Selected Federal Agency Announcements and Related for the Week of June 18, 2018

The following is a selection of recent announcements gleaned from various federal sources and colleagues, and is provided to EDA’s Economic Development Integrators to increase our awareness of complementary resources for economic developmentSpecial thanks to ETA and other federal partners for sharing content included below.

Also visit the following links on our updated EDI webpages at www.eda.gov/edi for additional information about federal resources that are available to support comprehensive regional economic development strategies, including:

Click here to view all weekly federal announcement posts.


Contents

 


Funding & Resource Announcements

Announcements of Federal Funding & Assistance Available:

Economic – Access to Capital

Economic Development Administration Announces Funding Opportunity for the University Center Economic Development Program for Austin and Denver Region Geographies

References: Federal funding opportunities, Federal strategic plans, regional economic development, entrepreneurship, STEM, workforce training, distressed communities, broadband, supply chains, technical assistance… 

The purpose of the Economic Development Administration University Center Economic Development Program is to enable institutions of higher education and consortia of institutions of higher education to establish and operate University Centers specifically focused on using university assets to build regional economic ecosystems that support innovation and high-growth entrepreneurship. University Centers collaborate with other EDA partners by providing expertise and technical assistance to develop, implement and support regional strategies which result in job creation, high-skilled regional talent pools, and business expansion in a region’s innovation clusters.  Expertise and technical assistance may address, for example, applied research centers, technology commercialization, feasibility studies, market research, economic impact analyses training, and other technical assistance to help communities foster vibrant economic ecosystems.

EDA recognizes that institutions of higher education are critical players in the development of vibrant economic ecosystems. Universities are sources of significant economic development assets—such as faculty, staff, students, research and proof of concept centers, laboratories, and high-speed broadband networks—that can support regional economic growth. In addition, universities create significant knowledge spillovers and possess broader and deeper networks of expertise that can assist innovators and entrepreneurs. Potential university-based support for economic growth includes the commercialization of research, the conversion of intellectual property and ideas into products and services, and the support of regionally-owned strategies that support business expansion and job creation.

Since FY 2004, EDA has administered the University Center program as a competitive multi-year program.

In FY 2018, EDA has announced it is holding the competition for its Austin and Denver Regional Office geographies.  An accredited institution of higher education, including a community college or junior college, or a consortium of accredited institutions of higher education is eligible to apply for and to receive funding under these competitions.

Denver: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=305794                          

Austin: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=305793

EDA encourages the submission of applications that will create and nurture regional economic ecosystems through science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skill developmentworkforce training opportunities, applied research and development, technology commercialization, and targeted activities that cultivate entrepreneurship and improve regional economic development. A regional economic ecosystem supports innovation clusters through three main components

  • A highly networked regional talent pool, with specialized expertise relevant to the region’s innovation clusters (including connections along the supply chain and across disciplines so that researchers, academics, investors, suppliers, and entrepreneurs can efficiently share ideas and best practices);
  • A support system for turning discoveries into marketable goods and services, including business counseling, incubation programs, and proof-of-concept centers; and
  • Innovation infrastructure (which includes both tangible and non-tangible types) necessary to support innovation such as education, workforce development, and financial infrastructure.
In addition, EDA encourages University Center program applications that:

  • Align with the DOC Strategic Plan 2018-2022, with a focus on advancing STEM skills and capabilities, supporting workforce training opportunities in accordance with the needs of local and regional employers, and/or enhancing manufacturing capacities within the region.
  • Benefit distressed communities by linking these communities to larger, more vibrant regional economies, including rural-urban linkages; Present a clear plan for collaborating with and assisting other EDA investment partners, recipients, and stakeholders, including EDA-funded Economic Development Districts (EDDs) and Indian Tribes;
  • Encompass regional, Statewide, and multi-State programs, and create synergies within EDA’s Public Works, Economic Adjustment Assistance, and Partnership Planning programs;
  • Offer services within a well-defined geographic region in the States and territories covered by the Denver and Austin Regional Offices, and provide a full range of economic development research and technical assistance services to EDA regional partners; and
  • Tailor services to the region’s needs and each sponsoring institution’s (or consortium’s) strengths.

 

 

 


Economic – Workforce Development:

ETA Publishes Program Year 2018 Planning Instructions and Allotments for Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) State, Territorial, and National Grantees

The Employment and Training Administration has released Training and Employment Guidance Letter 17-17.  This TEGL provides current Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) state, territorial, and national grantees with the application instructions, allocations, and the process and procedures for the PY 2018 grant submission.

 


Economic – Entrepreneurship & Technology Commercialization

Department of Energy Launches $3 Million Prize Competition to Boost Domestic Solar Manufacturing

June 7 — Today, U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced the launch of the American-Made Solar Prize, a competition to revitalize U.S. solar manufacturing. The program will support entrepreneurs as they develop transformative ideas into concepts and then into early-stage prototypes ready for industry testing.

