15 CFR § 292.2 - Training development and deployment projects.

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§ 292.2 Training development and deployment projects.

(a) Eligibility criteria. In general, eligible applicants for these projects include all for-profit and nonprofit organizations including universities, community colleges, state governments, state technology programs and independent nonprofit organizations. However, specific limitations on eligibility may be specified in solicitations. Organizations may submit multiple proposals under this category in each solicitation for unique projects.

(b) Project objective. The purpose of these projects is to support the development and deployment of training programs which will aid manufacturing extension organizations in providing services to smaller manufacturers. While primarily directed toward the field agents/engineers of the extension organizations, the training may also be of direct use by the smaller manufacturers themselves. Specific industry sectors to be addressed and sub-categories of training may be specified in solicitations. Examples of training topic areas include, but are not limited to, manufacturing assessment functions, business systems management, quality assurance assistance, and financial management activities. Examples of training program deployment include, but are not limited to, organization and conduct of training courses, development and conduct of train-the-trainer courses, preparations and delivery of distance learning activities, and preparation of self-learning and technical-guideline materials. Projects must be completed within the scope of the effort proposed and should not require on-going federal support.

(c) Award period. Projects initiated under this category may be carried out over a period of up to three years. If an application is selected for funding, DOC has no obligation to provide any additional future funding in connection with that award. Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the total discretion of DOC.

(d) Matching requirements. Matching fund requirements for these proposals will be specified in solicitations including the breakdown of cash and in-kind requirements. For those projects not requiring matching funds, the presence of match will be considered in the evaluation under the Financial Plan criteria.

(e) Training development and deployment projects evaluation criteria. Proposals will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the following criteria listed in descending order of importance:

(1) Demonstration that the proposed project will meet the training needs of technical assistance providers and manufacturers in the target population. The target population must be clearly defined and the proposal must demonstrate that it understands the population's training needs within the proposed project area. The proposal should show that the efforts being proposed meet the needs identified. Factors that may be considered include: A clear definition of the target population, size and demographic distribution; demonstrated understanding of the target population's training needs; and appropriateness of the size of the target population and the anticipated impact for the proposed expenditure.

(2) Development/deployment methodology and use of appropriate technology and information sources. The proposal must describe the technical plan for the development or deployment of the training, including the project activities to be used in the training development/deployment and the sources of technology and/or information which will be used to create or deploy the training activity. Sources may include those internal to the proposer or from other organizations. Factors that may be considered include: Adequacy of the proposed technical plan; strength of core competency in the proposed area of activity; and demonstrated access to relevant technical or information sources external to the organization.

(3) Delivery and implementation mechanisms. The proposal must set forth clearly defined, effective mechanisms for delivery and/or implementation of proposed services to the target population. The proposal also must demonstrate that training activities will be integrated into and will be of service to the NIST Manufacturing Extension Centers. Factors that may be considered include: Ease of access to the training activity especially for MEP extension centers; methodology for disseminating or promoting involvement in the training especially within the MEP system; and demonstrated interest in the training activity especially by MEP extension centers.

(4) Coordination with other relevant organizations. Wherever possible the project should be coordinated with and leverage other organizations which are developing or have expertise with similar training. If no such organizations exist, the proposal should show that this is the case. Applicants will need to describe how they will coordinate to allow for increased economies of scale and to avoid duplication. Factors that may be considered include: Demonstrated understanding of existing organizations and resources relevant to the proposed project; adequate linkages and partnerships with existing organizations and clear definition of those organizations' roles in the proposed activities; and that the proposed activity does not duplicate existing services or resources.

(5) Program evaluation. The applicant should specify plans for evaluation of the effectiveness of the proposed training activity and for ensuring continuous improvement of the training. Factors that may be considered include: Thoroughness of evaluation plans, including internal evaluation for management control, external evaluation for assessing outcomes of the activity, and “customer satisfaction” measures of performance.

(6) Management and organizational experience and plans. Applicants should specify plans for proper organization, staffing, and management of the implementation process. Factors that may be considered include: Appropriateness and authority of the governing or managing organization to conduct the proposed activities; qualifications of the project team and its leadership to conduct the proposed activity; soundness of any staffing plans, including recruitment, selection, training, and continuing professional development; and appropriateness of the organizational approach for carrying out the proposed activity.

(7) Financial plan. Applicants should show the relevance and cost effectiveness of the financial plan for meeting the objectives of the project; the firmness and level of the applicant's total financial support for the project; and a plan to maintain the program after the cooperative agreement has expired. Factors that may be considered include: Reasonableness of the budget, both in income and expenses; strength of commitment and amount of the proposer's cost share, if any; effectiveness of management plans for control of budget; appropriateness of matching contributions; and plan for maintaining the program after the cooperative agreement has expired.