Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Support Program 2023
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S. EMBASSY TBILISI
Notice of Funding Opportunity
Program Office: Public Diplomacy Section, U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia
Funding Opportunity Title: Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Support Program 2023
Funding Opportunity Number: DOS-GEO-23-GR-013-07032023
Deadline for Applications: August 10, 2023; 18:00
CFDA Number: 19.900
Total Amount Available: $210,000
The Public Diplomacy Section (PDS) of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi is pleased to announce an open competition for the Georgian TVET Institutions to submit applications to the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Support Program 2023. Interested applicants should submit proposals to TbilisiGrants@state.gov by August 10, 2023, 18:00.
- PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
Georgia’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) reforms are aimed at supporting socio-economic development, poverty reduction, and developing human capital to meet the needs of the labor market. Thus far, reform has primarily focused on identifying labor force needs and reducing the mismatch between supply and demand, to reduce overall unemployment and increase the employment rates of TVET graduates. Self-employment (mainly underemployment in subsistence agriculture) and high urban unemployment remain major economic challenges.
Gender balance is a significant challenge to the development of an inclusive TVET system and a barrier to women’s labor force participation. Community or family beliefs undermine the potential role of women in contributing to sustainable and productive livelihoods. Gender stereotypes about the kinds of work women and men ‘should’ do limit students from pursuing satisfying careers in non-traditional areas. Negative gender norms and beliefs hold back girls and women from applying for traditionally male-dominated trades in lieu of female-dominated trades, which may not necessarily lead to profitable work. We face the same problem with female dominated fields where negative gender norms are affecting boys and men’s decisions to follow some specific career paths. In general, gender-specific differences are most pronounced in the education, health and welfare disciplines, which are clearly dominated by women. In contrast, men dominate in engineering, manufacturing, construction and services (Geostat, 2018).
Culturally, a negative stigma affiliated with TVET harkening back to the Soviet Union, has become a significant barrier for the much-needed program. TVET is not considered a desired or first-rate career path. There is a prevailing belief that TVET qualifies graduates for low status, manual, and poorly paid jobs. Employers do not trust vocational qualifications.
Vocational counselling and career planning services are an essential element in the country’s education and training system. Although some reforms have been started towards this direction, still counselling and guidance remain at a basic level, mainly due to insufficient staffing. As a result, students in primary and secondary education, young people and parents making important life decisions do not always have enough information on the available educational and occupational choices and they often have to make uninformed decisions.
Weak career guidance is followed by weak support for job search and job intermediation, especially for young people as they enter the labor market for the first time. The analysis shows that young people (and especially young women) face obstacles transitioning to the labor market. This includes inflation of qualifications, lack of trust of vocational qualifications, preference for higher levels of education, work experience requirements, and the mismatch of skills between supply and demand. In spite of the high level of unemployment, employers find it difficult to locate the personnel they require.
The objectives of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Support Program 2023 are the following:
- Developing systematic vocational counselling and career guidance from school to higher education level for all learners, jobseekers, and alumni, for better informed career decisions and higher access to labor market.
- Mainstreaming gender in TVET – integrating gender perspective in all policy planning, implementation, and evaluation activities at all levels.
- Increasing the participation of female students in formerly male-dominated TVET programs and promoting formerly nontraditional TVET programs to both, female and male students to overcome discriminatory cultural norms and community practices so that women and men benefit equally from the same opportunities.
- Strengthening the capacity of TVET providers to overcome gender disparity in student recruitment and retention.
The Public Diplomacy Section (PDS) of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi will accept projects proposed and managed by Georgian TVET institutions that support the above listed objectives.
FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION
Length of performance period: up to 2 years
Number of awards anticipated: 2-3 awards
Expected size of individual awards: Up to $100,000
Total available funding: $210,000
Anticipated project start date: October 1, 2023
Funding Instrument Type: Grant.
