Request For Proposals

Workforce & Career Development Programs for Youth

Columbia University, through The Office of Government and Community Affairs, is requesting proposals from eligible not-for-profit organizations to support and maintain impact driven education and workforce development training programs for disconnected and at-risk youth in Northern Manhattan*. Disconnected and at-risk youth, as defined for this RFP, are 16-24 year olds who have not completed high school nor obtained a high school diploma or GED (TASC) equivalent degree. As of 2014, there were an estimated 5.5 million young people in the U.S. ages 16-24 who were not employed or in school (U.S. Department of Education).The special circumstances of these individuals may be those transitioning from welfare to work, with special needs, veterans, and/or formerly incarcerated. 

The organizations submitting proposals must demonstrate a track record of service and collaboration with the community residents, service providers and local employers in northern Manhattan Community Districts 9, 10 and 12.  For the purposes of this RFP Northern Manhattan is defined by the following zip codes: 10025, 10026, 10027, 10029, 10030, 10031, 10032, 10033, 10034, 10035, 10037, 10039, 10040, 10451, 10454, 10455 and 10474.

Grant Awards

For this pilot grant, Columbia anticipates up to a total amount of $75,000 shall be awarded to one or more eligible and qualified organizations.

Period of Performance

The performance period for selected grantees will be 12-24 months depending on the proposal submission. The period of performance will commence on the date of execution for the grant agreement. Grant renewals will be made at Columbia’s discretion and will depend upon a range of factors, including but not limited to, grantee performance and availability of funds.

Scope of Services

Columbia University seeks to invest in effective and innovative workforce development programs run by eligible and qualified nonprofit organizations. The proposal submissions should clearly define how the grant award will support the applicant organization’s ability to increase the workforce preparedness, career awareness, education and/or skills attainment, workforce participation and job retention of at-risk and disconnected youth in northern Manhattan. The proposed programs and initiatives should include outcomes such as competency based curriculum, assessment strategies, recommendations for instructional aides and materials, delivery strategies and include implementation training for service providers.

To achieve these goals, Columbia seeks proposals that incorporate any/or all of the following programmatic characteristics:

  1. School to Career – Proposed initiatives should help young people make the connection between education and a successful career. Youth must be encouraged to remain in secondary school and graduate, or, if they left school before completion, to obtain a high school equivalency diploma (TASC). All youth should be encouraged to pursue post-secondary education and/or training. Proposed programs should reflect employer input in the design and vocational training content of their programs and should enlist employers to expose youth to their businesses and related career opportunities. By thus involving the employers, programs will create an iterative learning environment in which academic and employment skills are interwoven.
  2. Employment Opportunities and Partnerships – Programs should identify and engage employment sectors that offer strong opportunities for young adults, namely, high-growth sectors with a variety of entry-level positions and the potential for career progression. Based on research and labor market analysis, target sectors could include the health, retail and customer service, construction, and hospitality and tourism; although it also recognizes that other employment niches in local communities may offer similarly strong opportunities. In addition, Columbia encourages the creation of partnerships among training providers, schools, and businesses to address the workforce needs of employers and deliver the desired outcomes for this population.
  3. Youth Development – Initiatives that reflect a strong point of service methodology and recognized youth development principles that emphasize the cognitive, social, and behavioral competencies that help youth succeed as adults. Effective programs adopt an asset-based approach, in which services are personalized and focus on developing individual strengths and interests. In keeping with these principles, programs must also promote positive relationships among adult staff and youth participants and provide the support and follow-up services needed to address the range of individual challenges participants confront.
  4. Comprehensive Services – The most successful programs include the full range of supportive services in-house and/or facilitate seamless access to other appropriately qualified providers.

Eligibility Criteria

All applying organizations must:

  • Be nonprofits with a valid tax exemption status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and be classified as a public charity and not as a "private foundation" under Section 509(a).   
  • Have a demonstrated local presence in and/or provide services in any or all of the designated northern Manhattan zip codes (as defined in this RFP) of New York City.
  • Have a demonstrated capacity in delivering quality youth development and/or workforce training programs, including the ability to track program impact.
  • If submitting a collaborative program proposal, identify a lead applicant that will serve as the fiduciary agent and point of contact for the grant. Collaborative program proposals must submit a Memorandum Understanding (MOU) signed by all nonprofit organizations connected to the proposals.
  • Possess the ability to perform the requested services.  Consideration shall be given to such matters as the organization’s record of past performance, evidence of expertise and integrity.
  • Columbia reserves the right to request additional information and make further inquiries  as deemed necessary to determine the ability of the organization to provide the required services.

