agency simply posts on the web site the extension. Many people will not be available for signatures next week.

    Thank you. However, at this time, the application deadline will remain the same.


  5. Will confirmations of application submissions be emailed? It would help to know that it was received at the correct address. Thank you for your help!

    ​Yes, each email received will be sent a responding email stating that your email was received. The email acknowledging receipt of your email is just that, and does not imply or confirm that what you submitted was complete and/or acceptable.

Fiscal, Budget

  1. Although the Budget Template has the correct # in the file name, the NOFO # within the template is incorrect. It reads: 82-580, instead of 82-1270. We will need to submit it with the incorrect number as we cannot edit the document.

    Noted, thank you.  If you have already started your budget on the form with the NOFO #82-580, that is fine, please continue and submit as is.  If you have not started or are not very far into creating your budget, a corrected budget template has been uploaded to the NOFO landing page with the correct NOFO #82-1270 for you to use.​

  2. Are applicants allowed to adjust to budget forms?

    ​Applicants are allowed to add rows and expand the text boxes in Section C - BUDGET WORKSHEET & NARRATIVE.  The other Sections of the Uniform Budget Template do not allow editing.

  3. Are pre-award costs included in the full award disbursement, if contract is awarded?

    Pre-award costs for services in anticipation of an award are allowable, where necessary, for the efficient and timely performance of the program, and are subject to 2 CFR 200.458.  To be accepted, proof of services must meet the guidelines and requirements outlined within this NOFO.  Only applicants who receive an award as a result of the NOFO and merit-based review process will be eligible for pre-award costs.​
  4. Does the grant allow for payment of an apprentice's tuition? We have this in our notes from the bidder's conference, but don't see it in the NOFO.

    ​Yes.

  5. How do we present the sliding scale match in the Uniform Grant Budget Template? Do we just use an average for a number?

    According to the NOFO, there is no cost sharing or matching requirement.  There is an employer match requirement for incumbent worker training that should be detailed in the SECTION C of the budget template.​
  6. If an employer starts a registered apprenticeship program in January of 2020, can applicants write into the budget tuition, fees, and wages for the apprenticeship RTI training that began prior to the award announcement?

    ​Pre-award costs may be considered but will be dependent on the status of the application.  However, if an apprenticeship program already exists in your area, we suggest you contact the entity implementing the apprenticeship program to see if you can utilize their existing funds.  

  7. If our organization has a Federally negotiated indirect cost rate, are we permitted to use that indirect cost rate as we craft our budget?

    Yes. For more information on the Indirect cost rate options please see page 14 of the NOFO.​


  8. Is there a limit to how much money the intermediary can use to pay apprenticeship wages on behalf of business partners?

    ​If you are referring to On-the-Job Training (OJT) it should not exceed 50% of the cost of the wages, and the wages paid must be comparable to the wages of other employees in the same position.  For further information see OJT Policy Chapter 7, Section 2.2.1.  If this does not answer your question, please resubmit and provide more specific information.

  9. Is there a list of allowable costs specific to this grant?

    According to the NOFO, allowable costs must be necessary, reasonable, and allocable based on the activity or activities contained in the scope of work.  Costs must be in accordance with the Uniform Guidance at 2 CFR 200 and the DOL Exceptions to the Uniform Guidance at 2 CFR 2900.  See the Uniform Budget Template INSTRUCTIONS Tab for a complete list of budget line items.​
  10. On the Personnel tab for the "Personnel Narrative" are we really expected to add a description and justification in this cell as it is not wrapping in the cell and there's not a lot of space.

    ​The cell is wrapping the content, you just can't see it because the row is not expanding automatically.  Please try dragging row 17 down to expand the row height to expose the additional text you have entered.

  11. We are to use the standard budget proposal as stated on page 18 NOFO - where can this be found?

    The Uniform Budget Template is posted on the NOFO webpage under the NOFO Materials.​

General

  1. When are funding decisions expected to be announced (so that we can put an accurate project start date)? Thank you!

    ​That has not yet been determined. There are a lot of variables that affect our ability to announce decisions, but we hope to have some decisions made by the beginning of March. 

  2. Are there examples of work processes for existing Registered Apprenticeship programs?

    ​You can view examples of work processes for existing Registered Apprenticeship programs with this link.

  3. Are we to use the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity's Uniform Application for State Grant Assistance?

