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February 27 Update
- Section 3.2.5 of the Solicitation states that providers of job readiness training must be members
of the SIP. We are a training provider, and have designed with our employer partners a formal
classroom-based job readiness training, which will then be delivered by an outside vendor. In
addition, we incorporate informal job readiness instruction throughout the length of the workforce
training courses we administer. Would this outside vendor also be required to be a member of the
SIP, or is our membership as a training provider sufficient?
In general, funds for any training provider who is a subgrantee of the lead applicant will not be
disbursed until DLLR has vetted and approved the provider.
For job readiness trainers, the primary job readiness provider must be a member of the SIP. If that
entity sub-grants any portion of the training to another entity, DLLR must approve that training
entity prior to disbursement of funds. However, that entity is not required to be a member of the SIP.
- Is there any flexibility for Administration or IDC costs associated with the Plan?>
EARN Maryland Grant funds cannot be used to pay for any indirect costs, or those costs calculated
on a percentage basis. However, such costs can be included the Workforce Training Plan Budget
(“budget”), as long as they are paid for out of other leveraged funds or in-kind contributions.
- Section 2.4.3 says that indirect costs are a prohibited expense under the grant. Would we be
able to include expenses such as rent and utilities, if a percentage of them are allocated directly
to the training activities? Similarly, would the cost to rent and maintain a training facility be
considered an allowable expense, if the cost was directly allocated and proportionate to the
training being proposed?
The EARN Maryland Grant may cover direct rent or utility costs that are directly related to the
implementation of the SIP’s Workforce Training Plan. Assumptions behind the calculation of these
costs must be made clear in the Budget Narrative. % allocation of costs for rent and utilities
cannot be paid for out of the EARN Maryland Grant. However, such costs could be included in the
Budget and paid for out of other leveraged funds or in-kind contributions.
- Some training requires purchasing equipment...this program does not?
Equipment or materials with a useful life of the same or similar length to the implementation
schedule of the Workforce Training Plan may be a budget consideration. Equipment or materials with
a useful life in excess of the WTP implementation schedule may not be paid for with EARN Maryland
grant funds, but may be included in the budget and paid for out of other leveraged funds or in-kind
- Can employers receive wage reimbursements for part of training given during 2000 hrs of a
registered apprenticeship program?
Yes. However, EARN Maryland encourages some amount of in-kind and or direct financial contributions
by employers and other SIP partners.
- We conduct a construction training program and equipment (materials) to do hands on projects
for class. We also provide tools to graduates of the program. Does this fall into the equipment that
is not paid for by EARN Funding?
EARN Funding may be used to pay for materials, tools or supplies purchased for trainees, as long as
the SIP Partnership can demonstrate that these materials, tools or supplies are of critical importance
to support trainees in job placement after training.
- Our Partnership, led by a manufacturing company is looking into becoming a non-profit. As the
lead applicant (the manufacturing company) we prefer not to channel grant monies through the company’s
accounting system. If we establish our partnership as a non-profit, can we deposit the grant money
(the check is payable to the lead applicant currently) into the company and have the company issue a
check made payable to the partnership (which would at that point have a tax ID #)?
Yes. However the Lead Applicant remains legally accountable for the use of the EARN Maryland Grant
- Does the industry-led organization have to be incorporated with a Fed # and non-profit tax
All lead applicants, including those that are an industry/employer, must have a Federal Tax ID number.
Lead Applicants do not need nonprofit tax status.
- If this initiative is actually industry-led, will you consider listing higher grants to fewer
grantees if that is what the industry plan demands?
Given the strong interest in the Planning Grant phase of this program, we expect a substantial number
of robust industry-led proposals in this round of grant funding. DLLR strongly encourages any
Strategic Industry Partnerships to submit a grant request that does not exceed the $150,000 cap.
However, grant requests in excess of that amount will be considered on a case-by-case basis. They
must be fully detailed and justified and may be reduced in the actual award. DLLR will be looking
to the Partnerships to help support the proposed Workforce Training Plan budgets by bringing leveraged
resources to the table.
- Do the employer partnerships receive a tax break or incentive?
The EARN Maryland program was not designed to provide tax breaks or incentives. However, for-profit
entities should consult with a certified public account specializing in taxes or a tax attorney to
determine if any applicable tax breaks or incentives are available to employer partnerships.
