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Career Exploration and Mentoring Program for Blind and Visually Impaired Students

Grant to a Maryland Nonprofit or Program for Employment
Readiness Services for Visually Impaired or Blind Students

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE)

Deadline Date:

06/25/18 3:00 PM Receipt


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Grant to a Maryland nonprofit organization or education program to provide employment training services to students who are visually impaired or blind. The purpose of this program is to offer resources to promote workplace-readiness for students who are transitioning to employment or post-secondary education.

Required Components:

To provide funding to qualified entities for the provision of statewide mentoring services through Pre-Employment Training Services for up to 15 students who are blind or visually impaired, to assist those students transitioning to employment and/or post-secondary education and to increase their work readiness.

The applicant shall provide Pre Employment Transitioning Services Students must be determined eligible for DORS VR services or meet qualification requirements for Pre-ETS as follows:

1. Be at least 14 years of age but no more than 21 years of age (has not reached 22nd birthday);

2. Have a documented disability. Disability may be documented by submission of qualifying medical documentation signed by a medical provider, a copy of the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), or Section 504 Plan; and

3. Be currently enrolled as a student in a secondary or post-secondary education program.

Services shall include, but are necessarily limited to:

A. Instruction in Self-Advocacy: Training to develop self-knowledge may include but not limited to:

1) Learning about rights and responsibilities;
2) Understanding one’s own disability, identifying independence goals, and self-awareness;
3) Learning how to request and utilize accommodations, services or supports;
4) Participating in youth leadership activities offered in educational or community settings; and
5) Decision making, problem solving, setting goals, and listening skills.

B. Workplace Readiness Training: Training to develop social skills and independent living skills necessary for employment may include, but is not limited to:

1) Learning communication and interpersonal skills;
2) Financial literacy, including benefits planning services;
3) Orientation and mobility skills to access workplace readiness training or to learn to travel independently, travel planning;
4) Job-seeking skills;
5) Understanding employer expectations for punctuality and performance, as well as other “soft” skills necessary for employment; and
6) On-site workplace readiness training such as business tours and informational interviews.

C. Job Exploration Counseling: Skills and training to help with career related issues and may include, but not limited to:

1) Review of information regarding in-demand industry sectors and occupations, as well as nontraditional employment;
2) Administration of vocational interest inventories and provision of local labor market information that applies to the student’s particular interests; and
3) Identification of career pathways of interest to the students.

D. Counseling on Opportunities for Enrollment in Comprehensive Transition or Post-Secondary Education Program: Skills and training may include, but not limited to:

1) Exploring the types of academic and occupational training needed to succeed in the workplace;
2) Postsecondary opportunities associated with career fields or pathways;
3) Self-advocacy skills for the purpose of identifying accommodations and services in an educational program as well as providing resources that may be used to support individual student success in education and training (i.e., disability support services);
4) Advising students and parents or representatives on academic curricula and course offerings;
5) Providing information about college application and admissions processes; and
6) Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

E. Work-Based Learning Experiences: Work-Based Learning Experiences may include opportunities that are available in school, after school, or outside the traditional school setting; however, services must be provided in an integrated setting in the community to the maximum extent possible. DORS and community partners should seek every opportunity to provide work-based learning experiences in integrated settings before providing these services in non-integrated settings. Services may include, but not limited to:

1) Coordinating a program of job training and informational interviews to research employers;
2) Work-site tours to learn about necessary job skills;
3) Job shadowing;
4) Mentoring opportunities; and
5) On-site work-based experiences, paid or unpaid (i.e., Internships, volunteering, practicums, or service learning opportunities).

F. Description of what will be provided within the proposed services that includes at a minimum:

1) When the program will be offered (evenings, weekends, after school, or in school). A minimum of one in-person contact is required monthly; other contact may be by phone or web-based;
2) Where the program will be offered;
3) The length of service – number of days, weeks, hours per session, per day;
4) A curriculum outline for the days or sessions the program will be offered describing the information or activities to be provided each session; and
5) The referral process for a student interested in participating in the program.

Examples of other services include:
a. Reader and sighted guide;
b. Referral to DORS;
c. Referral to other agencies;
d. Peer or facilitated support group;
e. Community integration; and
f. Other individual services.


Priority will be given to projects that show a productive history of providing work-based learning experiences in integrated settings.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 183495

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Estimated Number of Grants: 1

Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $100,000

Term of Contract:

The grant period is July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019 with an optional one-year renewal, based on full compliance and continued appropriations.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicant Requirements:

1. Established nonprofit or education program or organization with extensive experience and expertise in the provision of Pre-ETS services to the blind and visually impaired. A list of agencies for which similar work has been done shall be provided.

2. Demonstrate that the organization has the personnel, resources and the time to conduct proposed services and projects.

3. Certify that it and its principals are not presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from covered transactions by a federal department or agency; as per Executive Orders 12549 and 12689, Debarment and Suspension, and implemented at 2 CFR 200.213, and 2 CFR Part 180.

4. Enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that delineates roles and responsibilities, particularly receipt of payments for services. Payment will be made on a cost reimbursement basis and will be delivered on a cost per student basis, per quarter, per year. (Sample MOU attached).

5. If proposer is an out-of-state entity, a certificate of authority to do business in Maryland must be

6. Certify that all employees, agents, volunteers, and contractors, who have contact with students receiving Pre-ETS through this grant are fingerprinted and have a background check in compliance with Family Law Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, Section 5-550 through 5-557.

7. Certify that no employees, agents, volunteers, and/or contractors, who have contact with students receiving Pre-ETS through this grant are a registered sex offender, defined in Criminal Procedure Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, Section 11-701, who are prohibited from entering school property or property where formal or informal child care is provided under the Criminal Procedure Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, Section 11-722.

Pre-Application Information:

The deadline to apply is Monday, June 25, 2018 by 3:00 PM.

Last delivery will be accepted at the security desk, main entrance of 2301 Argonne Drive, Baltimore Maryland 21218 no later than 3:00 PM. If mailed, the package must be postmarked no later than June 25, 2018. The emailed copy of the proposal MUST be received no later than 3:00 PM.

NOTE: Both a hard copy and an electronic copy are required.

Notification of awards will be sent via email on June 29, 2018.

Contact Information:

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

Submit one hard copy of the proposal to:

Division of Rehabilitation Services
Attention: Elmuttasim A. Fadl, M.ED., CRC
2301 Argonne Drive
Baltimore, Maryland 21218

Submit one electronic copy to:

Elmuttasim Fadl

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Maryland