    Yes, The Uniform Application must be completed as a cover for each proposal.  All applications must include the following mandatory forms/attachments in the order identified below.  Please compile these attachments into one electronic file for items 1-7 and one electronic file for the budget proposal.
    1. Signed Application
    2. Executive Summary
    3. Technical Proposal
    4. Implementation Plan
    5. Other Required Attachments (see Section D of the NOFO)
    6. Resumes of Program Staff
    7. Partnership Agreements and/or Memorandums of Understanding
    8. Budget Proposal​
  4. At the bidders meeting IT was specifically mentioned as a leading sector. However on page 16 it is not listed. So is IT going to be considered a leading or medium growth sector?

    ​The sectors listed on page 16 are examples and is not inclusive.  If IT is included as a targeted industry in the local, state and/or your regions regional workforce plan, then it will be acceptable as a targeted industry.  IT spans across all industries (all industries need some form of IT).  However, you must prove the demand for any program you are creating or expanding.

  5. Can an existing youth apprenticeship organization that up-skills high school seniors and places them in internships for their senior year apply for a grant to enable our program to expand to provide more eligible students to become Registered Apprentices?

    ​With the grant funds received by the U.S. DOL, Illinois must increase the number of registered apprentices by 800 by the end of the grant period, June 2022.  Therefore, all programs under this grant must serve Registered Apprentices.  So, either your youth apprenticeship program must be registered with the Department of Labor or your youth apprentices must be matriculated into Registered Apprenticeship programs by the end of the grant period.

  6. Do all MOUs/Agreements need to be signed by Training providers prior to the application being submitted. Our fear is that we won't get the signed copy of our MOUs/Agreements back from the providers in time for the application deadline.

    ​The MOUs should be submitted with the application.  However, we understand that sometimes obtaining the signature prior to the application due date may not happen. Therefore, still submit MOUs along with an explanation of where you are in the process.

  7. Do you have dates for the grant period? When will it begin and end?

    ​The NOFO does not provide specific dates for the start and end date of a grant award. Page 19 of the NOFO states: 

    “Award Term: The grant term/performance period will be determined on a project by project basis, targeted at 12–18 months. Page 32 of the NOFO states it is anticipated that grants will be awarded under this NOFO by March 2020. So project starting dates are anticipated to be March/April."

  8. Does anyone participating in this grant have to be WIOA eligible? And at what point will this happen in the process? Please clarify all details related to eligibility.

    ​We need more clarity on exactly what your question is asking so we can give you an appropriate answer.  Please clarify who "anyone participating in this grant" is referring to.  i.e., participating as in applying for a grant as the grantee, or participants that would receive training under this grant?  WIOA eligibility is very complex and cannot be explained here.  If you are applying for a grant, you will first need to talk/work with the Local Workforce Investment Area (LWIA) or one of their approved providers in order to partner with them regarding eligibility, WIOA services, etc.

  9. Does the DCEO intend to name only one organization as the grantee to run the Apprenticeship Expansion program or will there be several grants between multiple organizations?

    It is anticipated that the DCEO will identify one organization that will administer the program per grant; although the Department reserves the right to identify multiple organizations.​
  10. How do I register in the SAMS System (System for Award Management)?

    Organizations should follow the step by step instruction at the following website to complete this the SAMS registration:

    https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/GATA/Grantee/GranteePortalFAQ/SAM-Registration.pdf#search=SAMS

  11. How long does it take to complete the pre-award registration process?

    Organizations should go to https://grants.illinois.gov/portal/ to start the automated registration process.  This process takes several steps and should be completed with the assistance with the organization's fiscal officer to ensure that the automated e-mails are routed to the appropriate staff.  New organizations are generally advised to allow for at least a week to complete the State of Illinois registration process.  Please note that this timeline assumes that the organization also has a valid DUNS number and is registered in the federal System for Award Management System (SAMS).​
  12. If allowed to contract out to other agencies, does an RFP need to be released and those agencies competitively bid to be the navigator?

    ​Applicants are required to follow their organization's procurement procedures as required by the Uniform Administrative Guidance at 2 CFR 200 to identify subrecipient and/or contractors.

  13. If allowed to contract out, as the fiscal agent can the grant recipient charge to the grant for fiscal administration of the grant, monitoring of the sub-contractor(s), and for reporting?

    ​It is allowable, but generally those are all direct or indirect administrative costs.