- Must grant funding be used specifically for training? For instance, could some of the money
be used to hire a project manager for the SIP?
Yes, reasonable project management expenses may be included to support implementation of the SIP
Workforce Training Plan.
- Our SIP was awarded with a planning grant and we want to shift our region of focus from what we
originally proposed in our planning grant application. In talking with local employers and assessing
the resources available to our partnership, we believe this shift to be more feasible for making an
impact. Is it okay to shift our region of focus?
If the planning grant partnership has a sound and reasonable rationale for shifting the region of focus
that is employer and data driven, then yes this is allowable. Planning grantees should discuss the need
for any proposed changes with their EARN Maryland grant monitor.
- The Implementation Grant Solicitation states that funding is for up to $150,000 for up to a two
year period. Does this mean there will be more funding available for programs in the second year of
The grant period lasts for up to two years, from June 15, 2014 through June 30, 2016. If a SIP is
awarded FY 14 funding, it will enter into an agreement with DLLR which will include a disbursement
schedule to utilize the funds within the two year period.
- Is there any preference given for MBE's?
We encourage MBE participation but there is not a “preference” per se.
- Can the lead applicant be a state agency?
The lead applicant can be a state agency, but we would need an explanation as to why a state agency
is the most suitable entity to serve in that capacity.
- If the job preparation components are available under other public programs, must the
implementation grant also include a specific component to provide these services?
- Does the 20-page limit include "charts and graphs" that may be used to illustrate processes
and procedures or can such illustrations be included in the appendix?
If the charts and graphs support the proposal narrative, then they are included in the 20 page limit.
If they are supplemental to the training module templates, then they are not included.
- Could a program that is working to train new entrepreneurs, such as food businesses in commercial
kitchens, be considered an industry partner?
We would need additional information about the entity.
- Within the implementation grant we strive to address not only immediate health and wellness jobs,
but more importantly the industry jobs of the future - in particular job changes due to the Affordable
Care Act. Due to the newness of these opportunities, training programs have not been established that
meet the new requirements. Rather than providing a specific training program/modules, could the
implementation grant proposal indicate the development of strong certification programs (as indicated
by our SIPs) with implementation timelines to address the jobs of the future?
- Section 3.2.4 states that “all SIP Partners” must submit Letters of Commitment. Is the Lead
Applicant also considered a “SIP Partner”?
February 10 Update
- Can you give us some details on reporting?
In the SIP Workforce training modules that are a part of the IG Solicitation, we have asked for some
specific projected outcomes. Applicants will be responsible for reporting these outcomes. These
outcomes are located in the second tab of the Training Module. (Appendix
These outcomes measures are required under EARN Maryland enabling legislation, and include:
The statute also asks for specific demographic information about the individuals that are placed in
training. Though applicants cannot specifically plan for or report enrollment demographics by March
31st, EARN is flagging this reporting requirement for interested applicants so groups can plan for
future data collection. Sample reporting templates will be available on the EARN Maryland website
by March 1st. Awarded partnerships will be responsible for designing processes for collecting their
own program specific data.
- Projected enrollment
- Projected completion
- Projected job placement (if applicable)
- Projected wage gains
- Projected title promotions (for incumbent workers)
- Will the outcomes be reported quarterly?
In general, we expect projected outcomes to be reported on a quarterly basis. But EARN recognizes that
each partnership plan is unique and there may be a need to customize reporting timeframes that are
specific to each workforce training plan. EARN will at least need to check in quarterly with
partnerships, but we recognize that some outcomes may take longer to meet. We will work with any
partnership that is awarded Implementation Grant funding to agree on attainable reporting benchmarks
as part of the final contract.
- How can a group be part of an Implementation Grant proposal if they weren’t part of the Planning
Planning Grant partnerships have been working for many months in structuring their partnerships and
laying the groundwork for their workforce training plans. This Implementation Grant (IG) Solicitation
is a roadmap for everyone applying for the next round of funding. While interested parties who have
recently become a part of the process may not have as much time as those involved in the Planning
Grant process, everything that an applicant needs to apply for IG funding is contained in the
Solicitation that was released on January 30, 2014.
- Is the five employer minimum a requirement?
Yes. These grants are intended to be industry driven within an industry sector. One employer is not
enough. We expect to see 5 or more. Many states with similar grant initiatives required
10 or more.