Eligibility is limited to Georgian public and private authorized TVET institutions.
Cost Sharing or Matching
This program does not require cost sharing, however in-kind financial contributions will be favorably considered.
Other Eligibility Requirements
In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a valid registration on www.SAM.gov. Please see Section D.3 for information on how to obtain these registrations.
Applicants are only allowed to submit one proposal per organization. If more than one proposal is submitted from an organization, all proposals from that institution will be considered ineligible for funding.
APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION
Address to Request Application Package
Application forms required below and its’ instructions are available at the U.S. Embassy website under Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Support Program 2023 announcement.
- Content and Form of Application Submission
Please follow all instructions below carefully. Proposals that do not meet the requirements of this announcement or fail to comply with the stated requirements will be ineligible.
- The proposal clearly addresses the goals and objectives of this funding opportunity
- All documents are in English
- All budgets are in U.S. dollars
- All pages are numbered
- Large graphic files are discouraged
- ZIP and RAR files are discouraged
- Emails exceeding 6MB send in two (or more) separate emails.
- The format of any attachments must be in Microsoft Word, Excel or PDF
- All Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.
Required Content of Application Package:
- SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance –organizations)
- SF424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
- SF424B (Assurances for Non-Construction programs)
- TVET Application Form of Proposal
- 1-page resumes of key personnel
- Partnership letter/s (if applicable)
- Co-funding letter/s (if applicable)
- Official permission letters, if required for program activities
- Copy of registration on sam.gov
Partnership letters must identify the type of relationship to be entered into (formal or informal), the roles and responsibilities of each partner in relation to the proposed project activities, and the expected result of the partnership.
Please follow the guidelines in ‘TVET SF424 Instructions’ in Georgian and English uploaded on the website.
Proposal Summary: Short narrative that outlines the proposed project, including project objectives and anticipated impact.
Introduction to the Organization A description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the program, including information on all previous grants from the U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. government agencies.
Project Team Information: Along with the name and contact information, describe the role each team member will have in the project and their experience, qualifications, and ability to carry out that role. Indicate what proportion of their time will be used in support of the project.
Problem Statement: Clear, concise and well-supported statement of the problem to be addressed and why the proposed project is needed.
Project Goals and Objectives: The “goals” describe what the project is intended to achieve. How will the project impact the community and what changes (in people, institutions, attitudes, or practices) will you see? The “objectives” refer to the intermediate accomplishments on the way to the goals. These should be achievable and measurable.
Local Project Partners: List partners who will support your project. Please note if you have an existing relationship with your partner organization(s) or individual(s) and describe their role in the project. If you do not have an existing relationship, explain how you anticipate establishing a partnership with the organization(s).
Program Activities: Describe the program activities and how they will help achieve the objectives.
Project Methods, Design, and Timeline: A description of how the project is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal. This should include description of your direct and indirect beneficiaries. The proposed timeline for the project activities. Include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events.
Project Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: This is an important part of successful grants. Throughout the time-frame of the grant, how will the activities be monitored to ensure they are happening in a timely manner, and how will the program be evaluated to make sure it is meeting the goals of the grant? Proposals should include a plan to monitor the project’s success that includes outcome indicators, targets, and a baseline; a mid-point check-in (as appropriate); and an evaluation at the end of the program. Successful monitoring depends heavily on setting clear goals and outcomes at the outset of a program. Applicants’ project descriptions should include a clear description of the project’s objectives that are within the capacity of the grantee to achieve, the anticipated project outcomes, and how and when they intend to measure these outcomes (performance indicators). The more that outcomes are “SMART” (specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and time-bound), the easier it will be to conduct the evaluation. Overall, the quality of an applicant’s monitoring plan should be judged on how well it 1) specifies intended outcomes; 2) gives clear descriptions of how each outcome will be measured; 3) identifies when particular outcomes will be measured; and 4) provides a clear description of the data collection strategies for each outcome (i.e., surveys, interviews, or focus groups). Applicants’ monitoring plans should clearly distinguish between program outputs and outcomes. Outputs are products and services delivered, often stated as an amount. The output information is important to show the scope or size of project activities, but it cannot substitute for information about progress towards outcomes or the results achieved. Examples of outputs include the number of people trained or the number of seminars conducted. Outcomes, in contrast, represent specific results a project is intended to achieve and is usually measured as an extent of change.