  14. If an applicant proposes pe-apprenticeship programs that serve non-WIOA eligible participants, must the pre-apprenticeship program still be subject to WIOA participant eligibility, case management, and performance requirements?

    ​If serving non-WIOA participants, then they wouldn't be enrolled in IWDS and not have to meet WIOA requirements. Performance requirements are based upon data entered by the local workforce area into IWDS.  But, keep in mind, all pre-apprentices must be in a registered apprenticeship program before the end of the grant period.

  15. If an organization plans to provide pre-apprenticeship training, are ALL participants expected to be in a Registered Apprenticeship Program before the end of the grant period?

    ​Yes!

  16. If we want to propose doing both Approach 2 and Approach 3, need we submit separate proposals for each, or can one proposal cover approaches 2 and 3?

    ​Not understanding your capacity and ability as an intermediary, here is our response.  Approach 2 is for Established Intermediaries who are expanding existing programs or can operationalize new programs very quickly. If you are an established intermediary with capacity to expand existing or operationalize new programs quickly, then Approach 2 is for you. Approach 3 are for new intermediaries who need more time to design, develop, and implement programs. If you feel you straddle the two, then you will need to submit two applications. 

  17. In Approach #3, is there funding to "develop" the program or does the program need to be already set and fleshed out? I want to understand how much of the "new" program already needs to be set to apply for this NOFO?

    ​Yes, funds can be used to develop the program, and No, the program does not need to be already set and fleshed out.  New means the development of an apprenticeship program where none exists, or are underdeveloped despite employer interest.

  18. In defining our geography, can we define our region as statewide (LWIA90) as opposed to a specific EDR or LWIA? This would allow us to expand our economic impact and work with all partner agencies, some of which are outside of our local community.

    ​Yes, you can define as statewide. The LWIA90 performance aspect will be determined as applicable.

  19. In reviewing attachment II- Programs Activities and outcomes, it appears not all sections apply to all grant applications. Is N/A an acceptable answer based on the grant type an organization is applying for?

    Yes.


  20. In the NOFO describing new intermediaries, can an organization apply to partner statewide with other intermediaries on an "as-requested" basis? The clients of the new intermediary would be other existing and new intermediaries.

    ​Intermediaries can definitely partner statewide. However, in the application, you must identify all known partners. Newly developed partners can be added as a modification to the grant as they are developed.  

  21. Is it allowable for someone to apply to be the fiscal agent/administrative entity and sub-contract out to other agencies to be navigators? Also, can an EDR, if we can contract out, have more than 1 navigator in order to better serve a large rural area?

    The use of a fiscal agent or administrative entity to serve as the grantee is allowable.

    An applicant is required to respond to all technical requirements outlined in the NOFO.  If the applicant has not contracted with the entity that will provide the "navigator services" then the applicant may not be able to provide as much detail in responding to some of the technical requirements outlined in the NOFO.  Please note that the applications will be reviewed based on the information that is presented in the application at the time of submission using the criteria outlined in the NOFO.

  22. Is there a list of apprenticeable occupations?

    ​You may view the Department of Labor's list of Apprenticeable Occupations here.

  23. Might you give some consideration to extending the due date of the application to December 9th or 6th? December 2nd is the Monday following Thanksgiving which means that for all practical purposes the grant is due November 22nd.

    ​Since we have already held all the Bidder's Meetings and have announced the December 2, 2019, date, we believe it would cause too much confusion at this time to change the due date.  We appreciate your concern and will try to avoid this type of issue for future NOFOs. 

  24. Navigator Section 1 (f) (ii) What is meant by include references and contact information of the project's sponsor?

    ​In the context of the question, "please describe similar projects", a sponsor may have been a company, organization, government agency that funded the project you implemented and are describing as your response for this section.  This question asks you to provide them as a reference that can be contacted should we choose to discuss their satisfaction with your work.

  25. NOFO states “This funding opportunity is limited to public and private organizations....." Community colleges are not "organizations", thus are they eligible to be a lead applicant on this opportunity?

    ​We are using the broader definition of organization, which definitely includes community colleges. Yes.  Community colleges are eligible to be the lead applicant. 

  26. RE: #29 under General; "tech proposal has a max of 20 pages." Does this 20 pgs include the narrative + supporting Appendices ( Training plans, Program work schedule, etc). Or, are Appendices separate from this stated 20-page max requirement?

