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Workforce Inclusion & Successful Employment (WISE) Program

Salt Lake County is experiencing amazing prosperity, but we have unequal economic opportunity. A person born a certain race, gender, or in a certain zip code, regardless of ability, is likely to make half the income of other people in the County. WISE will help low-income and diverse communities launch into high-paying jobs.

WISE will provide grants to support individuals navigating workforce development programs. The goal is to:

  • Increase access to workforce development programs
  • Improve completion rates of these programs
  • Improve job placement in better jobs

 

The County is funding Trainers who provide workforce development programs and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) that support low-income and diverse communities.

Grantees are providing the following services:

  • Outreach to community members to show a path to a better career and create a plan for success.
  • Advising for academic/training programs at improved student-to-advisor ratios. This will provide academic support to help participants complete their education goals.
  • Resource Navigation to ensure people get the resources they need to thrive in training programs (i.e., housing assistance, childcare, transportation, ESL, technology assistance, etc.).
  • Career Coaching to prepare participants for job searches. This will help connect them to quality jobs before, during, or after training.
  • Mental Health Counseling to support participants with their mental and emotional well-being.

 

Trainers must provide all five of these services to WISE participants. CBOs can provide one or more of these services. Applicants must provide holistic support to WISE program participants. We anticipate supporting 1,500-2,000 students to complete programs and launch better careers. 

 

2022 Selected Partners:

Trainers:

  • Salt Lake Community College
  • University of Utah UHealth WISE

CBOs:

  • City of South Salt Lake
  • Journey of Hope
  • Utah Community Action
  • Women of the World

The County will issue an RFA for $2 million in additional contracts in July 2023. To learn more about the program please review the past RFA, application, and webinars linked below.

 

WISE RFA

Contact

Jayla Lundstrom, Economic Development Coordinator

Phone: 385-468-4873

Email: jlundstrom@slco.org

Documents

Links

RFA FAQ

1) How much funding is available?

There is $6 million available in contracts for this grant cycle. We anticipate awards will be between $100,000 and approximately $1,000,000. Through American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, the County has a total of $10 million available through 2026 for the WISE Program. The deployment of funds will be as follows:

  • Ten percent ($1 million) will be reserved for administrative expenses.
  • The County will award $6 million in contracts between July 2022-2023.
  • The County will issue a RFA for $2 million in additional contracts in July 2023.
  • The County will issue a RFA for $1 million + any remaining administrative expenses in additional contracts in July 2024.

Note: All contracts will be for the duration of the WISE Program (July 2022- December 2026).

2) Who is eligible to apply?

The County seeks applicants who can connect Opportunity Communities with better jobs. Partners must have operated for at least three years and must agree to meet the requirements of a Trainer or community-based organization (CBO), described in Section VI of the RFA.

If a partner has not operated for at least three years, it must explain how it is able to carry out the proposed activities for the full duration of the program.

3) Can I apply as both a Trainer and Community-based Organization (CBO)?

The County acknowledges that an organization could be both a Trainer and a CBO. The type of services that the Applicant proposes to provide should determine whether it applies as a Trainer or CBO.

Trainers must provide ALL WISE Services as described in Section IV, as well as a training Program.

CBOs may provide one or more services and do not have to provide a training program, so long as they connect participants with high-quality jobs. If you have more questions, contact us.

4) Do I have to only target opportunity communities?

This program will bring Opportunity Communities through workforce development programs and into better jobs. But, participants are eligible based on income. WISE participants' household income must not exceed 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines* for three months before participation.

*Federal Poverty Guidelines adjusts household income by number of dependents. See the RFA for definitions in Section III and eligibility in Section VI.

5) If we provide services outside of Salt Lake County, but we want to expand operations into Salt Lake County, are we eligible to apply?

Yes. But, WISE participants must live within Salt Lake County. Programs and WISE services must be in Salt Lake County or accessible to participants who live in Salt Lake County.

6) What if my organization does not track the required metrics?

The County requires all applicants to track metrics throughout the WISE program in order to determine WISE's success.We plan to establish baselines for all programs during Fall 2022 and launch all programs no later than January 2023.

While new programs established by CBOs will be exempt from baseline requirements, existing programs may receive more favorable consideration due to having an established Program Plan. See Evaluation Criteria in Section X of the RFA.

See RFA Section VII for specific metrics that will be tracked.

7) Does the County have preferences for how an organization meets the budget matching requirement?

The goal of matching requirements is to promote sustainability of WISE-related services or activities past the life of the grant program. We prefer some part of cash match. We know that in-kind matching is often more practical and will likely serve as a part of the match.

Our plan is to use impact evaluation during the program to show return-on-investment and justify long-term funding. The matching requirement limits the worst-case scenario of a complete funding cliff after 2026. We will look for a reasonable matching plan that demonstrates potential long-term commitment.

8) Does the program need to include all five focus areas (Outreach, Advising, Resource Navigation, Mental Health Services, and Career Coaching) or is it OK to have a smaller number of focuses?

For Trainers, your program must include all five WISE Services:

  1. Outreach
  2. Advising
  3. Resource Navigation
  4. Mental Health Services
  5. Career Coaching

For CBOs, you may provide one or more WISE Services. It is not necessary for CBOs to provide all five WISE Services; however, CBOs must showcase how their proposed service(s) will help individuals access better careers.

Please see Section V. in the RFA for more information.

9) When looking at the student-to-advisor ratios, can the advisor serve multiple functions?

We are open to staff serving multiple roles. We recognize that some organizations may want to be flexible with their staffing. However, please provide justification as to how you will still meet a student-to-advisor ratio no higher than 150:1.