Sustainability: Explain how you plan to continue the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.
Communication Plan: Explain how you will promote your project. Include social media, websites, print news, or other forms of media you intend to use to share information about your project to beneficiaries and the public. Communications should include TVET 2023 and U.S. Embassy branding. These include training materials, materials for recipients or materials to communicate or promote with foreign audiences a program, event, project, or some other activity under an agreement.
Budget Justification Narrative: Applicants must submit a detailed budget and budget narrative justification utilizing the template provided. Line item expenditures should be listed in the greatest possible detail. Budgets shall be submitted in U.S. dollars and final grant agreements will be conducted in U.S. dollars.
All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain these registrations. All are free of charge:
- www.SAM.gov registration which will generate a UEI
Any applicant with an exclusion in the System for Award Management (SAM) is not eligible to apply for an assistance award in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR, 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR, 1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension.”
The Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) is one of the data elements mandated by Public Law 109-282, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), for all Federal awards. SAM.gov is the Federal government’s primary database for complying with FFATA reporting requirements. OMB designated SAM.gov as the central repository to facilitate applicant and recipient use of a single public website that consolidates data on all federal financial assistance. Under the law, it is mandatory to register in SAM.gov.
Starting April 2023, the UEI will be assigned when an organization registers or renews it’s registration in SAM.gov at www.SAM.gov. To access SAM.gov an organization is required to have a Login.gov account. Organization can create an account at https://login.gov/. As a reminder, organizations need to renew its sam.gov registration annually.
It is in the organization’s best interest to check if their CAGE/or NCAGE codes are active. Organizations are required to register/or renew their CAGE or NCAGE codes prior to registering or renewing www.sam.gov . Both registration and renewals for both CAGE and NCAGE can take up to 10 days. Organization’s legal address in NCAGE/CAGE must mirror www. sam.gov.
www.sam.gov requires all entities to renew their registration once a year in order to maintain an active registration status in SAM.gov. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure it has an active registration in SAM.gov.
If an organization plans to issue a sub-contract or sub-award, those sub-awardees must also have a unique entity identifier (UEI number). Those entities can register for a UEI only at SAM.gov.
Note: As of April 2023, a DUNS number is no longer required.
Submission Dates and Times
All applications must be submitted on or before August 10, 2023, 18:00. Applications submitted after 18:00 will be ineligible for consideration. Begin the application process early, as this will allow time to address any technical difficulties that may arise in advance of the deadline. There will be no exceptions to this application deadline.
Application package must be sent to the Public Diplomacy Section, U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, at E-mail: TbilisiGrants@state.gov
Please, note the funding opportunity title – TVET program 2023 – in the Subject line of the e-mail.
APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION
Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below.
Project goals and implementation plan stated in proposal (60 points): Applicant well describes what they propose to do and how they will carry all activities out. The proposed activities directly relates to meeting the goals and objectives of the program. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline. The review panel will be viewing proposed activities in terms how well they address the problem statement, relevance of the goals and objectives, feasibility of the proposed activities and the extent to which the impact of the project will continue beyond the conclusion of the funding period.
Organizational Capacity (25 points): Proposal demonstrates the ability to develop and implement the program. Applicant demonstrates how their resources, capabilities and experience will enable them to achieve the stated goals and objectives. The organization has expertise in its stated field and has the internal controls in place to manage federal funds. This includes a financial management system and a bank account. The review panel will consider the types and depth of relationships that the applicant has with local (U.S.) organizations. The panel will also review the letters to determine the willingness of local (U.S.) organizations to participate in the effort, and that all parties have an understanding of their unique roles and responsibilities in terms of the proposed project.