- Can the grant cover curriculum development?
Yes, the grant can cover curriculum development for industry-identified skills needs in changing
fields. Industry partners must be part of the curriculum development process.
- How do hospitals figure into this?
Like other organizations, hospitals are welcome and encouraged to join or form a partnership to apply
for an EARN Maryland grant. The Solicitation for Proposals and a great deal of other information are
available. There are also several healthcare partnerships awarded Planning
Grant funding, and all partnerships awarded Planning Grants are available
on the website.
- Is there going to be another opportunity to apply for a Planning Grant?
There will not be another opportunity to apply for a Planning Grant with FY14 funding.
- Are there federal resources available to applicants of this program?
Applicants are encouraged to seek out and pursue federal funding streams that would complement their
- Would training and skills enhancement in traditional industries like retail or food service be
appropriate if a region is underserved or does not house accessible resources?
Yes. EARN Maryland funded three Planning Grants in the hospitality/service industry sector.
- Can universities involved in research serve as industry partners?
This may be possible, but the EARN Maryland review team would need a detailed justification for the
universities’ "industry characteristics" as a part of the proposal.
- As a Planning Grant Awardee, is it acceptable to change our project dramatically based on what
we learn during the planning period? How much do we need to stick to the original plan?
This is not ideal, but yes, changes are acceptable. Planning Grant awardees should communicate with
their grant monitors about significant shifts in their plan and the awardee must be clear about why
the changes are necessary.
- Modifications to an existing training program is acceptable as long as it addresses industry
gaps, is that correct?
Yes. But the applicant must be clear about why the changes are necessary. The need for this clarity
is promoted in the Implementation Solicitation.
- If I’m interested in the Implementation Grant, should I sign up for EARN MD CONNECT?
Any organization interested in applying for Implementation Grant funding should create a profile
on the EARN MD CONNECT website.
Any organization that is participating in, or interested in the EARN Maryland Program has a space
on EARN MD CONNECT to find and be found by, and communicate with other users, within and across
partnerships. EARN MD CONNECT is designed to reflect industry affiliation and regional location
and to foster the communication among employers, workforce training entities, non-profits and
other diverse organizations that have a stake in workforce development.
If you’re already part of a partnership, your organization can join that partnership virtually
through the EARN MD CONNECT site. If you don’t yet have a profile in EARN MD CONNECT, please
the website, and click on the "ABOUT EARN MD CONNECT" button to get started.
- How will funding flow? Will it happen up front or in a reimbursable way?
EARN Maryland will work with awarded partnerships to create a customized disbursement schedule.
- Can the match include funds from another state agency?
Yes. EARN looks forward to complementing other programs and policy goals of the O’Malley / Brown
- Can churches as potential employers be included?
- Does grant funding have to be used specifically for training? For instance, can some of the
funding be used to hire a project manager for the SIP?
Yes. This is an allowable cost, but the majority of the budget request should not be for a project
manager. Though the EARN Maryland Program intends most of the funding to go to training, we
recognize that managing a partnership, implementation of the workforce training program and
tracking outcomes will be a significant investment of staff time. EARN encourages, however, that
some of the in-kind or other financial contributions support the role of a project manager.
- Are paid internships an allowable component of training?
- Is there an approved training provider list for EARN Maryland? If not, how does a training
provider apply for funding?
There is not an approved training provider list for EARN Maryland. Training providers cannot
independently apply for EARN Maryland funding. Training providers must be connected to a Strategic
Industry Partnership. See Section 2 of the IG Solicitation.
- Will the appendices be uploaded to the website as Word documents?
Yes. The IG Solicitation
Appendices are available as Word and Excel documents,respectively. Please review the Guide to Solicitation
Appendices before completing the Appendices.
- Is EARN Maryland a new offering?
Yes. EARN Maryland is a new, state-funded workforce and economic development grant program in
- Do you plan to have a new EARN competition in FY 15?
We do not know at this time.
- Can partners participate in multiple grant applications?
Yes. An entity may be part of more than one Strategic Industry Partnership.
- Must plans be implemented within the 2 year grant period?
- You suggested convening 5 employers in a focus group to learn training and skills needs. Is
that a requirement of the IG? Are the 5 required employers a new requirement? If yes, is it an
absolute requirement for eligibility?