    Proposal Content and Format

    Proposal submissions must be formatted in adherence to these requirements:

    • 12-point font
    • Normal margins (top 1”; bottom 1”; left 1”; right 1”)
    • Double-spaced
    • Numbered – bottom of page
    • Single- sided on 8.5x11” paper
    • NOTE: The uploaded proposal submissions must be submitted as one PDF document. 

    Proposals submitted in response to this RFP must include all of the information noted below and be submitted in this order:

    Must include the following information:

    • Full name of applicant organization and, if appropriate, co-applicants
    • How long the organization has been in existence
    • Address of lead applicant
    • Total Amount requested
    • Name and title of designated lead point of contact 

    Description of the lead applicant’s organizational history and experience in developing and providing workforce development programs and services. Please include: 

    • Number of residents recruited
    • Number of residents trained in your workforce readiness curriculum
    • Number of residents placed into employment
    • Description of the organization’s current services to disconnected youth, as defined by this proposal (include length of time and history working with this population)
    • Description of the organization’s current services, particularly with respect to workforce development, to the residents of Northern Manhattan (include zip codes, direct services provided and outcomes)
    • Organizational chart and brief biographical information on key personnel

    This narrative of your proposal defines the project scope of this submission and includes the following:

    • Project goal and objectives
    • Types of services to be provided 
    • Proposed period of performance and projected outcomes, including direct service impact and elements such as: competency based curriculum, assessment strategies, recommendations for instructional aides and materials, delivery strategies and implementation training for service providers
    • Targeted communities and/or neighborhoods for the proposed project
    • Process for tracking data of participant level and progress
    • Description of how the program will be implemented, including requirements and process for enrollment
    • Partner accountability - community partnerships including the role of each partner
    • Organizational chart for the proposed services and program – include lead applicant, all core partners, and key staff to support the services funded through this grant.  This includes all relevant leadership, program, administrative, and advisory positions within each entity and/or organization.
    • Staffing plan – list all key staff supporting this project, include: name(s), title(s), and a description of role/responsibilities

    This section must include a detailed line item budget (please see the attached PROJECT BUDGET FORM) and a budget narrative (no more than 2 pages) that includes:

    • A complete description of costs associated with each line item in sufficient detail to justify the total cost.
    • A budget that is justified and reasonable given the scope of work.
    • If the organization currently provides workforce development training, a description of how the organization intends to use Columbia funding toward programmatic depth and growth.
    • Any additional leveraged funds towards this proposed program; include the source and a short description of how funds will be utilized as a part of this grant.

    Please include the following materials with your proposal submission:

    • 501(c)(3) Tax exempt letter from the IRS and Federal Tax identification number
    • Total organizational budget
    • Total youth services budget(ONLY if you are a multiservice organization)
    • Total workforce services budget (ONLY if you are a multiservice organization)
    • Most recent audited financial statements or review report from a certified public accountant
    • If applicable, partner letters of support and/or MOUs
    • List of institutional funders of the organization
    • List of board of directors
    • Budget Attachment

    Selection Criteria

    Proposals will be reviewed and evaluated with strong consideration of the following:

    • A program narrative that provides a clear description of the proposed use of the grant award along with a compelling summary for the need and potential impact. 
    • The level of impact and benefits to at-risk and disconnected youth residing in Northern Manhattan. Applicant organization would be able to track and record the name, address, direct services provided and outcomes for residents. 
    • A detailed and justified budget and budget summary 
    • Programs and initiatives that ensure strong links between education, training and the job market
    • A clear indication of program staff in place to effectively manage the point of service with youth participants.
    • The use of comprehensive support services and prioritizing case management
    • The adept use of the best practices in youth development approaches
    • How the program will offer opportunities to learn about and experience a diverse spectrum of jobs
    • The provisions in place to support after job or education placement
    • The potential to form cohorts of peers working towards similar goals

    How To Apply

    Please combine all documents into one compiled PDF and submit via this form - note, a Google account is required for submission but it does not have to be affiliated with your organization.

    The Office of Government and Community Affairs
    Attn:  RFP
    309 Low Library
    535 West 116th Street
    New York, New York 10027

    Key Dates

    • Release date of RFP - Thursday, September 14, 2017
    • Deadline for proposal submissions: Thursday, November 16, 2017 by 5:00 p.m. (Any changes or clarifications to a proposal submission must be in written form and received by this date)
    • Notification of grant awards - On or about Friday, January 19, 2018
    • Estimated project start date - Monday, February 12, 2018