Can’t find an answer you need? Email us at [email protected].

What is expected of employer partners?

We invite New York colleges and/or non-profit community-based organizations to submit proposals with specific, identified employer partner(s), where employer partners demonstrate a commitment in writing to:

  • Define the skills that are necessary for employment in their organization.
  • Assist the college or non-profit organization in identifying, designing, or implementing curriculum that teaches those skills
  • Define objective measures of competency in achieving those skills such as tests or certifications
  • Project the number of individuals who the employer is willing to hire for full time employment in the next 12 and 24 months, assuming individuals demonstrate the defined level of competency.

The employer is not committing to a blind hire, guaranteeing employment to anyone who applies or completes a specific training or education program. What is required is that the employer commit to hiring Youth who have demonstrated the skills which the employer itself states is required for a specific job.

We will support partnerships that lead to measurable job outcomes focused on full-time employment that provide economic stability. In these partnerships, New York State and New York City colleges and/or non-profit organizations, in partnership with employers, will share ownership, responsibility, and accountability for the success of students

Can you add additional employer(s) in year 2?

Yes. However, the proposal will be reviewed based on the current employer commitments.

Could you have a partnership that includes an employer, non-profit, and a college?

Yes. Be sure to clarify the different roles and responsibilities of the partners in the proposal narrative.

Will this grant opportunity be offered again?

At this time, it is not the intent of the foundation to offer this particular challenge again or continue funding for grantees beyond the length of the grant. 

What is the indirect cost rate?

The indirect cost rate is 10%.

How do you propose potential government employers navigate the need to have “fair and open” hiring processes when a position is posted? 

The employer is not committing to a blind hire, guaranteeing employment to anyone who applies or completes a specific training or education program. What is required is that the employer commit to hiring Youth who have demonstrated the skills which the employer itself states is required for a specific job. Thus, Youth applicants would still be required to apply for the position and participate in the hiring process.  

What if the employer is reluctant to identify a specific number of hires given changing labor market conditions?

The less qualifications in an employer commitment letter, the stronger the application. For additional clarification, please view the question on what is expected of employer partners.

Can the grant be used to support educational expenses of a program so it may be offered free to participants?

No. One of the goals of this RFP is to fund programs that are sustainable and ideally scalable beyond the life of the grant.  While employers are not required to financially support the program, a strong application will provide for an employer partner to subsidize those expenses as opposed to utilizing grant funds to do so. 

What are the different ways funds may be spent?

Budgets may include direct and indirect costs including, but not limited to, expenses related to salaries, wages, benefits, or personnel; subcontracts and related partnerships; travel/convenings; evaluations/research; technology/software; supplies and equipment; training and professional development; as well as capital projects or construction. Indirect expenses may not exceed 10% of the requested funds. Funds do not need to be evenly distributed across the two-year grant period.

Please note, Heckscher will not consider funding for adding staff positions unless there is a clear and specific undertaking on the part of the college/organization to pay for that staff position beyond the life of the grant. Further it is not the intent of the RFP that funds be used to off-set operating costs in order to cover tuition or scholarships to students or create positions to hire youth within the applicant organization

Funds may also not be used for direct support of students through scholarships or aid, or to pay for internships, etc. One of the areas of focus for the RFP is to ensure that employers are more directly involved in supporting students. As such, employer partners are encouraged to cover any direct support to participants as opposed to utilizing grant funds to do so. 

Does the employer partnership or educational training program need to exist currently?

No. It does not need to currently exist. This challenge may be used to leverage new relationships with employers or create new training programs.

May this challenge be used to advance existing partnerships and training programs?

Yes. This challenge may be used to leverage existing and/or new employer partnerships or training opportunities.

What counts as full-time employment?

Full-time employment is determined based upon industry standards and employer specifications. Please include any relevant information related to how full-time is defined in the proposal response. Full-time employment is expected to occur in the time frame of the two-year grant period.

Who can apply?

The grant recipients for this challenge are colleges with a physical presence in New York State and/or non-profit community-based organizations. While educational institutions are required to be physically-based in New York State, community-based organizations may be based elsewhere while serving New York youth.

