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HIV Employment Initiative (HEI)

Grants to New York Nonprofits and Agencies to Help
Individuals Living with HIV Enter the Workforce

Agency Type:

State

Funding Source:

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New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) - Employment and Income Support Programs

LOI Date:

02/05/18

Deadline Date:

03/05/18 2:00 PM ET Receipt

Description:

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Grants to New York nonprofit organizations and public agencies to help meet the workforce training and employment needs of individuals living with HIV. Nonprofit applicants must prequalify in the online grants system prior to applying. Organizations intending to submit a proposal are asked to submit the Notice of Intent form by February 5, 2018. In addition to job training, participating individuals will receive case management services.

Purpose:

The purpose of the HEI 2018 RFP is to secure the services of eligible organizations that can assist OTDA and the AIDS Institute of the New York State Department of Health (DOH) in addressing the employment and training needs of persons living with HIV. Organizations will offer intensive job placement services to help individuals living with HIV enter or reenter the workforce, and provide necessary case management services to ensure the continued health and supportive needs of participants are not compromised once working.

The jobs that program participants gain through this initiative must offer health benefits, and selected contractors must ensure that other health coverage is in place until employer-offered health benefits take effect. A job development component that identifies how job opportunities will be established to provide permanent job placement for individuals served must also be included. Program providers are encouraged to help participants attain vocational/technical skills trainings, such as Peer Worker Certification, as well as High School Equivalency (HSE) diplomas and/or higher education degrees with direct links to employment opportunities.

Funding:

Awards will be made based upon the distribution of statewide incidences of diagnosed HIV cases as indicated in the New York State HIV Epidemiological Profile, and in consideration of the overall quality of proposals submitted and total funds requested. Priority points will be given to applicants proposing to serve Erie, Monroe, Westchester, Nassau and/or Suffolk Counties, which have the highest distribution of people living with diagnosed HIV (excluding NYC) based on the most recent data collected by the CUNY Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health.

OTDA reserves the right to award contracts to responsible entities that score fewer points than others to satisfy the goal of assuring statewide coverage in geographic areas with high incidences of diagnosed HIV cases. Given this stipulation, a proposal with a lower score may be selected over a higher scoring proposal when the lower scoring proposal serves a geographic area with a higher incidence of diagnosed HIV cases, or when the higher scoring proposal falls subject to the one provider per county rule. Applicants serving areas outside of New York City are encouraged to submit proposals using a regional-based approach in an effort to serve participants in more than one county.

Should additional funds be made available to support this RFP, OTDA reserves the right to make awards in excess of the amount listed above. In the event the amount requested by selected organizations exceeds the amount available, OTDA will reduce the award amounts to stay within the overall funding limit. Necessary award reductions may be achieved by a proportionate decrease across all selected proposals, or by reducing the requested award amount(s) of lower scoring proposals.

Selected contractors will receive up to 75% of the award based on the submission of expenditure claims that are in accordance with the approved budget in the executed contract. The remaining 25% of the award is earned as participants achieve specific job retention milestones. The award shall not duplicate any payment provided or funding made available by OTDA, DOH or any other federal, state, or local government entity.

Participant Eligibility:

Individuals eligible to participate in the program are persons living with HIV who are interested in obtaining employment with the help of the program operator. Documentation to verify HIV status must be obtained. The HEI 2018 Services Application must be completed by each program participant and certified by a program representative.

In brief, to be eligible for this initiative individuals must:
-Be a resident of New York State;
-Be eligible to work in the United States;
-Have a documented HIV diagnosis; and
-Have gross family income that does not exceed the current annual and monthly standard of 200% of the federal poverty rate, as outlined below. These amounts are adjusted annually.

Coordination with Social Services Districts (districts):

District support is not a requirement of this RFP. However, since individuals living with HIV may also receive public assistance, organizations submitting an application should discuss the program with their district(s). The district can serve as a source of program referrals, identify appropriate individuals that could benefit from the services and activities offered, and provide individuals with the supportive services needed to facilitate participation. Applicant organizations should contact their district(s) to learn what elements the program design must include to better support participation by public assistance recipients.

Applicants are also encouraged to collaborate with NYS Career Centers, ACCES- VR offices and local chambers of commerce to assist clients access comprehensive services. Information regarding local Career Centers may be accessed on the NYS Department of Labor website, and ACCES-VR district office locations are available on the NYS Education Department website.

Description of Services Sought:

In recent years, an increasing number of persons living with HIV have seen their health stabilize to a point where they are able to resume employment. However, job attainment and sustained employment for persons living with HIV continues to be a major challenge. While many participants have the desire to work, they are often reluctant to introduce changes to their lives that may affect their health and health insurance coverage, and may also fear the loss of program benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), cash assistance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Persons living with HIV are also concerned about confidentiality and often worry about disclosure in the workplace. Many such individuals have gone long periods with little or no work histories, making it difficult to obtain employment. Additionally, many of the potential program participants lack viable training and skills needed for sustainable employment, and to be able to compete in today’s competitive job market.

