Bureau of Adult Basic and Literacy Education; Availability of Funds

[41 Pa.B. 2009]
[Saturday, April 16, 2011]

 The Department of Education (Department) announces the availability of approximately $14 million in grant funds to be awarded under section 231 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) (20 U.S.C.A. § 9241) as well as approximately $12 million in grant funds to be awarded under the Pennsylvania Adult and Family Literacy Education Act (PAFLE) (24 P. S. §§ 6401—6409) for adult basic education and family programs in this Commonwealth. This announcement also serves as notice of availability of approximately $1.5 million for integrated English literacy and civics education programs (EL/Civics) as authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010.

 Activities to be conducted under these grants are to create partnerships among the Federal government, the Commonwealth, and local entities to provide, on a voluntary basis, adult education and family literacy services. The intent of adult education and family literacy services is to assist adults to become literate; to obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and self-sufficiency; to become full partners in the education and development of their children; and to complete their secondary school education.

 Priorities for WIA Section 231 funds include:

 • Adult education programs as previously described

 • A Statewide distance learning program

 Priorities for PAFLE funds include:

 • Adult education and family literacy programs as previously described

 • A Statewide family literacy technical assistance program

 • A Statewide technical assistance program for training volunteer adult literacy education instructors

 Eligible applicants for funds authorized under these sources are:

 • Local education agencies

 • Community-based organizations of demonstrated effectiveness

 • Volunteer literacy organizations of demonstrated effectiveness

 • Institutions of higher education

 • Public or private nonprofit agencies

 • Libraries

 • Public housing authorities

 • Nonprofit institutions not previously described that have the ability to provide literacy services to adults and families

 • Consortia of the agencies, organizations, institutions, libraries or authorities previously described

 The closing date for receipt of applications under this announcement is May 22, 2011. Applications must be submitted through the Department's e-grants system no later than 4 p.m. E-grants records the time of submission. This recorded time will be used to determine submission time. Any applications received after the deadline will not be scored and will be ineligible for a grant.

 Applications must be completed online and submitted by means of the e-grants web site at to the Bureau of Adult Basic and Literacy Education (ABLE). Instructions for the use of the e-grants system and the Adult Education and Family Literacy Guidelines for PY 2011-12 are available at and through the e-grant web site. Eligible providers should submit Federal WIA Section 231 and State PAFLE applications in coordination as part of a full-service adult education/family literacy program. Eligible providers are also encouraged to submit an EL/Civics application if they propose to provide service in a local community that has a demonstrated need for additional English literacy programs.

 The grant period will be for a term of 3 years—July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2014, except that the grant might be terminated earlier upon either implementation of a new WIA State Plan or reauthorization of the WIA. Funding for years 2 and 3 of the 3-year grant period will be provided through annual contract renewals. Renewal will occur provided that sufficient progress is made toward meeting performance measures set forth by ABLE. At the end of the grant period, grantees will be authorized to reapply and compete with other applicants for another multiyear term. These grants will be funded by riders to a Master Agreement executed between the Department and the funded agency. Agencies not currently funded will be given instructions on execution of the Master Agreement once grant applications are approved by ABLE.

 In awarding grants and contracts under WIA Section 231, PAFLE and EL/Civics, the Department will consider:

 • The degree to which the eligible provider will establish measurable goals for participant outcomes.

 • The past effectiveness of an eligible provider in improving the literacy skills of adults and families and after the first year of the grant period, the success of an eligible provider receiving funding in meeting or exceeding performance measures set by ABLE, especially with respect to those adults with the lowest levels of literacy.

 • The commitment of the eligible provider to serve individuals in the community who are most in need of literacy services, including individuals who are low-income or have minimal literacy skills.

 • Whether or not the program:

  o Is of sufficient intensity and duration for participants to achieve substantial learning gains.

  o Uses instructional practices such as phonemic awareness, systematic phonics, fluency and reading comprehension that research has proven to be effective in teaching individuals to read.

 • Whether the activities are built on a strong foundation of research and effective educational practice.

 • Whether the activities effectively employ advances in technology, as appropriate, including the use of computers.

 • Whether the activities are provided in real life contexts to ensure that an individual has the skills needed to compete in the workplace and exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

 • Whether the activities are staffed by well-trained instructors, counselors and administrators.

 • Whether the activities coordinate with other available resources in the community, such as by establishing strong links with elementary and secondary schools, postsecondary education institutions, PA CareerLink® offices, job training programs and social service agencies.

 • Whether the activities offer flexible schedules and support services (such as child care and transportation) that are necessary to enable individuals, including individuals with disabilities or other special needs, to attend and complete programs.

 • Whether the activities maintain a high-quality information management system that has the capacity to report participant outcomes and to monitor program performance against ABLE performance measures.

 • Whether the local communities have a demonstrated need for additional English literacy programs.

 Further, in awarding grants and contracts under the PAFLE, the Department shall also consider:

 • The percentage of adults expected to be enrolled for instruction who are receiving either State or Federal public assistance.

 • The percentage of adults in any local area who do not have a certificate of graduation from a secondary school and who are not enrolled in adult or family literacy education programs.

 • The percentage of eligible adults expected to be enrolled who are members of minority groups.

 • The percentage of adults with less than a fifth grade reading level to be served.

 Applicants for WIA Section 231 must fund 25% of total grant project costs through local match. Other Federal funds may not be used for the local match unless specifically identified as eligible for use as matching funds. In addition, funds awarded to eligible providers through the PAFLE may not be used for the 25% local match.

 Applicants should note that both the WIA and EL/Civics grants include a cap on the amount of the grant that may be used toward administrative costs. Specifically, not more than 5% of a local applicant's grant may be used for administrative costs, unless a higher percent is approved in advance by ABLE.

 In addition, applicants for PAFLE may not use grant funds for programs, activities or services related to sectarian instruction or religious worship.

 All potential applicants are urged to attend the bidders' webinar to receive information on program guidelines and requirements for submitting e-grants applications for adult education and family literacy programs. This webinar will be conducted at on April 22, 2011, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. A recording of the webinar will remain at the previously mentioned site for a period of 60 days. To ensure timely administration and processing of e-grant applications, both the grant writer and the fiscal officer should attend the bidders' conference.

Acting Secretary

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 11-657. Filed for public inspection April 15, 2011, 9:00 a.m.]

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