Budget Outline (15 points): The budget justification is detailed. Costs are reasonable, allowable and allocable to the proposed activities and anticipated results. The budget is realistic, accounting for all necessary expenses to achieve proposed activities.
FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
Federal Award Notices
The grant award or cooperative agreement will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document and it will be provided to the recipient for review and signature by email. The recipient may only start incurring program expenses beginning on the start date shown on the grant award document signed by the Grants Officer.
If a proposal is selected for funding, the Department of State has no obligation to provide any additional future funding. Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the discretion of the Department of State.
Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government, nor does it commit the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals. Further, the U.S. government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.
Administrative and National Policy Requirements
Terms and Conditions: Before submitting an application, applicants should review all the terms and conditions and required certifications which will apply to this award, to ensure that they will be able to comply. These include:
2 CFR 200, 2 CFR 600, Certifications and Assurances, and the Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions, all of which are available at: https://www.state.gov/m/a/ope/index.htm
Note the U.S Flag branding and marking requirements in the Standard Terms and Conditions.
Reporting Requirements: Recipients will be required to submit financial reports and program reports. The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted.
Payments will be made in several installments. An initial segment will be authorized to initiate the project. The applicant must provide interim reports about the use of the transferred segment of funds before the following segment is released.
FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS
On program requirements of this solicitation, please contact Public Diplomacy Section, U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, at E-mail: TbilisiGrants@state.gov
Please, note the funding opportunity title – TVET program 2023 – in the Subject line of the e-mail.
Guidelines for Budget Justification
Personnel and Fringe Benefits: Describe the wages, salaries, and benefits of temporary or permanent staff who will be working directly for the applicant on the program, and the percentage of their time that will be spent on the program.
Travel: Estimate the costs of travel and per diem for this program, for program staff, consultants or speakers, and participants/beneficiaries. If the program involves international travel, include a brief statement of justification for that travel.
Equipment: Describe any machinery, furniture, or other personal property that is required for the program, which has a useful life of more than one year (or a life longer than the duration of the program), and costs at least $5,000 per unit.
Supplies: List and describe all the items and materials, including any computer devices, that are needed for the program. If an item costs more than $5,000 per unit, then put it in the budget under Equipment.
Contractual: Describe goods and services that the applicant plans to acquire through a contract with a vendor. Also describe any sub-awards to non-profit partners that will help carry out the program activities.
Other Direct Costs: Describe other costs directly associated with the program, which do not fit in the other categories. For example, shipping costs for materials and equipment or applicable taxes. All “Other” or “Miscellaneous” expenses must be itemized and explained.
“Cost Sharing” refers to contributions from the organization or other entities other than the U.S. Embassy. It also includes in-kind contributions such as volunteers’ time and donated venues.
Allowable and Unallowable Budget Items:
- Grants may not provide for infrastructure needs that are not sustainable once grant funds are depleted.
- Salaries, overhead, equipment, and other administrative expenses are allowable only as they relate to specific project activities and are in accordance with grant guidelines. Salary or honoraria should be listed according to rate of pay and percentage of time spent on program-related activities. Administrative cost (staff salaries, office space, and operational expenses) must not exceed 30% of total requested amount.
- Funds may not be used to pay for travel to the United States or for travel grants. Projects involving regional travel will be considered on a case-by-case basis and must have a clear justification outlining why the travel is integral to the project.
- Funds may not be used to provide direct social services to populations, such as health care, childcare, food subsidies, etc.
- Funds may not be used for alcohol, entertainment, “contingency” or “miscellaneous” costs.
- Funds may only be used for food expenses under special circumstances. When these costs cannot be supported by cost share, they should be clearly justified and limited to a maximum of 10% of the total award amount.