[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 232 (Friday, December 4, 2009)]
[Pages 63790-63792]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-29008]



National Institute of Corrections

Solicitation for a Cooperative Agreement: Employment Retention

AGENCY: National Institute of Corrections, Department of Justice.

ACTION: Solicitation for a Cooperative Agreement.


SUMMARY: The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) is soliciting 
proposals from organizations, groups, or individuals who would like to 
enter into an eighteen-month cooperative agreement to develop a 
competency-based curriculum to train Employment Retention Specialists, 
as well as develop an assessment instrument to address both the 
strengths and risks of offenders in danger of job loss.

DATES: Applications must be received by 4 p.m. EDT on Monday, December 
28, 2009.

ADDRESSES: Mailed applications must be sent to: Morris L. Thigpen, 
Director, National Institute of Corrections, 320 First Street, NW., 
Room 5007, Washington, DC 20534. Applicants are encouraged to use 
Federal Express, UPS, or similar service to ensure delivery by the due 
    Hand delivered applications should be brought to 500 First Street, 
NW., Washington, DC 20534. At the front desk, dial 7-3106, extension 0 
for pickup.
    Faxed applications will not be accepted. Electronic applications 
can be submitted via http://www.grants.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: A copy of this announcement can be 
downloaded from the NIC Web site at http://www.nicic.gov. Any technical 
questions may be directed to Pam Davison via e-mail at 
pdavison@bop.gov. All programmatic questions concerning this 
announcement should be directed to Patricia E. Taylor, Correctional 
Program Specialist, National Institute of Corrections. She can be 
reached by calling 1-800-995-6425, extension 39354 or by e-mail at 
    Overview: The National Institute of Corrections' (NIC) Transition 
and Offender Workforce Development Division (T/OWD Division) is seeking 
applications for the development of a competency-based, blended, e-
learning and classroom training curriculum that will provide Employment 
Retention Specialists with the knowledge and skills needed for the 
provision of employment retention services for those identified as 
having barriers to sustained employment.
    The curriculum to be used in training Employment Retention 
Specialists (Practitioners) will apply the cognitive-behavioral model 
of relapse prevention to job loss. Practitioners trained as Employment 
Retention Specialists will develop the competencies needed to assist 
offenders in analyzing the chain of events, behaviors and individual 
precursors that impact gainful employment and result in their 
separation from the workforce.
    Background: Research shows a lack of employment may contribute to 
an offender's continued criminal activity. Additional studies show that 
low levels

[[Page 63791]]