To assist participants in overcoming these barriers, a strong case management approach is essential. Case management is a method to service delivery that strives to ensure that clients with complex needs receive timely coordinated services, and that all available and necessary resources are used to create positive program outcomes. It involves ongoing contact with the participant, which begins during the initial assessment meeting and continues throughout job placement and retention. Individuals enrolled in HEI activities should receive case management services including employability assessments, assistance with child care and transportation arrangements, financial planning and management, and connection to job skills trainings as needed to support service delivery.

Proposals submitted in response to this RFP must demonstrate an awareness of and sensitivity to the unique set of difficulties faced by persons living with HIV who strive to enter and maintain employment. In view of these barriers, the objectives of this initiative are to support programs that can:

-Enhance participant employability by providing the case management services and support needed to connect them with employment that includes medical insurance;
-Educate participants of the benefits of becoming employed, including possible health insurance and/or benefit improvements, higher self-esteem, and lower stress;
-Assist participants with enrollment into job skills training programs that provide instruction specific to a particular vocation and training in the various skills necessary to successfully perform the functions of the job, and/or provide the supports necessary to obtain a HSE diploma;
-Provide participants with continued access to an array of care and support services as part of their vocational training and job skills development pursuits, in order to maintain their health status and reduce barriers to work;
-Match participants with available job openings and/or empower participants to seek and locate employment on their own;
-Eliminate, prevent or reduce a participant’s need for public assistance and publicly funded health insurance, when applicable;
-Provide employment settings that ensure the demands of the job do not negatively affect the health of the participant;
-Assist participants in understanding and learning how to deal with issues of disclosure and confidentiality in the workplace;
-Demonstrate an awareness of the many issues facing persons living with HIV, including set- backs due to medications and medical conditions, the need for support systems, discrimination, and financial strains;
-Assist participants with navigating the impact of changes in employment on the full range of health, dental, social services and other benefits, including possible eligibility changes for housing, nutrition, and other services the individual may currently access;
-Coordinate with other case managers/service coordinators working with the participant, including those providing job skills training opportunities;
-Strive to place participants employed part-time into full-time employment of 30 hours or more to increase financial security without compromising the health of the participant;
-Provide employed program participants with the post-employment services needed to promote job retention;
-Design successful outreach strategies such as developing brochures and flyers, conducting community presentations, utilizing social media and other forms of communication, and networking to identify and recruit eligible participants to the program; and
-Consider establishing a consumer advisory board to assist with guiding program activities.

Program providers are encouraged to make available both soft skills training and vocational/technical skills training opportunities, and the cost-based portion of the HEI contract may be utilized to support such expenditures. Trainings that result in a marketable credential are preferred. Providers are encouraged to assist clients interested in earning the NYS Peer Worker Certification credential access training and employment opportunities through this pathway.

A job development component that identifies how job opportunities will be secured to provide permanent job placement for individuals served must also be included. Applicant organizations should develop a job placement strategy that matches the skills and abilities of participants with local labor market openings. While the goal for all HEI 2018 participants is to find livable wage employment with benefits and advancement opportunities, it is understood that their move to economic independence is a process consisting of a series of steps. Applicant organizations need to understand their local labor market and be aware of employers and/or industries that hire individuals with limited employment achievements. OTDA encourages HEI 2018 applicant organizations to engage in discussions with employers who can support this initiative, as well as local chambers of commerce. Additionally, applicants may consider establishing a business council of area employers to better support access to employment opportunities.

Employment Qualification:

To qualify for reimbursement for the job retention milestones, the employer hiring the participant must offer health insurance. If there is a waiting period before becoming eligible to enroll into an employer-offered health insurance program, the contractor must provide the necessary assistance to ensure that coverage is provided by another source (e.g. private insurance, Medicaid, Family Health Plus) during the waiting period. The New York State of Health Official Health Plan Marketplace also provides insurance options for persons with incomes above Medicaid eligibility levels. Individuals with third-party insurance who cannot meet their deductibles or co-payments, or whose policies have waiting periods, may also be eligible to enroll in the HIV Uninsured Care Programs, which includes the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), ADAP Plus, ADAP Plus Insurance Continuation Program and the HIV Home Care Program. Participants may elect to refuse employer-offered health insurance in favor of another health plan, such as a product sold on the Marketplace, with the understanding that individuals who are applicants for or recipients of Medicaid must confer with the district before declining any offer of insurance.

For each HEI participant who completes 30 days in unsubsidized employment, providers are strongly encouraged to conduct an Employment Coaching meeting with the participant to review his or her:
-Current job and job satisfaction;
-Job progress including a discussion of attendance, interactions with co-workers, and ability to successfully complete the duties of the job;
-Barriers, health and/or support needs to maintain and advance in employment;
-Strategies and referrals for addressing barriers and/or needs; and
-Options and/or goals for future job retention/advancement.

