Office of Vocational Rehabilitation; Innovation and Expansion Grant to Provide Job Creation Assistance on Behalf of Persons with Significant Disabilities in Berks, Bradford, Columbia, Luzerne, Lackawanna, Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming Counties
[32 Pa.B. 2378]
The Department of Labor and Industry, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in 1992, announces that competing applications to establish, expand or improve community rehabilitation programs serving persons with the most significant disabilities will be accepted. This competition is authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.
Funding for this competition is under the auspice of the State Board of Vocational Rehabilitation and the OVR, which will serve as administrator and fiscal agent for the grant awarded under this competition. Applications will be written to accomplish the following area of emphasis:
* To increase employment and career opportunities for persons with significant disabilities in mainstream industry jobs in Berks, Bradford, Columbia, Luzerne, Lackawanna, Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming Counties.
* To stimulate development, retention and growth of commerce and industry in Berks, Bradford, Columbia, Luzerne, Lackawanna, Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming Counties.
This competition will result in one award and funding for a 4-year period, beginning September 30, 2002. Activities allowable under this grant competition include disbursement and management of project moneys, through the OVR grantee, to qualified local businesses for purchase of equipment. The equipment must create jobs for and be operated by persons with significant disabilities.
The successful applicant will enter a contract with the OVR to serve as the Commonwealth's agent administering a job creation project budget of no more than $200,000 during the first year of the award. Job creation project budgets will vary during subsequent contract years during the life of the award.
Eligible applicants are recognized Economic Development Groups (EDG), defined as any group, corporation or consortium which exists for the purpose of providing economic development funding, including capital equipment purchases, in the region for which the EDG has been designed.
For purposes of this competition, an eligible applicant may also be a nonprofit or governmental organization experienced in successfully collaborating with business and industry located in Berks, Bradford, Columbia, Luzerne, Lackawanna, Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming Counties. The collaboration must have been in regard to development of employment, employment opportunities, placement of hard-to-place populations, workforce development or comparable areas of endeavor.
An applicant must have operated in these capacities for a minimum of 3 years for its application to be considered for this competition.
An applicant must demonstrate an understanding of the economy, market characteristics and market potential in the service area that encompasses Berks, Bradford, Columbia, Luzerne, Lackawanna, Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming Counties.
For purposes of this competition, Job Creation Assistance on Behalf of Persons with Significant Disabilities, services focus upon activities that result in increased competitive employment of OVR-eligible persons with significant disabilities.
The grantee funded under this competition must comply with the following:
* Individuals placed in employment through this program must be eligible OVR customers.
* Job creation services must be implemented with the close coordination of the Wilkes-Barre or Reading OVR District Office, as appropriate, functioning in a leadership capacity. Proposals submitted for consideration under this grant competition must reflect this ongoing joint effort.
* The District Administrator in the Wilkes-Barre or Reading OVR District Office or that person's designee must personally be involved in all decisions regarding provision of equipment to applicant businesses in the respective counties. The corresponding District Administrator must cosign all disbursements made by the grantee to qualifying businesses.
Applications received by 5 p.m. on June 19, 2002, which are complete and conform to established specifications, will be accepted for review. Applications submitted after this date and time will be ineligible for consideration.
Applications will be evaluated by a panel of reviewers convened for that purpose.
The effective dates for the contract will be September 30, 2002, through September 29, 2003. Final awards made through this competition are subject to the approval of the Executive Director of the OVR.
A complete application package, which includes more detailed information, is available by contacting Jacqueline B. Lucas, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Contracts and Grants Management Section, 1521 North Sixth Street, Harrisburg, PA 17102-2913, (717) 787-7016, TDD: (717) 783-8917, fax: (717) 705-9345.
A preproposal conference to deal specifically with technical questions regarding applications will be held for applicants on Friday, May 17, 2002, at 10:30 a.m. at the Wilkes-Barre OVR District Office, 665 Carey Avenue, Suite 1, Wilkes-Barre, PA. Copies of the application package will also be available at this conference.
Persons planning to attend the conference who have special needs that should be considered to participate fully in the conference should contact Jacqueline B. Lucas at (717) 787-7016 no later than 1 week in advance of the conference date.
JOHNNY J. BUTLER,
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 02-859. Filed for public inspection May 10, 2002, 9:00 a.m.]
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