Many Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) proposals are not funded the first year they are submitted. A few evaluation points may make the difference between a funded and unfunded proposal. When a proposal is not funded, the following issues should be considered. These considerations may help determine if an expanded proposal should be resubmitted in the next round of funding.
If the answer to these questions is yes, then it is time to begin preparing for the next Request for Proposals (RFP). By the time new awards are announced, the new funding cycle is only months away. Often proposals are rejected the first time, then funded after expanding and improving the program plan.
If an organization is resubmitting, do not assume the same or similar application will be accepted. Some EPA grant reviewers keep old proposals for reference. Partnerships, supporters, and assessments must be current. The depth of the program often needs to be expanded with more detail given to requested information. It takes several months to assemble, coordinate, and institute expanded and perhaps new working partnerships and support teams.
RESUBMITTING IN THE NEXT EWDJT COMPETITION
First and most important, contact the EPA regional coordinator in the region of the location of the job training program to request a debriefing session and see the reviewer notes. During the session, the regional coordinator will identify weakness in the proposal. Seek suggestions for proposal improvement. Often, not answering or not providing a sufficient response to a single request for information may have resulted in an unfunded proposal. Regional coordinators may also be able to provide additional suggestions in terms of partners and resources to consider when expanding the scope of the proposal.
ADDITIONAL HINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN RE-SUBMITTING A PROPOSAL
Over the years, EWDJT grantees have expressed the value of peer-to-peer mentoring and sharing ideas with other programs. Take advantage of consulting with existing grantees. Improving an existing EWDJT program or developing a new proposal can be facilitated by observing some of EPA’s successful grantees. The best way to accomplish this is to participate in HMTRI’s Annual Environmental Job Development All-Grantee Meeting. As a PLC member, organizations can attend this invitation-only meeting allowing them to network with current and past grantees including EPA headquarters and regional staff.
Additionally, the ICMA and EPA sponsors the National Brownfields Training Conference that provides an excellent chance to connect with peers, employers, and potential partners. Statewide Brownfields conferences provide similar opportunities on a smaller scale.
Outstanding EPA EWDJT proposals cannot be written by a single grant writer in a month without preparation networking, team building, community outreach, and assessment. The best hint to writing a fundable proposal is team building and pre-proposal preparation as early as possible.