The Employment Coaching meeting is designed to help increase retention prospects for persons living with HIV while ensuring health and support needs are not compromised. The meeting should be completed in conjunction with the participant and appropriate provider staff. After the Coaching meeting, a signed Employment Coaching Plan providing a summary of the meeting and outcomes must be maintained in the participant’s file.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 134341

Estimated Total Program Funding:

$1,161,000

Number of Grants:

OTDA expects that at least five projects will be funded. OTDA anticipates at least three awards will be made for projects serving New York City. Awards made in regions outside of New York City will be limited to no more than one per county.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Annual awards of up to $200,000 will be made.

Term of Contract:

Grants will support selected programs for a 12- month period beginning October 1, 2018. Funds for program periods beyond the initial 12-month period are contingent upon subsequent budget appropriations.

This RFP governs contracts for the cycle starting October 1, 2018, and ending September 30, 2023. Contractors may be reimbursed for eligible 30 and/or 90-day employment milestones achieved by participants that began working on or before September 30, 2023.

At the discretion of OTDA, this multi-year cycle may be shortened if determined that modifications to the program structure are necessary. Award amounts for the initial and any subsequent periods are contingent on the availability of funding, and the degree to which performance outcomes have been achieved.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Organizations eligible to apply for funding under this initiative are limited to nonprofit and public entities.

For-profit entities are excluded from applying for funding under this initiative.

Preferred applicants will be entities with experience providing employment services to persons living with HIV.

Applicants are encouraged to consider collaborating with other experienced providers to establish a consortium of services that will best meet the performance component of this initiative. As experience providing employment services is critical to success in meeting milestones, OTDA encourages applicant entities without experience providing employment services to collaborate with entities who can demonstrate a history of connecting low-income participants to in-demand employment opportunities.

Applicants proposing a consortium-based approach must designate one of the applicant entities as the lead for the consortium, and must include in their application a description of the roles and responsibilities of the lead applicant and each co-applicant. Formal contracts between the lead applicant and its members must be developed to outline individual responsibilities and payment terms. The consortium members must indicate unanimous understanding and commitment to program goals for the life of the contract.

Nonprofit applicants must be registered and in good standing with the Charities Bureau of the Attorney General’s Office, and have their Vendor Responsibility Profile available and current on the NYS Office of the State Comptroller’s (OSC) VendRep System at http://www.osc.state.ny.us/vendrep/index.htm. If an applicant is unable to use the online system, a hardcopy of the Vendor Responsibility Questionnaire must be submitted to OTDA upon receiving a contract as a result of this RFP. All nonprofits are subject to the Prequalification Requirement in the Grants Gateway.

Selected contractors agree to provide informational materials to program participants regarding how to access various program benefits available to low-income households in New York State, including temporary assistance, tax credits and nutrition programs. Contractors also agree to display and/or distribute materials developed by OTDA related to www.myBenefits.ny.gov to program participants. OTDA will provide each selected contractor with informational materials necessary to accomplish this goal.

Pre-Application Information:

Questions must be submitted prior to the 5:00 p.m. deadline on February 5, 2018. Answers to all questions received by this date will be posted on the Grants Gateway website and on the OTDA website no later than February 19, 2018.

Organizations intending to submit a proposal in response to the RFP are asked to submit the “Notice of Intent to Bid” form by February 5, 2018, in order to help OTDA prepare for the number of proposals OTDA may expect to receive. This form, completion and forwarding instructions are included in Attachment 1. This form is recommended, but not a requirement.

All proposals must be submitted via the Grants Gateway and be received no later than 2:00 PM ET, March 5, 2018.

New York State has instituted key reform initiatives to the grant contract process which require nonprofits to register in the Grants Gateway and complete the Vendor Prequalification process in order for proposals to be considered and evaluated. Please note, waiting until the last several days to complete your application online is risky, as you may have technical questions. Beginning the process of applying as soon as possible will produce the best results.

RFP Timetable:
-RFP Release Date: January 22, 2018
-Deadline Date for Questions: February 5, 2018
-Notice of Intent to Bid: February 5, 2018
-Responses to Questions Posted: February 19, 2018
-Proposal Due Date: March 5, 2018
-Date of Notification of Award: April 24, 2018
-Contract Start Date: October 1, 2018
-Contract End Date: September 30, 2023

View this opportunity on the Grants Gateway:
https://grantsgateway.ny.gov/IntelliGrants_NYSGG/module/nysgg/goportal.aspx?NavItem1=3

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

All proposals must be submitted via the Grants Gateway at:
https://grantsgateway.ny.gov

Melissa Alexander
Melissa.Alexander@otda.ny.gov

New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
Employment and Income Support Programs
40 North Pearl Street, 11th Floor
Albany, NY 12243

Fax: (518) 486-7650

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York City;   New York

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