    ​The Appendices do not count toward the 20-page maximum.

  27. Regarding the funds for the Regional Navigation Grant, do these funds also need to be directly used for only the target population as defined in page 15 of the NOFO?

    ​Regional Navigators will work with businesses, intermediaries, and other entities to cultivate the adoption and development of registered apprenticeship programs. Their focus is on business development and workforce development, working with the "demand side," not necessarily the "supply side," i.e., apprentices.  However, they would act as a referral mechanism for potential apprentices, regardless of the target population. 

  28. We are a consortium of 2 LWIA's applying for all three grants. Navigator Section 1 applicant organization capacity, are we answering as the consortium as a whole or the workforce area receiving the grant?

    Both.

  29. We are an LWIA that is considering applying for the Intermediary grant. We currently have a Sub award agreement with another organization for all WIOA services Do we need another MOU for this grant between the two parties?

    ​Yes, as said in all the bidder's conferences, you need a new MOU that is specific to this grant.

  30. We are concerned about capacity as a navigator due to our geographic size. We would like to be able to sub-contract some responsibilities and would include in such contract(s) the requirement to be industry neutral. Would that be allowable?

    ​Yes. That is allowable. 

  31. We are considering applying for funding of a navigator that focuses on the disadvantaged population of people with arrest and conviction records, would that approach be acceptable under the NOFO?

    ​Anyone can apply to be a navigator helping businesses adopt the apprenticeship model and hire apprentices. However, we would caution that navigators need to be sector neutral, and it appears the way the question is phrased, you are speaking of a target-based or equity-based intermediary rather than a navigator.

  32. We are considering applying to the Apprenticeship Expansion Program RFP that has been released. We have programs that fit well within each scope. Should we select one to focus in on or apply to both?

    It is your choice if you want to apply to one or more of the NOFO opportunities. The project must meet the criteria established in the NOFO.​
  33. We are in the south suburbs of Chicago and fall under the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. Does that mean the we are a LWIA and thus; do not need an MOU with our local workforce area?

    ​Falling under or being in a LWIA does not mean, or make, you a LWIA.  The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (LWIA 7) is the only designated LWIA for Cook County.  Based on this you would need an MOU with LWIA 7, and/or any additional LWIA into which the boundaries of your project fall and whose services you will be seeking.  LWIA 7 is different from any other LWIA, so you may obtain an MOU with one of LWIA 7's service providers, unless you are a service provider for LWIA 7 and can document it.

  34. We are thinking of applying under Approach 1 and heard that you will fund one (1) sector specific partnership in LWIA7. Is this true? The NOFO states that Navigator applications need to be sector neutral.

    ​No that is not true. Navigators need to be sector industry neutral. We did say that we may be open to funding 2 navigators in the Chicago metro area.

  35. We believe we would fall under approach number 2 (EXPANDING EXISTING APPRENTICESHIP INTERMEDIARY), given we have already been providing pre-apprenticeship services. Can you confirm we are eligible to apply under this category?

    ​We cannot confirm eligibility of any applicant. There could be many reasons an organization would not be eligible. As mentioned in the bidders conferences, most established intermediaries will apply for approach number 2, and new or newer intermediaries would apply for approach number 3. Please note, that pre-apprentices cannot be counted unless they enter a Registered Apprenticeship program before the end of the grant period.

  36. We now have a signed MOU that we did not have at the time of submission. We submitted it without the signature. How do we submit it to DCEO for consideration with our grant?

    ​Please send an email to the same address as you sent your application with MOU attached. State in your email the explanation you provided for this question.

  37. We plan to include an apprenticeship navigator position in our proposal, can you confirm this is allowable under approach number 2?

    ​It is not allowable under approach number 2. However, an organization may apply for both navigator and intermediary funds, BUT these must be two separate applications.  Please note, the navigators must be industry sector neutral.

  38. What is the actual overall page limit? The response in FAQ (#15) states narrative is 12 pages; NOFO (p. 21) states 20 pages; Program #3 details (p. 27-29) adds up to 17 pages.

    ​The technical proposal piece has a maximum of 20 pages. The rest is just guidance or a carryover from last time. We have taken down the incorrect info from the FAQ.

  39. What qualifies staff to certify and document eligibility in IWDS and IWTS?

    ​If you are not a local workforce area or a service providers for those areas, you must partner with them in order to access IWDS and IWTS. 