Entrepreneurial individuals and teams will compete through a series of three successive prize contests designed to develop new products to be made in America. Competitors will have access to mentoring and other supportive resources through a network of national labs, incubators, investors, and industry experts.

“The Administration is fully committed to strengthening America’s manufacturing competitiveness,” said Secretary Perry. “The Solar Prize brings together the nation’s best-in-class research resources, unparalleled entrepreneurial support system, and competitive, American spirit to create new innovations primed for private investment.”

“We share this administration’s desire for strong American solar manufacturing, and this prize competition is a good way to spur innovative ideas,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “The U.S. solar industry is a leader in entrepreneurship and ingenuity, and we support efforts like these that can pave the way to competitiveness for American companies.”

To win the final prize, participants must identify an impactful solution that addresses critical challenges related to American solar competitiveness, create a proof of concept, and secure a committed partner to test a prototype. Competitors will also participate in demo days, where they will pitch their idea to a team of expert reviewers, who will evaluate competitors based on the quality of their solution and the progress made during the contest period. The $3 million in funding from the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will be distributed through a series of three contests:

  1. Ready! Contest (up to $50,000 prize per winner): Winners will be selected after identifying an impactful idea or solution addressing a critical need in America’s solar industry.
  2. Set! Contest (up to $200,000 prize per winner): Competitors will work to substantially advance their technology solution toward a viable and promising proof of concept.
  3. Go! Contest ($500,000 prize per winner): Competitors will work to substantially advance their solution from proof of concept to a refined prototype and find a partner to perform a pilot test of the prototype.

Participants in this program can be entrepreneurial individuals, representatives of a company, university students or professors, small business owners, or researchers at a national laboratory, as long as they are based in the U.S. and have the desire to bring an impactful solution to advance U.S. solar competitiveness. Competitors must submit applications HERE by October 5, 2018 to participate.

The solar community is encouraged to submit business challenges to the competition HERE. Through this online portal, the community can comment on ideas and connect with contestants so that potential solutions can be ready for market impact by the end of the competition.

The DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to administer the American-Made Solar Prize. Sign up to participate in an informational webinar HERE.

Learn more about DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy HERE.


Economic- Technical Assistance

NEW! Small-scale manufacturing Technical Assistance

Smart Growth America is once again soliciting applications for a new round of free technical assistance for communities interested in using small-scale manufacturing as a strategy to create economic opportunity, boost the prospects of Main Street, and build great places.Small-scale manufacturers such as woodworkers, fabricators, hardware prototypers, microbrewers, and coffee roasters (to name but a few) with regional and national distribution have emerged as a significant force in today’s urban economy. This emerging sector can serve as a powerful tool in the effort to revitalize downtown and other core neighborhoods—while also creating well-paying jobs and connecting more residents to economic opportunity.In partnership with the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and Recast City, this program will provide assistance to six communities, helping them take full advantage of their small-scale manufacturers.

 


Education

NEW! Department of Education Announces Funding Opportunity under the Full-Service Community Schools Program

 

 Identifies Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (Job Training, Internships, Career Counseling) among “Pipeline Services”

The Department of Education has announced a funding opportunity under the Full-Service Community Schools (FSCS) Program.

The FSCS program is newly authorized by sections 4621-4623 and 4625 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESEA). This program provides support for the planning, implementation, and operation of full-service community schools that improve the coordination, integration, accessibility, and effectiveness of services for children and families, particularly for children attending high-poverty schools, including high-poverty rural schools.

Community school strategies hold considerable promise for creating good schools for all students, but especially those living in poverty. This is of particular relevance in the face of growing achievement and opportunity gaps at a moment in which the Nation faces a decentralization of decision making about the use of Federal dollars

The growing interest in community schools, also known as full-service community schools, coupled with this competition, present an opportunity for nationwide school improvement. While earlier versions

of the ESEA authorized community schools as a strategy and allowable activity, the reauthorized ESEA offers continued flexibilities at the State and district levels to implement strategies supported by community schools, such as coordination of school and community resources (ESEA sections 1114(b)(5) and 1115(b)(2)) and afterschool

programming and support for a community school coordinator (ESEA section 4108(a)(5)(H)). If a State or district lacks the resources to implement community schools at scale, it can productively begin in neighborhoods where community schools are most needed and, therefore, students are most likely to benefit. The Department, through the FSCS program, provides catalytic support for the planning, implementation, operation, and coordination of effective services for children and families, particularly those in high-poverty urban and rural areas at

the local level. According to a 2017 report, “a well-implemented community school leads to improvement in student and school outcomes and contributes to meeting the educational needs of low-achieving

students in high-poverty schools. Strong research reinforces the efficacy of integrated student supports, expanded learning time and opportunities, and family and community engagement as intervention strategies.”

