Bidder’s Conference Questions and Answers
Thursday Sep 23rd, 2021
Bidder’s Conference Questions and Answers
(Updated 5:45 pm October 1, 2021)
1. Is the contract amount $375,000 per year or over two years?
Answer: The contract amount is per year.
2. Can the stipend be less than $100/week for more than 12 weeks with a maximum of $1200/participant?
3. Does the program have to already have received recognized training credentials at the time of award or is it OK if the program is currently in the process of seeking credentialing?
Answer: The training provider must ensure that participants who complete training receive an industry-recognized credential. This RFP does not address the credentials of the school/ training program.
4. Can an organization apply for multiple contracts for different programs?
Answer: Yes, an organization can submit multiple proposalsfor different programs.
5. Can you be receiving WIOA funds and receive this funding?
Answer: Yes – a respondentmay also be receiving Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds from MOED, but the participants cannot be enrolled in both funding streams at the same time. Train-Up participants must be in addition to WIOA participants.
6. Is there a geographical requirement for training participants (i.e.restricted to residents of Baltimore City)?
Answer: Yes. The funds are restricted to Baltimore City residents impacted by the COVID- 19 Pandemic.
7. Is there a minimum number of participants to be served per year?
Answer: No,there is not a minimum number of participants that should be served for each contract.
8. Can you subcontract for training, or do you have to be conducting the tech skills training?
Answer: Yes, you can subcontract for training, howeverMOED will need to see the agreement and it will be included in the contract.
9. Can employers be located outside of Baltimore City assuming residents can get there?
10. How does certificate of completion compare to industry-recognized credentials?
Answer: For the purposes of this program, a certificate of completion means the participant has completed the curriculum of the training. An industry-recognized credential is awarded in recognition of an individual's attainment of measurable technical or industry/occupational skills necessary to gain employment or advance within an industry/occupation. More information can be found in the federal Department of Labor Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) 10-16, Change 1.
11. Are collective impact partnerships/coalitions allowed to apply?
12. The RFP references an excel template for the budget, which doesn't appear to be included. Do you prefer Excel or PDF format for the budget? If Excel, should we copy the templates into Excel?
Answer: The template will be emailed to those who attended the bidders conference and posted on MOED’s website.
13. Would you consider Peer Support Specialist certification under the Healthcare category?
Answer: Yes, Peer Support Specialist falls underthe Healthcare category.
14. Should we submit a 1-year budget or 2-year budget?
Answer: A 1-yearor 2-year budget, but the total cannot exceed $375,000 per year.
15. Will the Community Connectors and those who propose to train the individuals have different proposal requirements and is there funding for the Community Connectors?
Answer: An RFP for the community connectors is coming soon. The requirements will be different from the Train-Up RFP. Community connectors are not expected to provide occupational skills training under the community connector RFP.
16. Is there an upcoming opportunity specifically focused on year-round employment for youth?
Answer: Year-round employment for youth is not included in this RFP.
17. Can you give a training program examples of Community Connector programs?
Answer: Community connectors will not be providing occupational training, there is a separate RFP forthcoming. The expectations of the community connectors is to reach residents and connect to other opportunities such as job opportunities other workforce services.
18. Do training, certification, and job placements all need to be completed in year one or can final outcomes extend beyond year one? Same question for year 2.
Answer: The expectation is that training is relatively short term and the writer should describe the plan for training and job placement–MOED is open to different models.
19. The lead must provide direct training and the sub-awardees cannot provide direct training when a team applies, correct?
Answer: While the organization submittingthe response decides on the lead, the lead does not need to provide direct training services. Sub-awards may provide the training.
20. Is thisfor ALL Baltimore city residents-regardless of age?
Answer: Individuals must be at least 18 or older and a Baltimore City resident.
21. Is there a minimum number of workers a site can train annually to be eligible?
Answer: No,there is not a minimum number per contract. We are looking for quality training, but would like to help as many people as possible.
22. Are there income eligibility requirements for participants to enroll in the program, or do the participants just need to self-certify that they have been affected economically by COVID?
Answer: No, there are no income criteria for the program. The participant must self-certify they have been affected in some manner by the COVID-19 pandemic.
23. Can a respondent apply for funding for either an existing or a new training program?
Answer: Either a new or existing programmay apply but the evaluation awards points for past program performance.
24. What is the extent of employment services and case management services requirements?
Answer: The respondent needs to tell the reader/ rater their plans for case management and convince the reader you are providing quality services, strong case management, and employer connections.
25. Is there a format that you are looking for the Letter of Intent (LOI)?
Answer: No. Just let MOED know who might apply.
26. Will you likely make award decisions evenly across all in-demand industries?
Answer: Probably not. There is the possibility we will not get proposals across all industries.
27. Are you all looking for anything specific in the Letter of Intent (LOI) or just the intent to apply?
Answer: No, just a simple letter informing MOED that you might apply.
28. Are all participants served expected to complete and be employed by the end of year 1, and then start with a new group(s) during year 2 that would finish in year 2. Or can it take 2 years total to be employed?
Answer: There is no need to start and stop. The respondent should explain their plan for training and placement. Don’t over or under promise.
29. Are there age requirements for participants?
Answer: No. Participants must be at least 18 years of age, no maximum age.
30. Will the City consider increasing the page limit to 15 or 20 pages double spaced to allow for offersto thoroughly address all the requirements?
Answer: No. The proposal should be focused and clearin the number of pages designated in the RFP.
31. You mentioned the occupational training careers, Do you have a list of job titles within those industries that are expected to grow in Baltimore?
Answer: MOED’s Local plan (which can be found on MOED’s website) provides more info about job titles but don’t let it make you feel limited.
