Request for Proposals – Metro Southwest Career Center Operator

This page provides access to the RFP, all forms and attachments, and a questions and answers section, updated each Friday. Please review the Q & A section regularly.

Questions & Answers

Should these (non-existent) funds be addressed separately in the budget section.

The funds do exist. The budget form includes a column for itemizing the use of the start-up funds (up to $280,000).

Given that the $1.5 M is WIOA funds, are there restrictions on usage?

First, the funds must be used to support the business model presented in the RFP, including training.  Second, the training funds must be used at a vendor that has applied and been approved as an eligible training provider with the exception of on-the-job training. Third, I strongly suggest that you read Title I. Chapter 3—Adult and Dislocated Worker Employment and Training Activities in the act and regulations and Title III—Amendments to the Wagner Peyser Act.

The RFP reads “Of the $1.5M, up to 280K will be available to support the transition period: April 3 – June 30, 2017 1. Given the $1.5M is FY18 money, how are these funds to be available in April, 2017?

The $1.5 million is a combination of FY17 and 18 funds.

Are the job descriptions for the non-state staff considered attachments or part of the narrative under the Organizational Capacity section?

Part of the narrative.

The RFP asks -“Provide an organizational chart for career center staff and job descriptions for each position.” However org chart and JDs are not listed the required checklist of documents. Is the org chart and the JDs part of the 30 page limit?

The organizational chart is a required attachment and does not count against the 30 page limit. We are asking for brief job descriptions in the text.

In the RFP, under Organizational Capacity, it asks “provide an Organizational Chart for Career Center staff and job descriptions for each position. The job descriptions should include the qualifications necessary to do the job.” However, on the allowed attachments it does not list job descriptions. Is the RFP asking for full one page job descriptions/job descriptions, similar to what was provided for the DCS staff in the RFP, and if so, will those job descriptions count as attachments (not against the page count)? Or is the RFP asking for brief job descriptions/qualifications to be included as part of the narrative under Organizational capacity? Additionally, is the organizational chart counted in the pages or is it an attachment?

The organizational chart is a required attachment and does not count against the 30 page limit. We are asking for brief job descriptions in the text.

We are engaging many partners in our Career Center model. Are Letters of Support valuable to show support and functions in this phase of the RFP process? If so do they count as part of the 30-page proposal limit.

No

When is the deadline for submitting questions?

The deadline for submitting questions has been extended to Thursday, October 20.  Answers will be posted each Friday until October 21.  Submit questions to sbeville@pswinc.org

If there are multiple partners do memoranda of understanding or letters of support count towards the 30 page limit?

There may be two categories of partners. The first are organizations that will be subcontractors with specific roles and responsibilities. The lead organization will allocate funds and contract with them. A memorandum of understanding or other formal document addressing responsibilities for activities and outcomes would not count in the 30-page limit.

The second are organizations with referral relationships with the career center. They will not receive grant funds. A description of the partnerships should be included in the proposal narrative and, thus, will count towards the 30 pages. Do not submit letters of support.

What are the most predominant barriers to participation or entry into the workforce as shown by current service utilization data?

There is no predominant barrier to participation or entry into the workforce.  Each customer is different.

What types of professional development training does the current staff receive each year?

Training which enables them to do and be successful at their jobs.

What process do you use to track delivery and completion of certifications?

Staff follow up with the customers in their case management files. Certifications are recorded in MOSES.

What part of the service delivery model works well and you would like to see that approach continued?

The bidder must focus on the principles and business model in the RFP.

Does the current operator collect any customer satisfaction data? If yes, what areas represent the highest and lowest in terms of customer satisfaction?

The website has the four questions from WIA, (Services Met My Expectations; I am Satisfied with Services; Skills and Information will be Helpful in Job Search; I was Treated Courteously) Customers can respond to these if they wish.

What role can or will PSW play in encouraging partners to support the new model (e.g., participate in redesign and customer flow, receive training, shift to a data-driven process)?

With support from the Commonwealth, the PSW Executive Director is responsible for convening the partners and facilitating the discussion. The PSW Executive Director will play a strong support role with the career center operator.

How would you characterize the level of “tech savviness” of the current staff (low, medium, high)?

Staff have the skills necessary for them to do their jobs.  Some jobs require higher levels of savviness of all types than others.  Staff have and use the basic Microsoft Office Suite as needed for their jobs, as well as MOSES.

What type of approvals will be necessary to change job titles, job responsibilities and pay ranges for staff who support the new model?

The operator will define the jobs, responsibilities and pay ranges for staff on their payroll. Because Partner staff are union members, their titles, responsibilities and pay ranges are determined by the collective bargaining agreement. Their job descriptions have been updated in the past year and are attached to the RFP.