The Department of Education had identified the availability of $7,500,000 for investment in the FSCSC with the expectation of 14 to 17 awards.  The solicitation is available at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-06-13/pdf/2018-12701.pdf

In the definition section, the Department defines “pipeline services”

Pipeline services means a continuum of coordinated supports, services, and opportunities for children from birth through entry into and success in postsecondary education, and career attainment. Such services shall include, at a minimum, strategies to address through services or programs (including integrated student supports) the  following:

(a) High-quality early childhood education programs.

(b) High-quality school and out-of-school-time programs and strategies.

(c) Support for a child’s transition to elementary school, from elementary school to middle school, from middle school to high school, and from high school into and through postsecondary education and into the workforce, and including any comprehensive readiness assessment determined necessary.

(d) Family and community engagement and supports, which may include engaging or supporting families at school or at home.

(e) Activities that support postsecondary and workforce readiness, which may include job training, internship opportunities, and career counseling.

(f) Community-based support for students who have attended the schools in the area served by the pipeline, or students who are members of the community, facilitating their continued connection to the community and success in postsecondary education and the workforce.

(g) Social, health, nutrition, and mental health services and supports.

(h) Juvenile crime prevention and rehabilitation programs.

 

The absolute priority is: Eligible entities that will serve a minimum of two or more full-service community schools eligible for a schoolwide program (as defined in this notice) under section 1114(b) of the ESEA as part of a

community- or district-wide strategy.

There are four competitive preference priorities:

1–Rural Districts-Small and Rural or Rural and Low-Income.

2–Broadly Representative Consortiums.

3–History of Effectiveness.

4 — Evidence-Based Activities, Strategies, or Interventions (the term is found in the “definition” section).

A pre-appplication webinar will be held on June 20, 2018. For information about the pre-application webinar, visit the FSCS website at: https://innovation.ed.gov/what-we-do/parental-options/full-service-community-schools-program-fscs/applicant-info-and-eligibility/.

Applications are due by July 13.

For the addresses for obtaining and submitting an application, please refer to the Common Instructions for Applicants to Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs, published in the February 12, 2018 FEDERAL REGISTER and available at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-02-12/pdf/2018-02558.pdf.

 

Department of Education Announces Funding Opportunities under the GEAR UP Program

Absolute Priority Categories Contain References to WIOA, Skills Attainment, Work-Based Learning, Apprenticeships, Postsecondary Credential Attainment, Industry Sectors, STEM, Financial Literacy, and Civic Education  

The GEAR UP program is a discretionary grant program that encourages eligible entities to provide support, and maintain a commitment, to eligible low-income students, including students with disabilities, to assist the students in obtaining a secondary school diploma (or its recognized equivalent) and to prepare for and succeed in postsecondary education.   (See: https://www2.ed.gov/programs/gearup/index.html)

Under the GEAR UP program, the Department of Education awards grants to two types of entities: (1) States and (2) partnerships consisting of at least one institution of higher education (IHE) and at least one local educational agency (LEA).

The Department has announced two funding opportunities today:

Partnership Grant Applications Due: July 13

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-06-07/pdf/2018-12294.pdf

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 provided $350,000,000 for the GEAR UP program for FY 2018, of which we intend to use an estimated $129,666,000 for new GEAR UP awards. The estimated funding available for the new GEAR UP Partnership awards is $64,833,000.

Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in subsequent years from the list of unfunded applications from this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards: $100,000-$7,000,000.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $1,200,000.

Maximum Award: We will not fund any application for a partnership grant above the maximum award of $800 per student for a single budget period of 12 months. Applications that request more than the maximum amount, except in the case of minimal technical or rounding errors, may be penalized. Additionally, no funding will be awarded for increases in an approved budget after the first 12-month budget period. As described in 34 CFR 694.1, the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education may change the maximum amount through a notice published in the Federal Register.

Estimated Number of Awards: 54.

State Grant Applications Due: July 13

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-06-07/pdf/2018-12291.pdf

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 provided $350,000,000 for the GEAR UP program for FY 2018, of which we intend to use an estimated $129,666,000 for new GEAR UP awards. The estimated funding available for the new GEAR UP State awards is $54,833,000.

Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in subsequent years from the list of unfunded applications from this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards: $2,500,000-$3,500,000.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $3,000,000.

Maximum Award: We will not fund any application for a State grant above the maximum award of $3,500,000 for a single budget period of 12 months. Applications that request more than the maximum amount, except in the case of minimal technical or rounding errors, may be penalized. Additionally, no funding will be awarded for increases in budget after the first 12-month budget period. As described in 34 CFR 694.1, the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education may change the maximum amount through a notice published in the Federal Register.

