Illinois Talent Pipeline FAQ

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Illinois Talent Pipeline RFA

  1. Another FAQ states the grant period "...may not be 2 years and 3 months." I thought from the RFA that the announcement of the award would be in April '15 and the grant period will go thru June '17. Is the grant period limited to 2 years? Please clarify.

    ​The project period should not exceed twelve months.   A modification to extend a grant may occur, but only at the discretion of the Department.  We apologize for the confusion the language in the RFA created.  Under Section 5 of the application it does state that activities must be completed within the established grant period of 12 months.

  2. Applicant History Instructions Q#2.1 (pg 16 of grant application form): Please define programmatic or financial issue if applicant received more than 10 State of Illinois grants within last 3 yrs

    ​Complete this section with information on any grants received from the state of Illinois by the applicant within the last 3 years from the date of this application. Applicant must provide the  information detailed below for each grant received. However, if applicant received more than 10 grants within the last 3 years the information below is only required for any grants that have or had programmatic and/or financial issues. Provide a description of any financial or programmatic issues that were identified with this grant by either the grantor agency and/or grantee. State whether the issues are resolved or unresolved. If the issues are unresolved, state the reason why and provide a current status.

  3. Are certification trainings such as OSHA-10, food safety (GMP, SQF), etc. allowable/appropriate training activities under this program?

    ​Yes, they are allowable. ​

  4. Are costs reimbursed when incurred or will they be paid on achieving a performance benchmark?

    ​Reimbursements will be negotiated with each grantee that is chosen.​

  5. Are the funds for the grant program federal or state monies? (It makes a difference for our calculation of fringe benefits.)


  6. Are there set performance goals/expectations for LWIAs that participate in this grant?

    ​Reference the Request for Application, Page 9, III. Application and Program Requirements, H-Performance:  “In instances where the Grantee is not an LWIA, WIOA performance measures and targets for the grant will be determined at the State level.  These grantees must work with the LWIA to comply with eligibility, reporting and performance related requirements, and demonstrate that a viable approach to meeting these requirements has been developed with the Local Workforce Innovation Area.  In instances where the grantee is an LWIA, current negotiated performance measures will apply.”​

  7. Are trainee travel costs (e.g., mileage reimbursement, lodging, meals) that are associated with a training outside the normal commute considered Allowable Costs?

    ​Per Commerce policy letter 07-PL-33 CH4 which states:  travel beyond the normal commute (includes overnight out-of-area) could be reimbursed under IWT or used for the employer match.  It must be documented with the payment to the employee for the travel, GoogleMaps print-outs for mileage, and sign-in sheets showing attendance in training for the days mileage or travel was paid.

  8. Can an LWIA apply for these funds if they are not an incorporated body? For example, part of county government.


  9. Can projects serving disadvantaged youth be submitted?

    Guidance on those eligible to be served under this grant can be found under Section 1. B. and Section 2 of the RFA. ​
  10. Can soft skills be included in the training (leadership, conflict resolution, team management/organization etc... not work readiness soft skills)?

    ​It is allowable but needs to be in line with Section I. C. 3 and I. D. of the RFA.

  11. Can the grant can be re-granted to partner agencies? For example, if a local WIB receives the grant, can the local WDB re-grant it through a competitive procurement process to agencies that provide specialized training services?

    ​There is nothing in the regulations to prohibit issuing subgrants.  In the example of the LWIB,  the LWIB would still be the grantee and would have responsibility for reporting, audit requirements, monitoring, and compliance with the terms and conditions of the grant agreement.  In addition, all applicable procurement procedures must be followed. If the applicant plans to issue subgrants, it should be disclosed in the grant application.  Otherwise, the Department’s standard grant agreement prohibits the assignment of the benefits, rights, duties, and responsibilities of the grantee without the express written approval of the Department. 