Of the existing staff positions associated with the career center budget, what obligations, if any exist to maintain employment for these staff positions?

We ask that the successful bidder interview Title I Adult and Dislocated Worker staff, but there is no obligation to hire. Partner staff, including Wagner-Peyser staff must be a member of the operator’s team.

The WIOA partners who were meeting identified the “qualities of the common customer”. What are these qualities?

While much work remains to be done, the common customer wants a job, is able to work (has arranged for child care and has transportation), possesses language skills appropriate for their targeted job market, and is capable of looking for work (has the digital literacy skills necessary to search for work and to produce documents like a resume).

Who are the WIOA partners who have met on a regular basis during the past fiscal year?

The career center director and operations managers (Employment Service and Unemployment Insurance), adult learning centers in Framingham, Hudson and Canton, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, Operation A.B.L.E (SCSEP), PSW Youth Director, and Department of Transitional Assistance.

What specific and/or additional services will WIOA enrolled customers receive as compared to other jobseekers?

The bidders should describe the services that individuals using career center services will receive, including WIOA enrolled customers. As noted above, only individuals enrolled in the Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs are eligible for training dollars from WIOA.

The webinar discussed that in the navigation center, the counselors will be financial aid experts who can assist individuals with finding sources of training money on their own and provide Title 1 training vouchers when appropriate. Are these career navigation personnel paid for out of the funding in this RFP? Are these career navigation personnel paid for or employed by another partner?

Although we are open to alternatives, the counselors would be paid from the grant.

The webinar discussed services for those with hearing and vision and other less obvious disabilities, or those with limited English speaking skills. What types of services exist for these populations? What level of capacity exists to provide these services? Does a partner provide these services or is funding from the RFP expected to pay for these services?

The current operator has tool for people with visual and hearing impairments. The centers are accessible to people with physical disabilities. Disability services at this time are provided primarily by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and by community organization like Employment Options in Marlborough. It is our vision that people with disabilities who are ready for job search are served by the center with services provided by the operator and paid through the grant and others needed more specialized services are served by the disability agencies. This will be worked out by the operator in collaboration with the WIOA partner organizations.

The webinar discussed that the region is overwhelmingly populated by an older, predominantly white, and highly educated workforce. What, if any information from the current center operations, exists about their levels of computer literacy or work competencies? What are the most predominant barriers to participation or entry into the workforce as shown by current service utilization data?

Nothing is captured in MOSES about levels of computer literacy/work competencies.

The webinar suggested that the operator should be able to answer labor market questions such as, “are there jobs they can’t fill because applicants are simply not qualified? What skills do they anticipate they will need in six months, or a year?” What processes currently exist to answer these questions? What have you found to be the most meaningful approach?

The process currently used to answer those questions is informal, dependent upon the individual interacting with a company, and has not led to the creation of a central data base of information about companies that can be analyzed. We are looking for the bidder to develop that function of the Employer Marketplace.

What specific legacy partners would you recommend including based on their current role or political capital?

Each bidder choosing the engage partners as a collaborator in the grant must select the partners.

The webinar explained that the operator must identify which industries and employers it wishes to partner with to develop these deep and cooperative relationships. How many employers currently are in the customer relations data base of the center operator?

There is no customer relations data base. The BSRs worked with approximately 400 companies this past year.

Will funding available from this RFP support these industry experts or will this task be accomplished by other partner staff?

“Industry experts” may be funded by WIOA Title I Adult and Dislocated Worker money and could be performed (as is currently the case) by Wagner-Peyser funded staff and could be performed by other partners’ staffs.

The webinar explained that the career center should be staffed by industry experts whose job it is to gain firsthand knowledge of local employers’ needs. What is the closest job position that currently exists to perform this function

Business Service Representative

Also, staffing agency models use performance incentives and require a sales-oriented team. What guidelines, if any, exist for the operator to use incentive-based compensation plans for employees?

Unfortunately, there are no guidelines at this time. The bidders should address incentives not tied to compensation. Incentives to encourage performance may be one area where PSW works closely with the successful bidder to create an incentive system that can be implemented in a collective bargaining environment.

The webinar suggested that the career center ideally will strive to be the staffing agency of choice for all regional employers. Is the vision to create a model that can generate revenue from matchmaking that may NOT involve WIOA customers?


The vision is that more WIOA individuals will find jobs using the talent agency approach to become specialists in niche markets and will reach out to recruit people for jobs that may have not registered with the career center in order to fill job orders. To be eligible for training dollars (ITA’s), individuals must be low-income adults or dislocated workers. Any individual is eligible to receive Wagner-Peyser employment services.