More than one application is allowed from a college. Further, systems, consortiums, or multiple colleges may come together to apply for the challenge. One institution would need to be designated as the lead institution and point of contact for all grant related communications.

The Heckscher Foundation will dedicate a minimum of $3 million to this initiative, to be awarded in grants of up to $400,000 per project payable over two years. The two-year grant period runs from June 2023 to June 2025.

May partnerships involve more than one employer partner?

There is not a limit to the number of employer partners which may be part of the proposal.

Do the jobs offered by an employer partner need to be in New York?

Yes, full-time jobs from the employer partner need to be in the state of New York.

Are employers required to financially support the program?

No, employer partnerships may choose to include financial contributions but it is not required in the partnership. What is required is a clear commitment to full-time employment upon demonstration of required skills and/or credentials.

Are internships or apprenticeship programs allowed?

The focus of this RFP is upon employer partnerships where employers commit to full-time employment based on objective criteria. So, if an internship or apprenticeship is part of the step(s) to full-time employment, whether one gets hired after an internship or apprenticeship must be based on something objective such as a certification or skills test, not subjective notions such as whether the intern / apprentice is a “good fit.”

Are there any specific industry areas of interest?

No, there are not any predefined industry areas of interest. Industries should be determined based on partnership opportunity, employment needs, and commitment to full-time employment for youth who attain the required knowledge and skills for a job.

May an educational provider utilize skills training that currently exists such as Google, Microsoft IT/tech training modules?

Yes. You may use existing training models as curriculum that culminates in full-time employment with employer partners.

Are there examples of successful partnerships?

If you are unsure whether your employer partnership is a good fit for this RFP, we encourage you to contact the Heckscher Foundation Challenge team and schedule a 1:1 meeting to discuss your ideas and partnership opportunities.

Could a college or CBO submit more than one application for different employer partnerships from different programs?

Yes, if it makes sense under the circumstances. For example, a healthcare department is proposing to partner with a healthcare employer and a tech or mechanical engineering department proposes to partner with a mechanical engineering employer – both might be considered for separate $400,000 grants and both are encouraged to apply.

Can an employer letter make job commitments which are dependent on the economy or its own business needs in future?

We will consider the strength of employer stated job commitments as part of the review process. The fewer the contingencies the stronger the application.

Do the jobs offered by an employer partner need to be within the 2 year grant period?

The expectation is that jobs will be offered to Youth within the two year grant period.  However, we will also consider whether the application will lead to longer term job pathways as well.

Are any of the funds for this challenge pass through funds from state or federal sources?

 No. All funds for this challenge are from the Heckscher Foundation for Children, a private foundation based in NYC. You can learn more about Heckscher here.

Is there a minimum number of students required to be served in a program?

No. There is not a minimum number of students required for a partnership; however, the more students you propose to serve, the stronger the application.

How do you define “Youth”?

Youth are defined as individuals under the age of 25, including those who are either (a) presently enrolled in high school or college; (b) recent college graduates; (c) dropped out of college; (d) never went to college; (e) never finished high school; and/or (f) have some sort of high school or college certificate. In other words, all individuals under 25.

What if our proposal includes serving both Youth and adults?

The Heckscher Foundation for Children is a Youth funder. If your proposal includes both Youth and adults, our funding must be used for Youth.

How do I complete an application and can I save progress?

You can download the full application in PDF form here. Please note, once you begin the submission process, you will be unable to save progress unless you are using a Google account. Proposals are to be submitted via the submission form. Please review the application and have all materials and responses prepared in advance of beginning the submission form as once begun, you will be unable to save progress.

May this grant be used for planning employer partnerships?

No. This challenge does not support planning grants.

What should my budget and budget narrative include?

If you’re having trouble creating a budget or have questions, email us at [email protected]. We have created this optional template if you would like to use it, but it is not required.

What are the criteria Heckscher will consider when evaluating the proposals?  