Estimated Number of Awards: 18.

The absolute priority has four categories:

Category 1: Fostering Flexible and Affordable Paths To Obtaining Knowledge and Skills
Projects that are designed to address one or more of the following priority areas:
(a) Developing or implementing pathways to recognized postsecondary credentials (as defined in section 3(52) of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA)) focused on career and technical skills that align with in-demand industry sectors or occupations (as defined in section 3(23) of WIOA). Students may obtain such credentials through a wide variety of education providers, such as: IHEs eligible for Federal student financial aid programs, nontraditional education providers (e.g., apprenticeship programs or computer coding boot camps), and providers of self-guided learning;
(b) Providing work-based learning experiences (such as internships, apprenticeships, and fellowships) that align with in-demand industry sectors or occupations (as defined in section 3(23) of WIOA);
(c) Creating or expanding innovative paths to a recognized postsecondary credential or obtainment of job-ready skills that align with in-demand industry sectors or occupations (as defined in section 3(23) of WIOA), such as through career pathways (as defined in section 3(7) of WIOA). Such credentials may be offered to students through a wide variety of education providers, such as providers eligible for Federal student financial aid programs, nontraditional education providers, and providers of self-guided learning; or (d) Creating or expanding opportunities for students to obtain recognized postsecondary credentials in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or computer science (as defined in this notice).

Category 2: Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) Education, With a Particular Focus on Computer Science 

Category 3: Protecting Freedom of Speech and Encouraging Respectful Interactions in a Safe Educational Environment, or Fostering Knowledge and Promoting the Development of Skills That Prepare Students To Be Informed, Thoughtful, and Productive Individuals and Citizens…. (b) Fostering knowledge of the common rights and responsibilities of American citizenship and civic participation, such as through civics education consistent with section 203(12) of WIOA.

Category 4: Fostering Knowledge and Promoting the Development of Skills That Prepare Students To Be Informed, Thoughtful, and Productive Individuals and Citizens
Projects that are designed to address supporting instruction in personal financial literacy, knowledge of markets and economics, knowledge of higher education financing and repayment (e.g., college savings and student loans), or other skills aimed at building personal financial understanding and responsibility.

 


Previously Announced Federal Funding Opportunities Closing Soon:  

Below is a list of previously highlighted funding opportunities that are still open. Enter the Opportunity Number in Grants.gov to see announcement details. You can also search Grants.gov for a full list of current federal opportunities, including programs not listed below.

Opportunity Number Opportunity Title Agency Posted Date Close Date
NSF 17-590 Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Education and Human Resources NSF 08/22/2017 10/01/2018
EPA-GM-COOPERATIVE-AGREEMENTS-2018-1 Gulf of Mexico Program Cooperative Agreements 2018 EPA 05/31/2018 07/31/2018
NEW! USDA-NIFA-OP-006611 RREA – National Focus Funds USDA 05/31/2018 07/20/2018
NEW! USDA-NIFA-FASLP-006610 Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program USDA 05/31/2018 07/09/2018
NEW! FTA-2018-004-TPE Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning DOT/FTA 05/24/2018 07/23/2018
NEW! RDBCP-RCDG-2018 Rural Cooperative Development Grant USDA 05/20/2018 07/24/2018

Other Funding of Interest

 

NEW! Minority Business Development Publishes Solicitation to Promote and Ensure the Inclusion and Use of Minority Enterprises

 Proposals Due August 11

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) within the Department of Commerce has announced it will provide Federal assistance to support innovative projects seeking to promote and ensure the inclusion and use of minority enterprises.

A solicitation published on June 11 is designed to encourage new activities, education, outreach, innovative projects or sponsorships that are not addressed through other MBDA programs.

Eligible applicants may be for-profit entities (including but not limited to sole-proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations), non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, commercial organizations, state and local government entities, quasi-government entities, Indian Tribal governments, Tribal entities, and Native Hawaiian entities.

MBDA has identified $11,650,000 for investment with an award flor of $200,000 and a ceiling of $850,000.  Applications are due by August 11.

See: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=306152


Reports, Tools and Data

NEW! Increasing Private Investment in Low Income Areas with Opportunity Zones

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS have announced the final round of Opportunity Zones, with designations in Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Utah. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created Opportunity Zones to spur investment in distressed communities throughout the country. New investments in Opportunity Zones can receive preferential tax treatment. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, States, D.C., and U.S. possessions nominate low-income communities to be designated as Qualified Opportunity Zones, which are eligible for the tax benefit.  Opportunity Zones have now been designated in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five territories. Nearly 35 million Americans live in the communities designated as Opportunity Zones. According to data from the 2011-2015 American Community Survey, the designated census tracts had an average poverty rate of over 32 percent, compared with a rate of 17 percent for the average census tract. Furthermore, the median family income of the designated tracts was on average 37 percent below the area or state median, and those census tracts had an unemployment rate 1.6 times higher than the average census tract. Treasury and the IRS recently released Opportunity Zones Frequently Asked Questions  to provide additional information on this new tax incentive.  View designated Opportunity Zones.

