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  • III. Operational Planning Elements

    The Unified or Combined State Plan must include an Operational Planning Elements section that supports the State’s strategy and the system-wide vision described in Section II(c) above.  Unless otherwise noted, all Operational Planning Elements apply to Combined State Plan partner programs included in the plan as well as to core programs.  This section must include—

    • b. State Operating Systems and Policies

      The Unified or Combined State Plan must include a description of the State operating systems and policies that will support the implementation of the State strategy described in section II Strategic Elements.  This includes—

III. b. 5. B. i. Describe how the eligible agency will award multi-year grants or contracts on a competitive basis to eligible providers in the State, including how eligible agencies will establish that eligible providers are organizations of demonstrated effectiveness

Current Narrative:

The Alabama Community College System (ACCS), Adult Education Division will implement a new competitive application process for all federal AEFLA funding to determine the eligible providers that will be awarded funds starting July 1, 2021. This process will apply to applications for all funds (231, 225, and 243). The review of the applications will include rating responses to the 13 considerations in Title II of WIOA.
The following is a proposed timeline for the 2021 competition: 
⦁    February 12, 2021: ACCS Adult Education (ACCS/AE) Division will release a three-year federal AEFLA Request for Funding Proposals (RFP) aligned with the priorities in the approved State Combined Plan.
⦁    February–March 2021: ACCS/AE Division will provide Request for Funding Proposal Bidders Conference Webinar.  (recorded and on the website through April)
⦁    February–March 2021: ACCS/AE Division will recruit candidates to review and score AEFLA grant applications.
⦁    April 2, 2018: Due date for AEFLA grant applications.
⦁    April 2–May 4, 2021: Review of RFP application by Local Workforce Development Boards and the Review Committee.
⦁    May 4—May 18, 2021: ACCS/AE Division conducts a review and makes the final determination of approved applicants and funding awards.  
⦁    May 18, 2021: ACCS/AE Division will notify successful applicants
⦁    July 1, 2021: AEFLA grant providers begin grant cycle, programming, and funding. 

The Alabama Community College System (ACCS), Adult Education Division will allocate adult education funds to all competitively selected, eligible providers servicing the 67 counties of the state. The funds will be distributed by county through a needs-based funding formula. If a county is served by multiple competitively selected, eligible providers, the funds will be distributed based on the adjusted share of need within the provider’s proposed service area. The funding formula will use the population in need for each county, based on the most recent U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 5–year estimate. The population in need in a county is defined as 18 and older without a high school diploma or high school equivalency. The award period for the AEFLA funds will be for a three-year period. An award letter stating the funding amount based on need will be sent to each eligible provider selected through the competitive bid process. Each area of the state will be provided adequate coverage by ensuring direct services in each county. Providers will be required to collaborate with partners from the Career Centers and other social services, education, and employment-related supports in the area.

To determine organizations of demonstrated effectiveness, prospective providers will be required to provide data demonstrating their ability to improve skills of low-literate adults in the applicable academic areas related to the Request for Funding Proposal (RFP). Prior recipients will use data from the state data collection system, referred to as Alabama Adult Education System for Accountability and Performance (AAESAP), to show how they met state-assigned performance measures for all student levels, as well as for English language learners. New prospective providers will address within their proposal how they have been successful in providing educational and literacy services, including services to low-literacy level and English language learners. Each application will be required to demonstrate its record of improving the knowledge and skills needed to transition successfully to postsecondary education, skills training, or employment. Each application will be reviewed to determine whether it meets the standard of demonstrated effectiveness. 

The proposal application will collect basic information regarding the eligible provider, including, but not limited to, location, service area, demographics served, fiscal management procedures, and audit history. Additionally, each applicant will be required to submit a proposed budget, as well as programmatic information regarding statutory requirements. Questions are based on the thirteen (13) considerations for Adult Education and Family Literacy Act of section 231(e). The assessment of each grant application will involve an intense evaluation of the ability of the eligible provider to meet the literacy needs of the area and to comply with the expectations and statutes described within the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. At a minimum, the review process and scoring rubric will consider the following:

1. The ability of the eligible provider to meet the literacy needs and English language needs identified for the population in the area. Particular emphasis will be given to the provider’s ability to provide targeted service to individuals with barriers to employment—including low literacy skills and an English language barrier.
2. The eligible provider’s ability to provide service to individuals with a (physical or learning) disability.
3. The eligible provider’s demonstrated effectiveness in providing literacy instruction, including its ability to meet State–adjusted levels of performance and improve the literacy levels of eligible individuals.
4. The eligible provider’s alignment with the WIOA Local Plan.
5. The depth, intensity, and rigor of the programs and activities offered by the eligible provider. The proposed program must incorporate the basic tenets of reading instruction. Attention will be given to the extent to which the eligible provider incorporates stringent research in the grant proposal submission and the development of the literacy program itself.
6. The extent to which the eligible provider’s program is based on intense research and best practices.
7. The extent to which the eligible provider demonstrates the effective use of technology for instruction, to include distance education, toward students’ improved performance.
8. The eligible provider’s demonstrated integration of contextualized instruction, to blend literacy skills, and preparation for transition to post-secondary education or entry into the workplace. Particular attention will be given to activities that promote and lead to economic self–sufficiency, and the ability to exercise the full rights of citizenship.
9. The qualifications and expertise of the eligible provider’s instructors, counselors, and administrative staff. All instructors must hold (at minimum) a Bachelor’s degree. The eligible provider must also demonstrate its ability and intent to provide high-quality professional development to instructors and staff, toward the improvement of student performance.
10. The eligible provider’s collaboration with other available education, training, and social service resources in the community. Particularly, the eligible provider should have or establish significant partnerships with public schools, post-secondary institutions, industry/business partners, and workforce boards.
11. The flexibility of program scheduling offered by the eligible provider, including coordination (when available) with Federal, State, and local support services such as childcare, transportation, and mental health services.
12. The eligible provider’s information management system; the expectation will be that the eligible provider will use the state-administered designated Adult Education System for Accountability and Performance for all grant-related data collection and reporting.
13. The demonstrated need within the area occupied by the eligible provider for English language acquisition programs and civics education programs.