Heckscher will review the entire application, looking at all of the answers provided to the questions posed. Each applicant should be sure to state these answers clearly, which help Heckscher understand:

  • The feasibility of the program and the plan to accomplish the goals – i.e. the quality and appropriateness of activities and strategies proposed in the program.
  • The feasibility and specificity of short and long term outcomes presented in the logic model section of the proposal.
  • The quality of the proposed partnership between the institution or organization and the employer partner as detailed in the employer letter including the number of individuals the employer(s) is willing to hire for full time employment.
  • Number of and demographic profile of the Youth being served by the proposal.
  • The expected wage increases that your program anticipates for program participants.
  • The nature and extent of financial commitments made by the employer partner(s), if any.
  • The plans/investments by the institutions/organizations to sustain the program beyond the two-year grant.
What support will Heckscher provide to applicants in the proposal phase?

The Heckscher team will provide two information and ideation sessions for institutions, as well as office hours to answer questions. We will keep this FAQ document updated regularly with additional information as we hear questions. In addition, Heckscher team members are available by email to answer questions. To sign up, visit our webinars page.

Below are the dates for scheduled proposal support activities:

January 25, 2023 – Webinar #1

Week of February 6, 2023 – Heckscher Office Hours

March 7, 2023 – Webinar #2

Week of March 27, 2023 – Heckscher Office Hours

Why has Heckscher been specific about defining employer partnerships in the RFP?

As stated in here, Heckscher seeks proposals of innovative partnerships between employers, colleges and/or community-based organizations (CBOs) that meet specific regional workforce needs and boost employment and earnings outcomes for students. There are numerous worthwhile programs in which employer partners make offers to interview students, to provide summer and other internships and to provide general guidance on employment, but which do not ultimately include commitments to hire qualified candidates for full time employment. There are also many quality colleges and community-based organizations which offer career training and guidance but do not have employer partnerships. That said, there is significant diversity in how individuals, institutions, and employer partners innovate to address their local needs. You know your institution and local context and needs best. We encourage creativity in how partnerships are conceived by those closest to the Youth who will be served by employers and college/CBO partnership grantees.

Does Heckscher have a preference between the grant funding being classified as a gift or a grant?

No.  Heckscher does not have a preference as to whether the grants are classified as gifts or grants by those institutions awarded funding. Institutions can make the decision about how to classify based upon their own policies, practices, and/or preferences.

What are the reporting requirements for grantees?

Grantees will be expected to meet (virtually) with their Heckscher staff approximately five to six times over the course of the grant to share project progress, successes, challenges, and learnings. In addition to learning together, these meetings provide an opportunity for grantees to ask for technical, research, and/or other support from Heckscher that might help advance partnership efforts. Grantees will be asked to provide a year-one and final report with accompanying financial information.  The Foundation reserves the right to decline to continue funding any grantee based on criteria outlined in the grant agreement.

Who can applicant institutions choose as employer partners?

Heckscher believes that alignment around approach, strategy, and success outcomes is the foundation for successful employer partnerships. We encourage you to engage with employer partners that are most equipped to help your institution or CBO to successfully and positively affect outcomes for more youth. You may also need or want to engage with additional partners within your institution or CBO, industry, community, government, or higher education ecosystem. As stated in the RFP, you will need to include commitment letters from any employer partners you identify in your proposal.

Are we able to give out subgrants to community partners, or other institutions, etc.?

Yes, Heckscher allows for subgrants if the college or CBO determines the need to bring in other partners to ensure partnership success. Please note these partnerships in your proposal and outline any subgrants and their purpose clearly in the accompanying budget and budget narrative documents.

What is the timeline for distributing funds?

Partnership grants are two-year grants to be delivered in two payout periods. Heckscher plans to distribute the first funds to grantees in approximately July 2023 pending signed grant agreements. Grant agreements and other relevant documents MUST be signed for funds to be distributed.

Funds for year 2 of the grant cycle will be distributed in July 2024. The amount of each distribution will be driven by each grantee’s final budget.

When does the grant period end and when do the funds need to be used by?

Interim and Final reports will be due June 2024 and June 2025 respectively. Grant spending is expected to be complete by this time.

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