 

NEW! Workforce Strategies  Aspen Institute has released a new brief – “Now Jobs” in Young Adult Workforce Programming.

A “now job” strategy is a practical approach to the reality that, for young people who face systemic economic barriers, career paths can be long and strewn with obstacles. The strategy significantly expands the traditional job developer role and has implications for how effective workforce development is delivered, funded and assessed. Read “Now Jobs” in Young Adult Workforce Programming and our related blog post. Learn how two programs participating in Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Generation Work Initiative are engaging with employers to cultivate jobs that address young adults’ immediate income needs while continuing to prepare them for long-term career opportunities.

 

NEW! Regional Transportation Planning and Resilience.

See the links below for several new reports of interest in the US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration’s current research series, by FHWA Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty (HEP).  HEP serves as FHWA’s advocate and national leader for environmental protection and enhancement, comprehensive intermodal and multi-modal transportation planning, and for fair and prudent acquisition and management of real property.

 

NEW! USDA Launches Interactive Map of Opioid Epidemic Resources to Connect Rural Communities and Individuals to Model Practices across the Country

Watch the demo video!

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today (June 14)  unveiled a new interactive feature on the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) rural opioid misuse webpage. Now webpage visitors can use an interactive map to learn about, access or replicate actions rural leaders are taking in small towns across the country to address the opioid epidemic through prevention, treatment and recovery opportunities. The interactive map can be viewed at https://www.usda.gov/topics/opioids/resources-map.

“Leaving no community untouched, the opioid epidemic has taken a monumental toll on many of the small towns and rural places that are the heartbeat of our country,” Hazlett said. “USDA is a strong partner to rural leaders in addressing this issue through programs for prevention, treatment and recovery, as well as programs that build rural resilience and prosperity for the future.”

USDA collected model practices displayed on the interactive map from regional opioid misuse roundtables and through the “What’s working in your town?” form on the USDA opioid misuse webpage. USDA invites you to share effective actions taken in response to the opioid epidemic in rural communities by filling out the “What’s working in your town?” form.

At the direction of President Trump, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been keenly focused on addressing the opioid crisis in rural communities. So far, the Department has  convened regional roundtables to hear firsthand accounts of the impact of the crisis and effective strategies for response in rural communities; launched an interactive webpage on opioid misuse in rural America featuring resources for rural communities and individuals facing the crisis; and prioritized investments in three key grant programs to address the crisis in rural places. For more information about these efforts, visit the USDA rural opioid misuse webpage at www.usda.gov/topics/opioids.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump, which included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America.

In the area of quality of life, the Task Force included a recommendation to modernize health care access. The report highlighted the importance of telemedicine in enhancing access to primary care and specialty providers.  The Task Force also found that improved access to mental and behavioral health care, particularly prevention, treatment, and recovery resources, is vital to addressing the opioid crisis and other substance misuse in rural communities.

 

NEW! BLS Releases State Employment and Unemployment ( May 2018)

The Bureau of Labor Statistics today (Iune 15) reported that unemployment rates were lower in May in 14 states and stable in 36 states and the District of Columbia. Eleven states had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier and 39 states and the District had little or no change. The national unemployment rate edged down from April to 3.8 percent and was 0.5 percentage point lower than in May 2017.

Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 7 states in May 2018 and was essentially unchanged in 43 states and the District of Columbia. Over the year, 35 states added nonfarm payroll jobs and 15 states and the District were essentially unchanged.

 

NEW! Renewable Energy: Department of Energy Selects University of Utah Site for $140 Million Geothermal Research and Development

Today (June 15) , the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the University of Utah will receive up to $140 million in continued funding over the next five years for cutting-edge geothermal research and development. After three years of planning, site characterization, and competition, the proposed site outside of Milford, Utah, has been selected as the location of the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) field laboratory. This new FORGE site is dedicated to research on enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), or manmade geothermal reservoirs.

“Enhanced geothermal systems are the future of geothermal energy, and critical investments in EGS will help advance American leadership in clean energy innovation,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “Funding efforts toward the next frontier in geothermal energy technologies will help diversify the United States’ domestic energy portfolio, enhance our energy access, and increase our energy security.”