  12. Can there be any exceptions to the training sectors listed in the RFA?

    ​Section I General Information, C Funding, Section 3, found on Page 1 of the Request for Application, provides the specific sectors that will be considered.​

  13. Can we combine IWT and DW class size and use a cohort model?

    ​The delivery of the training would need to be relevnt to both groups.  Eligibility would need to be tracked separately for both groups.

  14. Can we partner w/a MO-based company as long we train only residents of Illinois?

    ​Either the Dislocated Worker or the employer must be from Illinois.  ​

  15. Can WIA formula funds be used to supplement the 50% from the grant?


  16. Do the indirect cost charges have to be itemized, or can 10% just be applied to the total direct costs of the grant?

    ​​On the application, page 11 it does ask for a description/list of all items that you intend to charge to program overhead and the cost charged for each item. ​

  17. Do we have to be a subawardee to a WIA, a partner or can we pursue this as the lead as a IHE?

    ​The question is unclear.  If IHE stands for “Illinois Higher Education”, then you can come in as the lead.  However, the MOU requirement must be met.​

  18. Does this RFA adhere to the Executive Level II salary cap?

    ​Yes, the ETA salary and bonus limitation applies to these grants.  ​

  19. Does WBL mean work experience not part of an apprenticeship, but simply as its own activity?

    ​TEGL 13-14 offers the following information on Work-Based Learning (WBL): “…work-based learning opportunities with employers—including on-the-job training, internships, and pre-apprenticeships and Registered Apprenticeship as training paths to employment.” 

    TEGL 13-14, Implementing a Job Driven Workforce System, provides insight to Work Based Learning.​
  20. For attachments, what are the required margin and font specs?

    ​We don’t have a set requirement.  ​

  21. How do you define "STATEWIDE" program. Most organizations work in a limited region, not statewide?

    ​This means that the opportunity is available to entities throughout the state.  We understand that the program would be delivered within a local area or region.​

  22. I am trying to find information on aid to pay for training to get my CDL license. Is there assistance to guide me through to find out about the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Illinois Talent Pipeline Request for Application?

    ​Individuals are not eligible to apply for this grant.  Individuals seeking assistance with reemployment or training should contact their local Illinois WorkNet Center.  Search for your local Illinois WorkNet Center for more information.

  23. I have a completed application. How do I submit it?

    Submit application to

  24. I noticed that tuition is an allowable grant expense. Can tuition costs be included in the calculation of the indirect costs?

    ​Training costs should be allocated directly to the grant or program.  They should not be allocated to various programs as part of overhead/indirect costs.

  25. I realize that federal funds can't be used as matching in this grant program. May we apply federal funds to the project and identify them as "leverage" costs?

    ​Grantees will not be able to report match or leveraged resources for these grants in GRS.  According to the RFA, match (aside from the employer’s share of OJT, IWT and customized training costs) and leveraged resources are not required.  If it chooses to do so, the grantee could report match or leveraged resources in supplemental reports. 

  26. I was hoping you may be able to provide additional information as to other education service providers that have used the Grant in the past.

    ​Refer to Section 1, Part E of the RFA for Eligible Respondents.  You may also refer to Page 14 & 51 of the Illinois Talent Pipeline webinar Power Point for a breakout of Eligible Respondents.

  27. Is off the shelf training is allowable for IWT under this grant?


  28. Is the allocated $350,000 Grant provided to each company to use for training?

    ​See Section III, Part D.  Allowable Costs.  You may also review the application Section 7 to show what sort of costs can be allocated to a grant.

  29. Is the grant meant to be for a single project or can there be multiple projects?

    ​Either single or multiple is acceptable, as long as they meet the requirements of the RFA.​

  30. Is the stated $350,000 maximum for the entire project period (2 years and 3 mos), or per year?

    ​The grant term will be decided at the time of award and may not be 2 yrs and 3months.  Depending on how successful the project may be and, if there are funds available, a modification to add additional funds may be awarded.​

  31. Is the stated $350,000 maximum for total project costs (direct + indirect costs)?

    ​Total project costs are included in the $350,000.  RFA states - "Grant awards will generally not exceed $350,000 however, Commerce may elect to award amounts over this based on strength of application or strength of performance during the grant period."​

  32. Is there a high probability that my business would be denied the Grant? If so, why do you feel that this would happen?