Implementation Grant proposals must be submitted by a Strategic Industry Partnership that
includes at least five employers. That is a requirement. Convening a focus group is not a
- A proposal can have multiple objectives, correct?
- If we were awarded planning grant funding, who should we contact to find out about the status?
Planning Grantees should contact their Grant Monitor about the status of their award.
- Will the reports of the planning grantees be made public?
The reports from the Planning Grantees will be their Implementation Grant proposals. All of those
proposals will considered for implementation funding along with those that did not receive planning
- I sent the link to EARN MD CONNECT to my partners. Can they easily create a profile and join
our partnership? I couldn't tell because I created the partnership. Have a lot of partners joined
Yes. Organizations interested in the EARN Maryland program, and especially those entities already
in a Partnership, can easily create a profile in EARN MD CONNECT by
and signing up. Those interested should first click the “About EARN MD CONNECT” button to get started.
Users who create a Partnership Profile within EARN MD CONNECT will be the “Administrator” of that
profile, so Partnerships should identify the appropriate person or organization to serve that role
before creating a Partnership Profile. Once a Partnership Profile is created, the Administrator
can invite other users to join that profile, and other users can also request to join the partnership
within the system.
Administrators will be notified of requests and messages within the system, and via email (be sure to
verify your email address so you get email notifications!). An administrator can see how many
partners have joined their Partnership Profile by logging into the site and going to their Partnership
Profile. Partners can also share documents and communicate on a message board within Partnership Profiles
(these functions are only visible to members of the Partnership Profile).
- Some employers prefer to outsource work to a small business supplier, but it can be difficult to
find qualified suppliers. In such circumstances, would the grant cover training on how to start and
operate a business? For example, unemployed workers may have job skills to provide a service in their
own business but do not know how to operate a business, so would need business training.
If the proposed training is documented as an industry-generated idea, to fill a gap, it would be
eligible for EARN Maryland funding.
- Could a program be designed around businesses and employers defined by size, e.g., businesses with
less than 50 employees, that identifies a need for first line supervisory skills training, strategic
planning training, or organizational development?
Yes, particularly if they were in the same general industry sector (i.e. small businesses in the
- Can high school vocational-tech centers submit implementation grant proposals?
High school vocational programs may be part of an IG proposal and even be a subgrantee. However,
K-12 programs cannot be lead applicants.
- Can you provide us a listing of Planning Grant recipients and contacts?
The list of
planning grant recipients is available.
Summaries of each Planning Grantee SIP are available. (PDF document, 477KB,
download Adobe Acrobat for free)
- Do we need to provide a control group to measure outcomes?
No. The expected outcome measures (Appendix D) do not require a control group for outcome tracking.
As a condition of grant funding, all SIP members must be willing to participate in any third-party
evaluation that may be commissioned by DLLR.
Participation may include providing data and/or participating in surveys and interviews, but will
not require the convening or organizing of control group study.
- Can inmates re-entering society be considered a targeted group?
Yes. The EARN statute specifies that the hardest-to-serve populations are a target for recruitment
under the EARN Maryland Program. We encouraged and received some Planning Grant applications that
targeted the ex-offender population as a possible recruitment pipeline and encourage Implementation
Grant Proposals to target ex-offender and other hard-to-serve populations.
- Could you please clarify what the expectations are for us to integrate "state employees"?
There are not expectations that plans will necessarily include state employees. However, some employer
partners may have state employees as part of their workforce, and we welcome plans that include training
proposals for those workers.
- Would assembling five hotel properties, with the same international corporate parent, but that
hire independently, meet the five employer minimum?
- Do the Training Plans, if offered by a college, have to be MHEC approved going into the funding
Yes. As Section 2.5 of the Implementation Grant Solicitation provides:
If a Strategic Industry Partnership Workforce Training Plan submitted by March 31, 2014 includes
proposed training that clearly requires approval or certification from any state or national entity,
such as training that will result in a national certificate or college credit, proof of approval will
be required by the proposal submission deadline of March 31, 2014.
We been working with our counterparts at MHEC to identify potential approval needs at an early stage,
and look forward to working with them to address any needs that may arise under the training plans
envisioned by partnership applicants. If you believe that a training plan your partnership envisions
may require approval, please contact us, and we will work with you to
identify the specific issues presented and how best to address them.