Conventional geothermal resources occur naturally in the U.S. but are geographically limited due to the necessary co-location of heat, permeability, and fluid deep underground. Currently, American geothermal electricity production is located solely in the western states, where conventional geothermal resources put about 3.8 gigawatts (GW) of electricity on the grid.

Manmade geothermal reservoirs can be engineered wherever hot rocks are found, and since such formations are almost ubiquitous – they just vary in depth – those reservoirs have the potential to be utilized practically everywhere.  EGS could significantly expand geothermal energy production, with an estimated 100 GW of currently inaccessible resources, removing the geographic barriers of conventional geothermal resources.

Critical to broad EGS deployment, FORGE will be a laboratory where scientists and researchers can learn how to engineer these manmade systems. The geothermal community will gain a fundamental understanding of the key mechanisms controlling EGS success; develop, test, and improve new techniques in an ideal EGS environment; and rapidly disseminate technical data and communicate to the public.

Exceptional, creative, and responsible technological innovation, such as that taking place at FORGE, is not only necessary to bring EGS to technical maturity, but is also a critical step on America’s path to energy security and global geothermal energy leadership.

More information about DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office can be found HERE.

 

NEW! Department of Labor Announces Launch of Apprenticeship.gov

The U.S. Department of Labor today (June 15) announced the launch of Apprenticeship.gov.

Apprenticeship.gov delivers on the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion’s recommendation to “compile apprenticeship information in a single, online, centralized website.” The website will evolve into a robust one-stop platform to connect job seekers, job creators, training providers, parents, teachers, and federal and local workforce agencies with information and resources to learn more about apprenticeships, how to establish apprenticeship program, and how to access open apprenticeship opportunities.

The initial launch of Apprenticeship.gov comes at the one-year anniversary of President Trump’s Executive Order Expanding Apprenticeships in America, which directed the U.S. Department of Labor to expand access to apprenticeship opportunities to help more Americans secure family-sustaining jobs. The Executive Order also created the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion to identify strategies and proposals to promote apprenticeships. The Task Force released its final report on May 10, 2018.

Apprenticeship programs utilize a learn-while-you-earn model that provides workers with a career path that includes paid on-the-job instruction, skills development, and mentorship, while providing job creators with highly skilled workers.

Please visit https://www.apprenticeship.gov to learn more.

 

NEW! Urban Institute Report Examines Public Funding for Job Training at the State and Local Level

June 14 posting from the Urban Institute on the availability of a new report that examines how jurisdictions are supplementing WIOA funding.  The report’s author, Dr. Kelly S. Mikelson, is a senior research associate in the Income and Benefits Policy Center at the Urban Institute. Her research focuses on low-income workers, workforce development issues, and evaluating education and training programs

Excerpt: To provide a more complete picture of federal, state, and local job training investments, this report describes public expenditures for three states—Massachusetts, Texas, and Washington—and five cities—Austin, Boston, Houston, Seattle, and Worcester. Compared with the federally-funded Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, state and local investments in workforce training and related services is substantial, in some cases surpassing federal funding. States and localities demonstrate six strategies to manage funding—seeking diverse revenue sources, leveraging public- and private-funding, braiding and blending funding, using dedicated fees for training, funding sector-based training initiatives, and collaborating and coordinating to fill training gaps.

This project draws on interviews with state and local public and nonprofit workforce development organizations; a brief review of existing literature and published reports; a review of federal, state, and local budget documents; the JPMorgan Chase grantee databases for 2014–17; and the latest available Workforce Investment Act Standardized Record Data (WIASRD). This is not a comprehensive view of all public funding. The examples described highlight key features of the vast array of public funding streams for job training at the state and local level.

The full report is available at: https://www.urban.org/research/publication/public-funding-job-training-state-and-local-level-examination-massachusetts-texas-and-washington/view/full_report

Executive Summary

Private Investment in Workforce Training (Factsheet)

Excerpt:

Amid a surplus of jobs and a bustling economy, American workers need training and skill development to ensure economic growth doesn’t leave them behind.

Funding under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014 is the largest federal investment in workforce development, providing states and localities flexibility while emphasizing “upskilling.” WIOA’s Title I disburses funds to states to support local programs for adults, dislocated workers, and youth.

Some states and local agencies are augmenting federal funding with other public and private investments. Examining expenditures on occupational training in Massachusetts, Texas, and Washington provides a snapshot of state-level investments in training.

These geographically diverse states also have:

  • large projected increases in middle-skill job openings (jobs that require education beyond high school but not a four-year degree);
  • federal, state, or local funding committed to innovative strategies or past participation in innovative regional or statewide middle-skill training partnerships; and
  • diverse state-level funding structures.