In the questions it is stated that PSW is encouraging partnerships. Stating “…it is questionable whether one organization will be able to do everything that we are asking in the model so we do encourage collaborations.” Will joint bids be given preference?

No they will not be given preference. The bidder(s) must present a persuasive case that all the tasks described in the RFP will be done and done well.

How will the operator manage the culture, staff training of the core partners in process implementations, customer flow, technology and data?

Each of the bidders is asked to submit a plan for meshing the cultures of all of the partners and the operator’s staff and for professional development and training to ensure that people have the knowledge and skills to do their jobs.

Put simply is the operator meant to use the $1.5M on new technology, the creation of the welcome center and high level staff which are meant to manage the partners from a regional perspective?

The $1.5 million should be used to pay for operations, including staff on the operator’s payroll, and for “enhancements”—new technology, creation of the welcome center and high level staff.

There have been a lot of questions around the $1.5M and whether the operator is meant to use the funding on 13 people from DCS “(projection of the staff) that you might well have?”

 The DCS staff will be paid with Wagner-Peyser money and will receive pay checks issued by DCS. Their salaries and benefits will not come from the $1.5 million.

Is the operator going to supervise the core partners and be responsible for their outcomes?

The operator will work with the employing partner agency to define the work that agency staff will do at the career center and will supervise staff when they are at the career center. The operator will not be responsible for evaluating performance, but may be consulted by the employing agency.

There is language in the RFP which states that the operator will organize and systematize the partnerships outlined in Attachment E. Is it simpler to say that the Operator will manage the part ships towards unified goals and plans which are guided by WIOA?

If by “manage the partnerships towards unified goals and plans which are guided by the WIOA” you include day-to-day operations and joint work as well as strategic planning, the answer is, “Yes.”

Would it be possible for us learn who is the incumbent company?

The current operator is Employment and Training Resources—a partnership of the Massachusetts Department of Career Services and the Norwood Employment and Training Administration.

The webinar explained that creating a career center which is truly jobs driven is a challenging task, as it requires a complete dismantling of the existing model, which caters to individuals. The selection of partners and industries will define to a great extent “customer choice”. What role does “customer choice” play in the new model?

Individuals can choose from among the options offered by the career center.  Training should prepare individuals for jobs at the targeted industry or in targeted occupations.  Individuals can also choose to apply to jobs developed by career center staff in the targeted industries. In addition, customers can choose to use services offered by the Career Navigation Unit or elect the “self-service” options in the Job Services Suite.

Can the prior year’s budget be released on this website? If not, how can we ego about obtaining it for some point of reference? Of the current career center budget, about what percent of the total amount supports: a) personnel and fringe; b) contractual services—what are they? ; c) technology licenses or technology platforms; d) other program costs—please explain the general use of these funds; e) administrative overhead: and f) profit.

The prior year’s budget included all sources of revenue, not just Title I Adult and Dislocated Worker, for an approximate total of $5.6M.  The expenses in the budget are not broken out in classes, e.g. personnel, premise, etc. for Title I Adult and Dislocated Worker. It is expected that there may be substantial variations in the budget that the applicant submits in response to this RFP, because the business model has dramatically changed.  Applicants should base their budgets upon their estimates of costs to implement the model.

Documents such as flow charts, etc. should this be submitted as part of the 30 pages or as an attachment?

The attachments and forms that are required for this submission do not count against the page limit.

In what format are proposals to be sent and to whom?

Please submit proposal in PDF form to cmccomiskey@pswinc.org

Is it possible to visit the current career center?

Yes, but we ask that you contact Angie Grant, 508-766-5711, agrant@etrcc.com, to schedule an appointment.

Is there a line item for technology in the $1.5M budget? If so, how much?

Technology is several types.  One is in the job services suite where you are using technology to provide people with job search skills and in perhaps in some cases, technical skills. Then there is the technology that necessary and desirable to actually run the program, customer management systems for example for employer services. The cost should be included in the appropriate line item—contracted services, technical IT support, software purchases and maintenance; or in”other” if it doesn’t fit neatly into these line items.

Regarding the performance measures and outcomes, it states that there needs to be a 90% and 95% retention after 1 year for FY19, FY20 and 21 respectively. Does the individual need to remain at the same job to achieve the outcome or can they be in multiple jobs over the course of the year?

They can be in multiple jobs.

Is it possible to share the organizations of the people on this webinar?

Yes, the participants in the first webinar are also listed on our website.