  40. When are the approved grantees for this notice of funding expected to be notified and how will they be contacted?

    ​All applicants will be notified by E-mail if their application is or is not approved for funding.  It is anticipated that these notifications will be sent by the end of March.

  41. When should an organization update the Internal Control Questionnaire on the www.grants.illinois.gov portal?

    Grantees are required to update the Internal Control Questionnaire at least every fiscal year.  The ICQ responses should be updated and resubmitted if there are significant changes that would impact an organization's capacity to administer a grant.​
  42. Where will the awards for the Apprenticeship Expansion be posted? I am curious to see who the Regional Navigators will be.

    ​A list of the awards for the Apprenticeship Expansion will be posted by the end of February 2019 on Illinois workNet's Apprenticeship Illinois announcements page along with the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's website.

Partnership Agreements/MOUs

  1. If we can declare service to an entire EDR, do we need to have MOUs with each LWIA in the region?

    ​The question, as asked, is dependent on the type of service. MOUs spell out the roles each partner will perform.

  2. Is a complete Memorandum of Understanding with a Local Workforce Area, LWIA contractor, industry association, employer, CBO, training provider, chambers of commerce, etc. required to be submitted with the application or can the MOU be “developed” after

    Competitive applications will include a complete Memorandum of Understanding/Agreement with established and named partners. A complete Memorandum of Understanding that details the roles and responsibilities of each named partner is required when you submit your application.​ The Department will accept a letter of commitment (on company letterhead) that outlines a company’s role in the project including but not limited to hiring new employees.​
  3. The NOFO (page 22) indicates that "for applicants other than LWIAs, an MOU must be developed and signed by the applicants and LWIA or other qualified organization..." What types of entities are considered to be "qualified organizations?"

    ​A "qualified organization" would be one that is an approved WIOA provider with the ability to recruit, determine WIOA eligibility, enrollment, and performance requirements.  The LWIAs are qualified to do this, and in some LWIAs there are other organizations that are approved providers that can provide the same services, so they would be considered a "qualified organization".  Contact your local LWIA to get a list of approved providers in your area.

  4. What is meant by "other qualified organization" on NOFO p. 17 in the statement, "...Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) developed and signed by the applicant and an LWIA or other qualified organization."

    ​In the specific instance you reference, the discussion is about WIOA Participant Eligibility and Case Management.  A "qualified organization" would be one that is an approved WIOA provider with the ability to recruit, determine WIOA eligibility, enrollment, and performance requirements.  The LWIAs are qualified to do this, and in some LWIAs there are other organizations that are approved providers that can provide the same services, so they would be considered a "qualified organization".  Contact your local LWIA to get a list of approved providers in your area.

  5. Where can I go to find out more information regarding my local workforce areas.

    A listing of the local workforce areas is posted on-line at https://www.illinoisworknet.com/Connect/Pages/LocationSearch.aspx  - Also contact the NOFO staff contact for additional assistance and referrals based on your local area


Training

  1. As an intermediary applicant not planning to serve high school students, at what point in time does a program participant have to be determined eligible for WIOA services and enrolled in IWDS?

    ​Determination as a WIOA eligible youth, adult, and/or dislocated worker must be made, documented, and entered into IWDS prior to any services being provided to the participant.  In terms of incumbent workers, their eligibility must be determined prior to their enrollment into IWTS and before any services can be provided.  At what "point in time", (we assume you mean within the project timeline), this needs to be done is dependent on the specific project, and varies from project to project.

  2. Must all training services be certified under the Illinois Eligible Training Provider list? Can candidates participate in training programs not funded by WIOA?

    ​Any programs providing the training for a registered apprenticeship program can be automatically be added to the Eligible Training Provider List.

  3. There is a shortage of professional cooks in Illinois. Does a Culinary Arts apprenticeship program be considered under the category of "Leisure & Hospitality for approval under the NOFO? Thank You

    ​Yes. You just need to demonstrate the employer demand/need in your area, to ensure that you have employer involvement, i.e. employers who are going to hire the apprentices (individuals are not Registered Apprentices until they are hired)

  4. What is the difference between a registered and nonregistered apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, and youth apprenticeship?

    See the Resources section on this site https://www.illinoisworknet.com/apprenticeshipnofo for the Illinois Common Career Pathways Definition. Also, see https://www.illinoisworknet.com/apprenticeshipIL for more information.​