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Career Cluster Partnership Program

Grants to South Carolina Nonprofit Trade Associations for
Educational Training Programs in Various Industry Sectors

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) - Office of Career and Technical Education

Conf. Date:


LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

07/30/21 - Receipt before 4:00 PM EDT


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Grants to South Carolina nonprofit trade associations and educational foundations to provide educational training programs in a range of fields. Funding is intended to support industry-specific career and technical education programs that will increase the number of skilled workers in the following sectors: construction, automotive, healthcare, engineering, hospitality and tourism, and mechanical contracting. Funds may be used for activities such as student assessment and testing programs, professional development for teachers, student recruitment, and programs for guidance and career counselors.

The purpose of the Career Clusters Partnership Program is to support instructor/student training and student testing in industry clusters to increase the state’s skilled workforce. The SCDE administers the program through its Office of Career and Technical Education (OCTE).

A priority for the 2021−22 program is student assessment, as stated in Proviso 1A.33. The OCTE is primarily interested in student assessments for secondary program completers. 

The Career Cluster Partnership Program funds must be used to support the following activities and programs:

  • Administration of end-of-course testing program and/or national certifications exams;
  • Student recruitment into the industry career cluster;
  • Programs to educate middle and high school career or guidance counselors about the industry;
  • Professional development and training for teachers;
  • Services to economically disadvantaged youth (as defined by eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch);
  • Administration of business/employer awareness and partnerships that lead to experience-based, career-oriented experiences including internships, apprenticeships, mentoring, cooperative education, and service-learning;
  • One-year post-secondary scholarships in industry-specific degree programs, if applicable;
  • An organization’s statewide student competitions that lead to national competitions; and
  • Career awareness programs for the industry career cluster.

Proposed programs should reflect the purpose of this program with the majority of activities in support of training and testing in the respective industry cluster. Salaries should be held to a minimum, and personnel, their qualifications, and their responsibilities must be included in the application. While computers and software are eligible expenditures, estimates should be reasonable, and all supplies and materials must be clearly tied to the proposed program’s goals and objectives. Grants must be used in accordance with statutory and state requirements stated in section F., and grant funds must be used to support the activities stated in section G of the RFP, in Supporting Documents, below.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 160145

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

The SCDE will award at least one grant, exclusively for career and technology education, in at least four of the specified career clusters.

Estimated Size of Grant:


Term of Contract:

The grant funding period will be September 17, 2021, to June 30, 2022.

The grantee may obligate funds upon receipt of the grant award notice. However, no funds will be disbursed until after September 17, 2021.

For large programs with a statewide scope, funds may be carried over for up to three years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants are private-sector statewide trade associations or educational foundations that fall under IRS code 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) that provide nationally certified programs in career and technology education representing the automotive, construction, engineering, healthcare, mechanical contracting/construction, and hospitality and tourism career clusters.

Applicants may partner with trade organizations, corporations, or others to develop strong programs that provide direct support to students to further industry-specific career and technical education programs.

Expenditures should be reasonable, necessary, and adequately documented to achieve the grant program’s goals and objectives. Costs for office furniture, construction, entertainment, and alcohol are not allowed. Note that the unallowable expenditures listed are not all-inclusive; applicants should use prudent judgment to determine that expenditures are allowable and align with the proposed program’s scope of work.

Career Cluster Partnership grant funds must supplement, not supplant, existing services and may not supplant federal, state, local, or non-federal funds. Programs may not use grant funds to pay, in whole or in part, for existing levels of services funded from other sources.

The Career Cluster Partnership grant does not provide indirect costs or funds for administrative charges. Grant funds may not be used for office furniture or construction; travel or room and board for participants; college or university application fees; medical, recreation, parking, or other fees; entertainment or alcohol; and purchases that do not directly support the approved work plan.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Technical Assistance for Applicants:
The SCDE’s OCTE will offer a pre-application technical assistance webinar via Adobe Connect on July 8, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. EDT to assist eligible applicants in understanding this RFP and how to apply for this grant. No password is required to join the session. Participants will be able to log in 30 minutes prior to the start time to test their audio settings and download/print handouts. While participation is not mandatory in order to submit an application, it is highly recommended.

Pre-Application Information:

Deadline for Receipt of Applications: 4:00 p.m. EDT, July 30, 2021

- July 8, 2021: Pre-application technical assistance session
- July 16, 2021: Deadline for email of intent. A notice of intent is not required but will help the SCDE prepare for the application submission and review process.
- July 30, 2021 before 4:00 PM EDT: Deadline for receipt of applications
- September 2021: Notification of awards
- September 17, 2021: Funding period begins; programs can begin
- December 31, 2021: Semi-annual progress reports due to the SCDE
- June 30, 2022: Funding period ends; programs must end
- July 31, 2022: Final reports due to the SCDE

No hard copy applications will be accepted. Applications delivered by hand, postal mail, email, or fax will not be accepted.

Applicants must maintain an active DUNS number and a publicly-accessible registration in

Contact Information:

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

Proposals must be submitted using the online application form:

Letters of Intent are to be emailed to:
Maria Swygert

South Carolina Department of Education
Office of Career and Technology Education
1429 Senate Street, Suite 912
Columbia, SC 29201

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: South Carolina

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