Mark Nickel nickel@xsector.com Cross Sector Consulting, LLP
Gwenn O’Keefe gokeefe@smoc.org SMOC
Robin Ahigian rahigia@wested.org WestEd
Shannon Teles steles@cwsne.org Community Work Services
William Devaney wdevaney@pcgus.com Public Consulting Group, Inc.
Susan Anderson andersonsa@middlesex.mass.edu Middlesex Community College
Louise Meyer lmeyer@etrcc.com ETA
Danielle Simone danielle@careerteam.com Career TEAM
Nancy  McIntyre nmcintyre@etrcc.com Metro SouthWest ETA
Jason Matthews careerteamjmatthews@gmail.com CAREER TEAM
Laura Brown lbrown@massbay.edu Massachusetts Bay Community College
Linda Rohrer lrohrer@yourcareersource.com Career Source
LeeAnn Johnson ljohnson@etrcc.com Metro SouthWest ETA, Inc.
Christopher Kuselias ckuselias1@gmail.com Career TEAM
Tim Serpe tserpe31@gmail.com Career TEAM

 

Is there anyone at PSW who will be available to work with prospective applicants during the proposal development period or do we only have the Q & A section to rely on. I noticed there was a change of staff since the RFP

First, there has been a change of staff. It is not affecting the process of procuring the career center operator.  No, we will not be able to work with prospective applicants.  Use the Q and A process to ask questions.

Are there other states in the country that are currently using this employer driven model and which are they?

I don’t have a comprehensive review. We have drawn heavily upon the work in Ohio.  That report is listed in the bibliography.  There is a push both nationally and at the state level to become employer driven.  There is currently a Massachusetts task force that is working on the employer model.

Is it possible to get past historical performance numbers?

We have changed the model substantially so to assume we want to replicate past performance is not really correct.  The performance data through the 4th quarter FY16 is: Employers served- 1062, which includes all activities with companies from a visit to filling a job order; Adults entered employment- 33, at an average wage of $19.60; Dislocated Workers entered employment- 123, at an average wage of $31.27.

Is there an incumbent for this work?

Yes, there is a current career center operator.

Do you imagine that this center will be a partnership among many organizations, i.e., with one organization taking the lead and additional subcontractors as partners?

We said in the RFP that it was questionable whether any one organization could meet all the requirements. We are encouraging collaboration. One organization does have to take the lead, but there can be additional subcontractors as partners.  They should sign on the role of each partner should be clearly stated.

Is profit allowable? And if so what is the cap on profit?

Any revenues above costs generated by any not-for-profit organization through use of these funds, including interest income or other program generated income, must be reported as program income and reported and utilized for continued operation of the center.

There is lot of language in the RFP around the need for innovation in the IT format. There is also an indication of a need for data bases until MOSES takes place in 2018. What opportunity do we have to integrate our own in house data solutions and tracking?

At the current time data must be entered into the state MOSES system. When it comes to managing employer services , you should purchase your own customer management system.  MOSES is an information system primarily designed to meet Federal reporting requirements.  The state is working on a common intake system.  It is unclear when that will go online.

Will these responses be posted?

Yes, on our website every Friday.

Is the following type of organization eligible to submit? A for-profit national workforce development and consulting organization that has worked with the Department of Labor, state and local workforce boards, private industry, courts, probation and parole, educational institutions and other entities

The answer to this question is that yes, this type of an organization is an eligible bidder.

Would it be possible to share a roster of those who attended this webinar?

Yes.  Attendees are:

Operation A.B.L.E. of Greater Boston, Inc. Mark Gyurina mgyurina@operationable.net
SBC Global Russ Burbank russ.burbank@sbcglobal.net
BerkshireWorks Kenneth Demers kdemers@berkshireworks.org
FutureWorks Career Center Kevin Lynn klynn@futureworksjobs.org
Organization Consulting Isidore Penn ipenn@organizationconsult.com
Rep. for General Mgr., Town of Norwood Louise Meyer lmeyer@etrcc.com
Operation A.B.L.E. of Greater Boston, Inc. Joan Cirillo jcirillo@operationable.net
 Metro South/West ETA LeeAnn  Johnson  ljohnson@etrcc.com
WestEd Ursula Bischoff ubischo@wested.org
United Labor Agency David Megenhardt david.megenhardt@ulagency.org
South Middlesex Opportunity Council Charles Gagnon cgagnon@smoc.org

Is the existing ETR data available to understand their current client demands, volume and socio-economic characteristics?

This is public information so if you could be explicit about what you would like, I believe we can make that information available.

What would be the function(s) of the staff from DCS?

In the end that will be negotiated with DCS but we have provided the job descriptions as an attachment in the proposal, and we will be looking to you to describe what functions would be assumed by DCS staff.