    ​Refer to Part V of the RFA for the Review and Section Procedures.

  33. Is there a minimum number required for Class Size Training?

    ​There is no limit, but the cost must be reasonable.​

  34. My business is woman and minority owned. I was hopeful this may help us obtain the Grant. Do you feel this would impact the decision?

    ​Refer to Part V of the RFA for the Review and Section Procedures.

  35. Section 3: 3.9 C Status- Should LWA leave this blank, put in n/a or indicate LWA?

    ​A Local Workforce Area (LWA) should put in whichever category applies to them.  Some LWA's are housed in Community Colleges, others in units of local government such as a county.  Still others are unincorporated entities which could be non-profits or for-profits.

  36. Section 3: 3.9 I Certified WIA Provider- Is that referring to a training provider or is a LWA considered a certified WIA provider?

    ​It is referring to  a training provider whose programs are certified by the State.

  37. Section 8, Question 6 in the application form asks the applicant to address "all priorities" and refers to the RFA. Where in the RFA are priorities for the sector listed?

    Section II. Program Description in the RFA – Priorities are consistent with training projects that provide workers with new skills to retain their existing job or quickly transition to a new one and maintain financial stability.   Growth sectors have been identified in Illinois as  Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Architecture and Construction, , Energy, Finance, Health Science, Information Technology, Manufacturing, Research and Development, Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics.  What sector(s) are identified and how does this proposal meet the needs of local area employers.  Funding will support occupational skill upgrade training in sectors included in the Illinois Pathways initiative.
  38. Section 8: Number 5 - Who should a LWA use as a reference?

    ​They should indicate the formula grants that they manage as well as any special grants such as Rapid Response, NEG, Summer Youth, etc.

  39. Should employer size be based off how many employees at a specific worksite or how many employees employed accross all worksites?

    ​Short answer - It is based on the number of employees at the worksite.  Things to consider… If the employer is using wages-while-in-training to cover the match, the “match” is less of an issue because they are not writing a check to cover a portion of the training.  Where match really matters is when the employer is actually covering a portion of the training costs.  The match rate sliding scale is a minimum employer contribution.  For example, let’s say a factory has 45 workers at a particular site.  The match could be as low as 10% if it’s locally owned, “Bill’s Machining”; however, if it’s a “Caterpillar” facility, their ability to provide a higher match may warrant a higher rate; or may warrant an actual cash or in-kind contribution that reduces the actual cost borne by the grant.  The IW policy is very flexible on this to allow grantees to consider the overall health and capacity of the employer when determining how much the employer should contribute.

  40. The At-Risk Doc states that it should be sent to Ms. Wareham, but the RFA states that it should be completed & submitted with the application. The form also asks for a grant #. Please clarify what to enter for a grant # and where it should be sent.

    ​The At-Risk Document should be submitted with the application.  There will be no grant number unless a grant is awarded.  The document may also be used after a grant is awarded and then it would be submitted directly to Ms. Wareham with a grant number.

  41. The RFA states to submit resumes for “Program Staff”. Can you please define Program Staff?

    ​Program staff includes people who are primarily responsible for meeting grant objectives and deliverables.​

  42. We have already prepared an executive summary that we are using to describe the project briefly to our employer & WIA partners. Would you be able to give us some preliminary feedback about how well our initial ideas fit with the priorities of this grant?

    ​Unfortunately, we cannot provide program design advise to applicants.  It would give that applicant an unfair advantage over the other applicants.