Reports and Research on Resilience

Earlier this year 100 Resilient Cities, an initiative pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, released a report, Safer and Stronger Cities: Strategies for Advocating for Federal Resiliency Policy. This report, which was prepared by Enterprise Community Partners in collaboration with Climate Resilience Consulting, Georgetown Climate Center and HR&A Advisors, offers a menu of federal policy recommendations that can help cities become more resilient in the face of changing conditions, focusing on infrastructure, housing, flood insurance, economic development, and public safety. These policy recommendations have been endorsed by 22 mayors from across the country. Read the report on the Enterprise website

HUD Announces First Round of ‘EnVision Center” Designations in 17 Communities around the Nation

U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson traveled to his hometown of Detroit today (June 7) to announce the first round of ‘EnVision Center’ designations in 17 communities around the nation.  One of Secretary Carson’s signature initiatives, EnVision Centers will offer HUD-assisted families access to support services that can help them achieve self-sufficiency, thereby making scarce federal resources more readily available to a greater number of households currently waiting to receive HUD assistance.  Read more about HUD’s EnVision Center Demonstration.

Secretary Carson and Detroit Mayor Michael Duggan met with public housing residents, community leaders and other stakeholders at Life Remodeled’s Durfee Innovation Society, among the first group of demonstration communities named today.

Located on or near public housing developments, EnVision Centers will be centralized hubs that serve as an incubator to support four key pillars of self-sufficiency— (1) Economic Empowerment, (2) Educational Advancement, (3) Health and Wellness, and (4) Character and Leadership.

News Release at https://www.hud.gov/press/press_releases_media_advisories/HUD_No_18_054

 

 State  City Housing / Community Partnering Organization Municipal Partnering Agency
California San Diego San Diego Housing Commission & San Diego Workforce Partnership City of San Diego
Connecticut Hartford Hartford Housing Authority & Catholic Charities City of Hartford
District of Columbia Washington District of Columbia Housing Authority District of Columbia
Illinois Chicago A Safe Haven Foundation & All Chicago Making Homelessness History City of Chicago
Kansas Kansas City aSTEAM Village, Kansas City Kansas Housing Authority City of Kansas City, Kansas
Kentucky Bowling Green Housing Authority of Bowling Green & WROTE, Inc. City of Bowling Green
Michigan Detroit Detroit Housing Commission City of Detroit
Detroit Life Remodeled City of Detroit
Inkster Inkster Housing Commission City of Inkster
Missouri Kansas City aSTEAM Village, Kansas City Missouri Housing Authority City of Kansas City, Missouri
New Jersey Phillipsburg Community Prevention Resources of Warren County & Phillipsburg Housing Authority Town of Phillipsburg
North Carolina Hickory Western Piedmont Council of Governments Regional Housing Authority City of Hickory
North Dakota Grand Forks Grand Forks Homes, Inc. & Grand Forks Housing Authority City of Grand Forks
Ohio Youngstown United Returning Citizens Inc & Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority City of Youngstown
Oklahoma Choctaw Nation Choctaw Nation & Choctaw Nation Housing Authority City of Poteau
Pennsylvania Philadelphia Philadelphia Housing Authority City of Philadelphia
Texas Fort Worth Fort Worth Housing Solutions City of Fort Worth
Washington Spokane Spokane Area Workforce Development Council & Spokane Housing Authority City of Spokane

New Website Will Help Florida Businesses Prepare for Natural Disasters

Today (June 6), the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) announced the launch of a new website, FloridaDisaster.biz, to help Florida businesses prepare for and recover from hurricanes and other disasters. By providing critical information before, during and after a disaster, the website will help businesses recover and get Floridians back to work following emergencies.

Features of the new website include:

  • A disaster planning toolkit to help businesses prepare for hurricanes and other disasters;
  • Critical disaster updates from the State Emergency Operations Center to keep businesses informed during emergencies; and
  • A Business Damage Assessment Survey to help businesses get back up and running after an emergency.

Governor Scott said, “Floridians understand the importance of being prepared for disasters, especially during hurricane season. This new website will help businesses make safe and informed decisions for themselves, their employees and their customers. Every Florida business can visit FloridaDisaster.biz, make a disaster plan and stay updated as we move further into hurricane season.”

Cissy Proctor, DEO Executive Director, said, “The new FloridaDisaster.biz provides key resources and information to help Florida’s job creators in the face of a disaster. We know that businesses, like individuals and families, must be prepared with a plan, and FloridaDisaster.biz will guide businesses step-by-step to help them prepare and recover quickly from an emergency.”

Wes Maul, Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said, “Effectively preparing for, responding to and recovering from disasters takes input from the whole community. This valuable tool will boost Florida’s private sector engagement during emergencies and help raise awareness of available resources. Ensuring our businesses can reopen quickly is critical to the speedy recovery of our impacted communities.”