How many job seekers and businesses are to be served?

We have no number in mind.  We will be comparing the costs of the different proposals but quality is as important to us as cost effectiveness so we are looking to you, and you are asked to estimate the number of job seekers and businesses you will serve in the first year.

Can we talk $$. Other than the 1.5 M mentioned in the RFP, what other monies would be available to the operator?

The 1.5 million is the dollars that would go to the operator. In Massachusetts most sites have state staff, so the money to pay their salaries does not come to the career center operator, although a small portion comes to defray the operation costs of the career center.  Cash up to 1.5 million and you have people; 13 people from DCS (projection of the staff) that you might well have.  We will be evaluating proposals based on how well they meet the parameters described and which are affordable within the up to 1.5 million.  This is not one of those instances where we want to have unfunded mandates so we will be looking at proposals with an eye to being realistic.

When you say intake among partner agencies do you mean common forms or procedures?

The overall answer is yes. We have a long way to go to developing them but the metro southwest partners group has creating forms and procedures on its worklist for this fiscal year.  The state is required by law to have a common intake system.  I am not sure where they are but they are working on it.

How much fun is this going to be?

This is going to be a lot of fun if you enjoying creating things and making lives better for people.

What about obligations to low and moderate income that are not ready to work or unskilled?

There are two responses to this. One, that is why the relationships with the partners are so important. People who are in need of substantial assistance to even start looking for work would be served by one of the partner organizations. Second, I refer you to the slide which talked about the common core customer.  The way we are thinking about that, the people that are mostly likely to benefit from the kinds of services the career center offers are those that are better prepared to take advantage of the job services suite, come prepared to think about what they want to do when in the career services area of the center, etc.  So for the first time we really envision a continuum of services in the region where the people who need a lot of services will be referred by the career center to Mass Rehab, for example, or to Operation Able or to any of the other partner organizations, and the people who are ready and able, who can take immediate advantage of the career center services will be able to do so.

Can you elaborate on the online environment, content and IT format?

We are looking to the creativity and knowledge of the career center operator to help us develop the job services suite and IT format. We believe that we have questions in RFP which ask for an expansion of the concepts raised in our model that would be the first stage in the development of the suite the second stage of development would be working with the operator to build out the job services suite.

Is the city of Norwood the current career center operator?

The town of Norwood is the local elected official and administrator of funds.  The ETR is a collaboration of the department of career services and the Norwood Lead Elected Official and the employment and training administration, a quasi public organization.

How do we handle “public employees” and/or union matters within the existing ETR team?

The career center operator will have functional supervisory responsibility for the state employees that are assigned to the career center. They work out what that person is going to do within the business model. The career center operator will be handling communication with union organizations.

What happens to all the existing grants and contracts ETR currently has?

Excellent question yet to be decided by the Department of Career Services.  ETR currently has a couple of national emergency grants and some other small ones.  It is not clear whether those will be continued to be administered by ETR or transferred over to new operator if new operator is selected.

Can more than one organization apply jointly as a partnership model and as the operator within the RFP?

We’re encouraging partnerships.  Only one organization can take the lead.  While it is possible, it is questionable whether one organization will be able to do everything that we are asking in the model so we do encourage collaborations. There needs to be a person or organization who is designated the lead organization and who/which is responsible for the financial management and administration of the center.

Does the 1.5 Million include Youth money?

No, it does not but there is an expectation that young people will be welcome into the career center.  Here we run the youth program as a separate program with much more intensive services for kids.

When you say LMI research, what types of information/research are you looking for?

There is a large gap in information about companies, with too much reliance on bureau of labor statistics information. When you physically visit the companies you can learn more about the culture of the company, the skill requirements, the types of jobs, and you learn how they find workers.  It’s that type of on the ground information that we think will be very helpful in developing the a useful database and getting people jobs.  It is not BLS data, it is data that whoever the account manager is at the career center will be gathering on a routine basis. That procedure and format needs to be developed as we go forward.

How do you differentiate the role of the career center operator and PSW in relation to employers?

With respect to the operator, the operator will solicit business, take in job orders, screen candidates, and perform job search and placement activities. PSW will maintain its current activity with sector projects. We expect this to be a working relationship between the operator and PSW to be refined and expanded over time.

Can we get copies of the slides

Yes, slides and transcript of presentation will be posted on our website

What is the source of the $1.5 million?

The $1.5 million is the part of PSW’s revenue derived from the WIOA Title I Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs. In addition, the career center will be staffed by workforce personnel on the state payroll–MA Department of Career Services (13) and other WIOA partners to be determined.

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