  43. What are the performance related requirements associated with the incumbent worker training?

    ​The number enrolled in skill upgrade training, and successful completions.​

  44. What does the acronym ITA stand for (in the budget explanation section of the application)?

    ​Individual Training Account (The costs associated with training an individual or individuals.)

  45. What is required on the At Risk Documentation Form?

    ​The At Risk Documentation Form specifically states that for each At-Risk Indicator selected, “You must provide specific/detailed information/discussion that supports the At-Risk Indicator as the factor on which the Incumbent Worker Strategy is or will be based.”​

  46. What is the cfda number for the flow-through funding?

    ​The number is 17.278

  47. What is the definition of short term training for class size training?

    Class Size Training Contracts are addressed as below:

    Class-Size Training Contracts Class-Size Training Contracts can occur when there is a need to place multiple WIA-registered students in the same training program with one educational institution or eligible training provider. Congressional authority authorizes the use of WIA formula funds to purchase contracts for class size training. The costs associated with these contracts are an allowable training expenditure when the following criteria are in place: a. The contract will lead to placement in a demand occupation and is inplace with an institution of higher education or other eligible training provider. Demand occupation is outlined in WIA Policy Letter 09-PL-57, Change 1.b. Training services include a full range of occupational skills training, and as appropriate adult education and literacy services, or customized training as described in WIA section 134 (d)(4)(D).  c. The contract was competitively procured in accordance with 29 CFR Part 95 or Part 97, as applicable. d. When an arrangement is made where WIA registrants may occupy only a portion of a class-size training contract, a method is developed to allocate the costs of the class associated with the percentage of WIA-registered students to the contract. (ALL costs associated with the class-size training contract must be allocated in proportion to the number of WIA registered students compared to the overall number of students.) e. The contract is in compliance with the provisions of the existing class size training policy.

  48. What structure will the grant be in? Will there be various payment points for achievements, such as: At enrollment, At completion, and then At placement? Typical “performance contracting” as DOL encouraged under JTPA...

    ​Full Question: What structure will the grant be in?  Will there be various payment points for achievements, such as: at enrollment,  at completion, and then at placement?  Typical “performance contracting” as DOL encouraged under JTPA, there were various ways to determine costs and often if all benchmarks were achieved, payment would be in excess of cost.  This allowed for the vendor to take a risk with the promise of reward.  As a unit of government we are not in a position to have unrecovered costs, and if there is some risk of that I need to know up front.

    Grantees will be required to report and document costs.  Grantees are required to submit a trial balance as support for their quarterly reports and monthly cost reporting.  Grantees will not be able to retain earnings above costs.  According to the One-Stop Comprehensive Financial Management Technical Assistance Guide Part II, for governmental and nonprofit agencies under WIA Title I, earnings above costs are regarded as program income subject to reprogramming or remittance.  Recovery of costs is limited to the lesser of actual costs incurred or the cumulative increments earned for less than full performance.  ​

  49. Will a recording of this webinar be available in addition to the PowerPoint?

    ​The webinar was recorded and is available to view from the Illinois Talent Pipeline Page.

  50. Will the PowerPoint be available after the webinar?

    ​The PDF of the PowerPoint is available from the Illinois Talent Pipeline Page

  51. With the customized training are there geographic or demographic limitations?


  52. Would Commerce provide a template for the MOU?

    ​Yes, see attachment MOU Example 1 & 2.  Be advised that those serving Dislocated Workers must partner with their Local Workforce Innovation Area (LWIA) for eligibility determination and case management.

    1. Illinois Talent Pipeline RFA – MOU Example Company and School (MS Word)
    2. Illinois Talent Pipeline RFA – MOU Example Training Program (MS Word)
  53. Would the category of worker we would train and hire qualify under the grant? Our communications company wants to offer up to 15 apprenticeships in videography, video editing, web design and web development with the intent to hire several of the trainees.

    ​Those eligible for training must meet the definition of Dislocated Worker found in Section II of the RFA.