FloridaDisaster.biz is a partnership between DEO and the Florida Division of Emergency Management. Other partners include the U.S. Department of Commerce, Florida State University’s Center for Disaster Risk Policy, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, the Florida Retail Federation, VISIT FLORIDA, the Florida Small Business Development Center Network and others. DEO is the lead agency for the support of business, industry and economic stabilization during a statewide disaster.

 

Workforce Development Training Materials available at no-cost

World’s Largest Digital Library of Workforce Training Materials is available at no cost: SkillsCommons.org is home to materials produced by grantees of the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s (DOL) Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College & Career Training (TAACCCT) program, a $2 billion federal workforce investment to equip community colleges to help adults learn skills that lead to living-wage jobs: Attached link:Home – SkillsCommons Repository. Click to open in new tab.


Disaster Recovery Resources & Info

Primary site for Disaster Recovery Assistance: https://www.disasterassistance.gov/

Funding Assistance for Recovery Efforts:

FTA Announces Funding under the Transportation Emergency Relief Program

.Of potential interest to the Boards in the affected geographies given the potential workforce requirements for response, recovery, and rebuilding projects.

The Federal Transit Administration has published a notice in the May 31 FEDERAL REGISTER announcing the allocation of $277.5 million under the Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program (Emergency Relief Program) to States, Territories, and public transportation agencies affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Within the $277.5 million announced in this notice, FTA is allocating $233.3 million for response, recovery, and rebuilding projects and $44.2 million for project elements or stand-alone projects that increase the resilience of the affected transit systems to future disasters. Such resilience investments shall be subject to specific conditions cited in this notice.

See https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-05-31/pdf/2018-11538.pdf for complete background and allocations by geography.

Excerpts:

Beginning in August 2017, President Trump issued major disaster declarations associated with Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria for the following States and Territories: Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, and the United States Virgin Islands.

Numerous counties and parishes in these States and Territories have been designated as eligible for assistance under the major disaster declarations.

FTA will host a webinar for FTA recipients interested in applying for FTA Emergency Relief funds on a date to be determined. The webinar will be announced on FTA’s website and through an email announcement to those who have signed up at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDOTFTA/subscriber/new  to receive email updates from FTA regarding the Emergency Relief Program.

Public transportation agencies, States, Territories, local governmental authorities, Indian tribes, and other FTA grant recipients that provide or fund public transportation service in the affected areas are eligible for Emergency Relief funding under the program.

Of the $330 million appropriated, a total of $2,475,000 is set aside for administrative expenses and ongoing program management oversight activities as authorized under the Bipartisan Budget Act.

From the remaining $327,525,000 currently available for allocation, FTA is allocating $277,525,000 as follows:

  • $232,308,000 for response, recovery, and rebuilding for States, Territories, and FTA direct recipients with estimated FTA Emergency Relief costs, including costs of sub recipients, eligible for reimbursement of more than $25,000
  • $44,217,000 for resilience projects in Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas, and the United States Virgin Islands
  • $1 million for response, recovery, and rebuilding for States, FTA direct recipients, and their sub recipients without a direct allocation of funds

FTA is reserving $50 million for latent damages, damages not assessed in smaller areas, cost increases, and additional Emergency Relief needs that exceed the amounts made available in this notice. FTA may update allocations without further notice based on revised validated damage assessments.

 

EDA Issues NOFO for $587M in Supplemental Funding for Areas Impacted by 2017 Hurricanes, Wildfires and Other Disasters

As noted above, EDA has issued a NOFO (EDA-2018-DISASTER) inviting applications for $587 million in grants available to eligible entities to address economic challenges in disaster-impacted areas. These grants will support disaster recovery activities in areas receiving a major disaster designation as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and wildfires and other 2017 natural disasters. EDA plans to accept proposals on a rolling basis until all funds are obligated. See listing above and these links below for details:

 


Related Resources – NonFederal:

Updates on FEMA Response in Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands

HUD Awards Nearly $20 Million to Support Homeless Programs in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today (June 4) awarded nearly $20 million to support to dozens of local homeless housing and service programs in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Continuum of Care grants announced today provide critically needed housing and support services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness across the territories, including those impacted by Hurricanes Maria and Irma.

News Release / Listing of Grants https://www.hud.gov/press/press_releases_media_advisories/HUD_No_18_052

Where to Find Federal Disaster Declarations

  • Is your home, business or community included in a federally declared emergency or disaster area? You can find the latest federal emergency and disaster declarations, as well as prior declarations for other areas, on FEMA’s disaster declarations webpage.

Amended Declarations

Existing Declarations may be subsequently amended to expand covered areas, provide notification that an incident has been closed, or make other necessary changes.

These are posted in the Federal Register here: https://www.federalregister.gov/agencies/federal-emergency-management-agency#documents

Economic Recovery Support

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