32. Can MOED/ARPA funds be matched with private funds for a higher per participant cost? That is, is $6,000/trainee the maximum that MOED/ARPA would contract, even if the program cost more?
Answer: Yes. A program can leverage other resources, but other cost must already be available and real.
33. Can the $375k award include tuition and fees.
Answer: Yes. However, the budget should be realistic. The respondent should be clear on how all costs, including staff, are covered.
34. Do City organizations get priority?
Answer: No priority is given to city organizations.
35. Must training be in the city?
Answer: Training does not need to be in the city if it is easily accessible to city residents. If training is accessible to city residents, then you are encouraged to submit a proposal.
36. Do participants we recruit, need to register with MOED before joining?
Answer: No. Participants do not need to be registered in the MWE prior to enrollment. Staff will work with training staff to enroll all participants, like 1B4J-MOED.
37. So,the stipends are not part of our initial budget but reimbursable later?
Answer: Stipends must be included in the budget but not included in the$6,000 per participant cost. Stipends are reimbursable costs.
38. Must all training be done on location, or may a portion or all the training be provided online?
Answer: Training can be in class, virtual training, or a hybrid model.
39. Will there be a requirement for pre-certification and then enrollment like WIOA?
Answer: No. Participants do not need to be WIOA eligible.
40. Must participants be unemployed, or can they be underemployed?
Answer: Participants can be underemployed but the proposal must address the plan to increase job wages so they are not underemployed after training.
41. How should offers demonstrate employer commitment to hire? Is this through letters of support?
Answer: Letters of support are great and may explain experiencewith employers.
42. Can letters of reference include agencies with whom we have had clients in common - or does it have to be a client or employer?
Answer: Any letter of support is acceptable. Letters are encouraged, not required.
43. We can't control an employer’s budget in this time of COVID, but will a company be penalized if the employer hires at $14.00 per hour?
Answer: The performance target is $15.00 per hour. There is no penalty for an employer not hiring at that wage.
44. We are being asked to provide resumes for key personnel and the estimated hours for each. Are they included in the 10-page limit?
Answer: Key personal resumes are not included in the 10-page limit. They can be in the appendix.
45. What is meant by the requirement in the RFP that the organization has an “adequate method to collect client information and demographics”?
Answer: Grantees will need to be able to collect and maintain some basic information about their participants including demographics. There are severaldifferent ways to do this. The city doesn’t require a particular software or process, but it is the responsibility of the grantee to adhere to this requirement.
46. How will participants/students be recruited? Do we do that or will MOED? At what point do we screen/interview/onboard the students?
Answer: MOED will make referrals when appropriate and will help to publicize the opportunity but it is ultimately the responsibility of the grantee to enroll residents to meet the terms of their contract. The Grantee should determine the most appropriate program design for screening, interviewing, and onboarding to meet their contract terms and timing.
47. What type of letters of reference can be used in lieu of “previous clients” or employers, as we are the employer?
Answer: Grantees may submit any letter of reference that supports their proposal. Letters could be submitted by employers, community partners, residents who have previously gone through the program, supervisors who have worked with graduates, or others who have experienced and benefited from past efforts.
48. Would you be willing to describe what “financial empowerment services” MOED will provide directly? Is it financial literacy training as well as one-on-one financial assessment, counseling, and connection to other resources?
Answer: Yes. MOED, in collaboration with the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, now delivers the Financial Empowerment Center model under the nationwide FEC public national platform. Trained counselors provide free, professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a service to Baltimore City Residents. The service is available by referral from the provider.
49. Is there a preference towards funding grantees who are directly providing training to participants, as opposed to teams that are providing multiple training types via subcontractors?
Answer: There is no preference.
50. Are there specific funding amounts allocated for each industry listed in the RFP?
Answer: There are no specific funding amounts allocated by industry.
51. Many small non-profit organizations are not required to have audited financial statements. In this case, what will suffice to meet the requirements?
Answer: The RFP specifically statesthat bidders “must submit a bound copy of themost recent formal audit completed within the last year”. We are obliged to request that all prospective bidders comply with this requirement regardless of the size or profit/non-profit status of the prospective bidder.
52. Are attachments included in the 10-page limit?
Answer: Attachments are not included in the 10-page limit.
53. Is it best that we do not include any financial literacy training,that would not be eligible for funding?
Answer: You would need to incorporate what is important to the success of their program.
54. Is it possible to provide a higher weekly stipend amount to participants over fewer weeks if the total amount remains within the $1,200 budget cap?
Answer: No, it is not possible to provide a higher weekly stipend amount. The maximum allowance is up to $100 per week regardless of the number of weeks in training.
55. As we are putting together our recruitment plan for candidates, doesthe RFP require the organization to have the ability to collect “client information and demographics”?
Answer: We will not specify what is needed. Please let us know what data you collect, if any.
56. Are we limited to three reference letters, or is it possible to submit more?
Answer: There is no limit on the number of references you can submit.
57. Are stipends included in the $375,000 grant award, or in addition to it?
Answer: The total value of a contract cannot exceed $375,000 per year. This includes stipends.
58. Can we leverage grant funds from other sources toward the cost of training the students?
Answer: Yes, you can leverage other funds.
59. How should we account for Stipends in our budget? Is it ok to list them under "Other Expenses"? Alternatively, is there another method you would prefer?
Answer: We would prefer to have the stipends expense grouped within the “Participant Expense” budget expense category.
60. As a trust, we are not required to be registered with SDAT. Therefore, we will not be able to provide a Certificate of Good standing. Please advise if we can still submit an application and/or how you would like to see us address this issue?
Answer: The Maryland State Department of Assessment & Taxation (SDAT) has informed MOED that the prospective bidders must comply with our requirement of including a Certificate of Good Standing if that requirement is listed within the agency’s RFP.