The Pennsylvania (PA) Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) is inviting applications for the 2nd round of Digital Literacy and Workforce Development Grant (DLWDG) to support effective programs that enhance foundational digital literacy skills for job seekers in their local community.
Foundational digital skills are necessary in carrying out job tasks and are becoming the main function of many jobs. Digital literacy skills promote problem-solving and critical thinking skills necessary to effectively navigate most platforms used in the job search process and in the workplace.
- L&I has put forth this Notice of Grant Availability (NGA) to address the emergent digital literacy deficit, while the partner agency, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), works to expand broadband access and equity in the commonwealth. Visit DCED’s Broadband Resources page to learn more about its efforts.
- L&I created this grant opportunity to prepare individuals for job searching and emerging employment opportunities and gaining access to employment with family sustaining wages, and to increase communities’ capacity for providing foundational digital literacy skills training.
- This funding will assist eligible entities, particularly in areas of poverty or low digital literacy skill, in improving their ability to provide their communities digital literacy classes emphasizing career development skills.
- Training will be focused on digital fundamentals, digital job seeking, digital citizenship, and digital information.
Successful programs will utilize grant funds to expand or create digital literacy training for individuals including job seekers. Programs must include the follow components:
- An initial three-month launch period where the selected organizations can engage in any of the following activities:
- Procurement of hardware, software, equipment and supplies
- Development of marketing and recruitment and assessment strategies
- Staff hiring and orientation (if applicable)
- Curriculum design
- Establishment of operational procedures
- One year of instructor-based learning for digital literacy programming where job seekers can gain practical job search and employability skills to help them succeed in the workforce. Classes should focus on one or more of the following topics (topics can be broken into smaller components based on project design):
- Digital Fundamentals: Digital literacy skills beginning with foundational technology skills, such as typing, computer basics, internet browsing, and use of business applications.
- Digital Job Seeking: Digital literacy skills that teach individuals how to successfully create and save résumés, apply for jobs, navigate job boards, and track online applications.
- Digital Citizenship: Digital literacy through the promotion of digital citizenship, the responsible use of technology and etiquette pertaining to an online presence. These courses should teach individuals how to safely and responsibly create an online presence for the purposes of professional networking and development and promote an understanding of the implications of digital footprints.
- Digital Navigation: Digital literacy through the development of discerning observational skills and the ability to effectively analyze incoming information. These courses should teach individuals to effectively and accurately seek and consider information sources, learn their origins and how the information is presented, biased vs unbiased reporting, how to weigh conflicting information and consider possible causes of it, and to become a more savvy and informed job applicant and citizen.
- One year of part time (15-20 hours/week) Computer Lab accessibility for job seekers to enhance digital literacy skills. Lab hours must be staffed.
Grant funds can be utilized for technology/equipment (software, hardware) purchases, supplies to be used in the program, staffing costs, or office or classroom furniture purchases. All other components of the digital literacy project must be leveraged by the grantee. The full cost of the program must be reflected in the budget. It is the expectation that the grantee will leverage existing funds to cover costs beyond the awarded grant amount that are necessary to run the proposed program in its entirety. Costs must be broken out by the amount requested and by the amount leveraged.
- Estimated Funding and Award Size: Approximately $1,530,000 is available. Grants will be awarded and funded competitively based on the availability of funds up to $45,000 per application.
- Proposed Grant Timeline and Award Period: DLWDG funding is anticipated to be used for grant-related activities between May 1, 2022 to July 31, 2023.
- Eligible applicants include local workforce development boards, public libraries, library systems and district library centers, non-profit agencies (community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, etc.) or small businesses.
- The applicant(s) must be capable of achieving the overall project goals of this NGA in a community in Pennsylvania and must demonstrate the ability to coordinate, manage, and implement the project design; manage the project budget; and implement a strategy to collect, analyze, and report performance outcomes.
- L&I is intentionally seeking to partner with organizations with strong community presence. The applicant will be required to submit quarterly reports to L&I describing the progress of the project. Please note: Awardees of Digital Literacy Round 1 funds are not eligible to apply for this grant.
- Small businesses must:
- be a Pennsylvania business.
- be independently owned.
- not be dominant in its field of operation.
- not employ more than 100 full-time equivalent employees.
- not exceed three-year average gross revenues of $38.5 million, regardless of business type
- If awarded, for-profit businesses may be required to upload the first page of the company’s three most recent federal tax returns which are required to verify annual gross revenues. You may redact your federal tax identification number, if desired. Acceptable file formats for tax upload include Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) and Joint Photographic Group (JPG). If a business has not existed for three years, the average gross sales are computed for the period of the business’ existence. For newly formed businesses, the determination is based upon projected gross sales.
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