of personal, educational, vocational, and financial achievement, and in 
particular, an unstable employment record, are among the predictors of 
continued criminal conduct. Therefore, ways of overcoming barriers to 
long-term employment, as a factor in the desistance to crime, warrants 
the development of innovative approaches for offender employment 
service providers.
    New and effective ways of overcoming barriers to long-term 
employment may be found in the parallels between relapse prevention and 
offender employment retention. When the cognitive behavioral model of 
relapse prevention is applied to employment retention, the targeted 
behavior becomes maintained employment, and the initial lapse is the 
occurrence of signs. Practitioners having the competencies to assist 
offenders to become successful in maintaining a long-term connection to 
the workforce will be able to assess those at high risk for job loss, 
identify specific indicators and analyze the chain of events and 
behaviors that lead to job loss.
    Purpose: The purpose of this initiative is two-fold. First, the 
awardee will be required to develop a competency-based, train-the-
trainer curriculum for Offender Employment Retention Specialist that 
can be professionally endorsed and certified.
    The training, delivered by a blended approach, will be the third 
offender workforce development knowledge block for the Division 
(Offender Workforce Development Specialist and Offender Employment 
Specialist being the other two). Knowledge blocks are a collection of 
knowledge on a particular subject matter that can be combined with 
other collections or blocks of knowledge. The concept of knowledge 
blocks is influenced by principles of adult learning theory and 
practices utilized in post-secondary education.
    In addition, the awardee will be required to develop an Employment 
Services Inventory (ESI). This assessment tool will be used to identify 
precursors to job loss while creating a process to connect the targeted 
population to specialized services to successfully address their risk 
for job loss.
    Scope of Work: The training curriculum will be based on a recently 
established needs assessment identified through the use of a DACUM 
(Development of a Curriculum) for Employment Retention Specialists. 
This DACUM assisted in the identification of the critical duty bands 
and job tasks of Employment Retention Specialists working with 
    Trainees will be taught the essential skills for facilitating 
(train-the-trainer) the training to other professionals that assist 
offenders in the development and utilization of a plan to identify and 
avoid high-risk situations while teaching skills to satisfactorily cope 
with circumstances that typically indicate impending job loss and/or 
result in a separation from the workforce.
    The curriculum should be developed using the Instructional Theory 
Into Practice (ITIP) model and consist of approximately six (6) to 
eight (8) e-learning modules and, as necessary, classroom training. The 
awardee should have expertise in identifying the knowledge, skills and 
experience that lead to professional certification, as well as 
establish quality standards that would result in endorsement by a 
professional organization.
    The awardee will be required to develop a tool/instrument to 
monitor and evaluate the piloted curriculum--using the captured data to 
adjust and/or modify the curriculum as needed. In addition, pre/post 
evaluations and quizzes should be developed along with a follow-up 
questionnaire to measure the trainees' mastery of established 
    Modules may address the following: Motivational Interviewing; 
Supportive Case Management; Employability Skills; Employment Readiness 
Classes/Skills; Labor Market Information; Collaboration with External 
Agencies; Relationships with Employers; Cognitive Behavioral Theory, 
and Gender Responsivity.
    Required Expertise: Successful applicants will be able to 
demonstrate their knowledge/experience in the following areas: Offender 
Workforce Development; Employment Retention; Cognitive Behavioral 
Therapy; Behavioral Health Issues; Risk/Needs Assessment Tools; 
Criminogenic Needs; Strength-based Approaches; Relapse Prevention, and 
Professional Certification/Endorsement Procedures.
    Application Requirements: Applications should be concisely written, 
typed double spaced (not to exceed 20 pages) and reference the project 
by the ``NIC Opportunity Number'' and Title in this announcement. The 
package must include: a cover letter that identifies the audit agency 
responsible for the applicant's financial accounts as well as the audit 
period or fiscal year that the applicant operates under (e.g., July 1 
through June 30); a program narrative in response to the statement of 
work and a budget narrative explaining projected costs. The following 
forms must also be included: OMB Standard Form 424, Application for 
Federal Assistance; OMB Standard Form 424A, Budget information--Non-
Construction Programs; OMB Standard Form 424B, Assurances--Non-
Construction Programs (these forms are available at http://www.grants.gov) and DOJ/NIC Certification Regarding Lobbying; 
Debarment, Suspension and Other Responsibility Matters and the Drug-
Free Workplace Requirements (available at http://www.nicic.gov/Downloads/PDF/certif-frm.pdf.)
    Applications may be submitted in hard copy, or electronically via 
http://www.grants.gov. If submitted in hard copy, please include an 
original and three copies of the full proposal (program and budget 
narratives, application forms and assurances). The original should have 
the applicant's signature in blue ink.
    Authority: Public Law 93-415.
    Funds Available: NIC is seeking the applicant's best ideas 
regarding accomplishment of the scope of work and the related costs for 
achieving the goals of this solicitation. The final budget and award 
amount will be negotiated between NIC and the successful applicant. 
Funds may only be used for the activities that are linked to the 
desired outcome of the project.
    This project will be a collaborative venture with the NIC's 
Transition and Offender Workforce Development Division and Academy.
    Eligibility of Applicants: An eligible applicant is any public or 
private agency, educational institution, organization, individual or 
team with expertise in the described areas.
    Review Considerations: Applications received under this 
announcement will be subjected to a 3 to 5 person NIC Peer Review 
Process. The criteria for the evaluation of each application will be as 
Programmatic (60%)
    Is there demonstrated knowledge of--NIC's Offender Workforce 
Development training? offender employment barriers and offender risk/
needs assessment instruments? techniques and/or interventions that 
successfully address offender retention issues? curriculum development 
and certification/endorsement procedures? Are project goals/tasks 
adequately discussed? Is there a clear statement of how project goals 
will be accomplished, to include: Major tasks that will lead to 
achieving the goal; the strategies to be employed; required staffing 
and other required resources? Are there any innovative approaches, 
techniques, or design aspects proposed that will enhance the project?

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Organizational (20%)
    Do the skills, knowledge, and expertise of the organization and the 
proposed project staff demonstrate a high level of competency to carry 
out the tasks? Does the applicant/organization have the necessary 
experience and organizational capacity to carry out all goals of the 
project? Are the proposed project management and staffing plans 
realistic and sufficient to complete the project within the 12-month 
time frame?
Project Management/Administration (20%)
    Does the applicant identify reasonable objectives, milestones, and 
measures to track progress? If consultants and/or partnerships are 
proposed, is there a reasonable justification for their inclusion in 
the project and a clear structure to insure effective coordination? Is 
the proposed budget realistic and provide sufficient cost detail/
narrative, and represent good value relative to the anticipated 

    Note: NIC will NOT award a cooperative agreement to an applicant 
who does not have a Dun and Bradstreet Database Universal Number 
(DUNS) and is not registered in the Central Contractor Registry 

    A DUNS number can be received at no cost by calling the dedicated 
toll-free DUNS number request line at 1-800-333-0505 (if you are a sole 
proprietor, you would dial 1-866-705-5711 and select option 1).
    Registration in the CRR can be done online at the CCR Web site: 
http://www.ccr.gov. A CCR Handbook and worksheet can also be reviewed 
at the Web site.
    Number of Awards: One.
    NIC Opportunity Number: 10K121. This number should appear as a 
reference line in the cover letter, where indicated on Standard Form 
424, and outside of the envelope in which the application is sent.
    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 16.601.
    Executive Order 12372: This project is not subject to the 
provisions of Executive Order 12372.

Morris L. Thigpen,
Deputy Director, National Institute of Corrections.
[FR Doc. E9-29008 Filed 12-3-09; 8:45 am]