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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Employment and Training Administration
Notice of Availability of Funds and Solicitation for Grant Applications for Serving Young
Adult Ex-Offenders through Training and Service-Learning

Announcement Type: Solicitation for Grant Applications (SGA)
Funding Opportunity Number: SGA/DFA-PY-11-03
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 17.270

Key Dates: The closing date for receipt of applications under this announcement is April 17,
2012. Applications must be received no later than 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Addresses: Mailed applications must be addressed to the U.S. Department of Labor,
Employment and Training Administration, Office of Grants Management, Attention: Latifa
Jeter, Grant Officer, Reference SGA/DFA PY 11-03, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room
N4716, Washington, DC 20210. For complete application and submission information,
including online application instructions, please refer to section IV.

Summary

The Employment and Training Administration (ETA), U.S. Department of Labor (DOL, or the Department), announces the availability of approximately $30 million in grant funds authorized by the Workforce Investment Act for Reintegration of Ex-Offenders (RExO) Training and Service-Learning grants to serve young adult offenders ages 18 through 21 who have been involved in the juvenile justice system from the age of 14 or above and have never been convicted as an adult under Federal or State law. Training provided through these grants is expected to lead to credentials recognized by in demand industries in the grantee’s geographic area to be served. Service-learning projects conducted through these grants must integrate meaningful community service with instruction and reflection that enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and encourage lifelong civic engagement. Such projects can help rebuild severed relationships between the returning offender and members of the community while developing the participant’s workplace skills, such as leadership and time management. Through service-learning, returning offenders are offered the opportunity to reestablish community-based trust while enhancing their work-based skills and status in their communities.

These grants will be awarded through a competitive process. The Department expects to award a minimum of 20 grants of various amounts. Applicants may each submit only one proposal requesting up to $1.5 million to cover a 30-month period of performance that includes up to four months of planning and a minimum of 26 months of operation. The 26 months of operation includes time for follow-up services for a period of three to four months. Some participants may be receiving follow-up services while others are still receiving direct services. The Department anticipates the approximate cost per participant to be in the range of $12,000 to $16,000 (including administration and planning costs) for average length-of-stays of six to eight months. The Department expects that participants will be enrolled in these programs full-time, as defined by a minimum of 32-hours per week, including time spent in both the service-learning and educational components. Programs may enroll participants for up to one-year terms, inclusive of the follow-up period, with the understanding that participants may leave the program before completion to take other jobs or for personal or conduct-related reasons.

This solicitation provides background information and describes the application submission requirements, outlines the process that eligible entities must use to apply for funds covered by this solicitation, and outlines the evaluation criteria used as a basis for selecting the grantees.

1. Funding Opportunity Description

A. Background of Funding Opportunity

Each year, juvenile courts in the United States handle roughly 1.6 million delinquency cases, and an estimated 144,000 youth are placed in juvenile correctional facilities. Youth in the juvenile justice system have a high probability of returning to crime after their release. As an example, the State of Virginia reports that 75 percent of youth released from state correctional facilities and 61 percent of youth placed on probation in the state are arrested for a new crime within three years. 1 A contributing factor to this high recidivism rate is the disproportionately high unemployment rate among ex-prisoners, estimated to range from 25 to 40 percent.

This Solicitation seeks to improve the employability of participants by providing skills training. The training and service-learning grants to be awarded through this announcement hold promise for reducing the recidivism rate of young adult offenders. Job training that leads to employer- recognized credentials helps to ensure the value of the training in the labor market, which benefits the individuals served through the grants. Grantees should develop training programs in areas where there are no prohibitions for employment of persons with criminal records. The attainment of industry-recognized credentials is a strategy for both improving employment and earnings prospects for participants and addressing employers’ needs for more skilled workers.

The service-learning component of these projects provides participants the opportunity to give something back to their communities through community service to make up for past transgressions. At the same time as learning occupational skills, service-learning helps to develop work-place skills, such as leadership and time management. Such projects hold promise for reducing the recidivism rate of juvenile offenders by improving their vocational and educational skills and long-term prospects in the labor market and by increasing their attachment to their community and their sense of community responsibility.

The rehabilitation benefit of providing ex-offenders the opportunity to participate in service- learning projects is based on the premise that, by their criminal acts, offenders have hurt their communities and have depleted any trust that the community has in them. Participating in service-learning projects that integrate occupational skills training offers ex-offenders a chance to demonstrate accountability for their actions and make reparations to the community while developing their work-place skills, such as leadership and time management. This effort at fostering a renewed sense of belonging and investment in their communities is accomplished through

-# service-learning projects that aid in the rebuilding of severed relationships between young offenders and community members while reestablishing trust and a positive status for the offender within the community; and

-#2 work experience, other vocational training, and academic interventions that enable participants to improve their skills and enhance their future educational and career opportunities.

Programs funded under this SGA must include each of the following components: 1) meaningful service-learning opportunities; 2) educational interventions that leads to placement opportunities in post-secondary education and vocational training that lead to industry-recognized credentials in demand industries in the geographic area to be served; 3) community awareness of the participants’ service projects that rebuilds the community’s trust in them and enables the community to view them as assets rather than liabilities; 4) high staff-to- participant ratios, including close adult supervision on service-learning projects; 5) a career development; and 6) post-program support and follow-up. These six program components are discussed in more detail in the Required Program Components section, Section I.B, below.

The Department will set performance goals for these grants relating to the rate at which participants enter employment, post-secondary education or training; are retained in employment and education placements; avoid re-arrest and re-incarceration; and receive high school diplomas (or equivalent) and industry-recognized credentials. Programs already serving eligible participants must increase their overall enrollment with DOL funds, rather than serve existing participants through a co-enrollment process.