Request for Proposals

Career Information

Access Initiative

for Youth


Utilizing funds from the

Pathways to Success by 21/

P-21 Initiative



Released September 18, 2008, by

Workforce Central Career Center

A unit of the

Worcester City Manager’s Office

Contact: Don Anderson






Pathways to Success by 21 (P21)

Career Information Access Initiative


Workforce Central Career Center (WCCC) is a Massachusetts One Stop Career Center, and a unit of the Worcester City Manager’s Executive Office. In partnership with the Central Mass Regional Employment Board, WCCC has received funding through the Pathways to Success by 21 (P21) initiative from the Commonwealth Corporation to provide career pathways information and other services to disadvantaged youth in Southern Worcester County through expanded, community based activities.

The following needs were identified through an assessment conducted during the planning process for the P21 initiative:

Few disadvantaged youth have internet based access to

o self assessment tools to help guide them to employment options,

o quality information on promising occupations in the regional economy,

o skill-attainment pathways to occupations of interest to them,

o on-line applications for employment, or

o practical information on income levels necessary to maintain desired standards of living.

Some small agencies in the region with missions to serve youth, and strong connections with disadvantaged youth and their families, are under-resourced in public access technology, i.e., computers connected to the internet, and are interested in expanding this capacity.

These agencies are also minimally staffed, and current staff are not trained in utilizing available internet based tools to better guide youth, or in general awareness of workforce development services. Interest in these competencies is high among agencies and staff.

Workforce Central Career Center should coordinate its on-going efforts in decentralizing information on workforce development with the P21 initiative; this would result in more community level access points for youth, and adults.

In response to these needs, WCCC developed this solicitation for partnerships with small community based agencies to reach more disadvantaged youth.

Purpose: Increasing youth access to career information and opportunities through technology

Grant resources are being made available through this solicitation to provide public access computers to small agencies to purchase up to four (4) personal computers and necessary peripheral equipment. This equipment is to be used by the agency’s youth clients for career development activities, particularly access to information. Additional resources may be available.

A key informational resource targeted through this initiative is the Massachusetts Career Information System, the state supported internet site providing an exceptional array of occupational and related information. MassCIS is the labor market tool of choice within the Massachusetts Career Center system to assist career changers. MassCIS is also increasingly being used by schools systems, including the Worcester Public Schools, to assist youth in making informed decisions about their educational and employment futures.

MassCIS includes a youth specific track with major activity links including "Who Am I" (self-assessment tools), "Where Am I Going" (occupational information) and "How Do I Get There" (employability skills, education and training information.) It also includes a "Reality Check" to help youth assess their real world budget needs and find occupations providing them the income necessary to meet their chosen standard of living. The site also has the capacity for a portfolio for each youth user to store records of their work, self-assessments and research.

MassCIS can be found on the internet at Users can enter the user name "WorcesterCC" and password "Worcester" to access the site.

Eligible Bidders

Agencies interested in this opportunity must have as part of their mission service to low-income youth, or otherwise provide evidence of their on-going work with disadvantaged youth.

Priority consideration will be given to assisting agencies operating as federally-designated Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area providers, or recipients of Community Development Block Grants. Other small agencies serving low-income youth populations meeting other criteria, particularly in non-urban areas, are encouraged to apply.

Bidders must be located in communities within the Central Mass Workforce Investment Area. Bidders will be sought in each of the region’s three major geographic areas. These areas are

Greater Worcester: Auburn, Boylston, Grafton, Hardwick, Holden, Leicester, Millbury, New Braintree, Northboro, Oakham, Paxton, Rutland, Shrewsbury, Spencer, Westboro, West Boylston and Worcester.

Blackstone Valley: Blackstone, Douglas, Hopedale, Mendon, Millville, Milford, Northbridge, Sutton, Upton and Uxbridge.

South County: Brookfield, Charlton, Dudley, East Brookfield, North Brookfield, Oxford, Southbridge, Sturbridge, Warren, Webster and West Brookfield.

Bidders must currently have a lack of adequate public access computer capacity.

Successful proposing agencies must be willing to enter into a contract, and Memorandum of Agreement, with Workforce Central Career Center which would include the following terms (subject to modification):

Memorandum of Agreement

Workforce Central Career Center agrees to:

Provide resources to approved agencies to purchase up to four (4) personal computers and necessary peripheral equipment to be used by youth clients of the agency for career development activities.

Train designated agency staff in features of the Mass Career Information Service website.

Provide a series of orientation and training sessions at WCCC to familiarize agency staff with the full array of Career Center services, and to build their knowledge base of resources and professional strategies to better serve youth in their neighborhoods.

Work with the agency to determine mutually agreeable schedules for on-site activities such as workshops on MassCIS or other topics.

Provide technical assistance to the agency on workforce development activities such as job fairs, employment readiness activities, etc.

Provide recommendations on purchasing computers and related information technology relevant to the initiative.

The agency agrees to:

Provide space for public access computers, and scheduled time for use at their site by youth for purposes of career exploration and related skill development.

Provide technology support to maintain the computers’ functionality, including internet connectivity.

Assign a staff person to be a liaison with WCCC who would:

– work directly with youth at the agency site

– learn internet-based, career development resources

– collaborate with WCCC staff to deliver workshops

– become familiar with other WCCC services

Host scheduled sessions in collaboration with WCCC staff to orient and guide youth through career, employment and higher education-oriented internet resources.

Maintain agency capacity and commitment to provide on-going career and related guidance to neighborhood youth in the event of agency staffing changes.

Participate in meetings with WCCC to review program progress and make modifications to improve the program’s effectiveness.

Assist WCCC in documenting direct service to a minimum of 20 youth ages 16-24 (documentation of this service will consist of a youth’s completion of a one page form as a WCCC customer.)

Proposal Instructions

Proposals must include a 3 to 5 page narrative including:

A summary of the agency’s mission and goals related to assisting low-income youth, any recent workforce development related activities initiated by the agency, or with which the agency was involved, and how additional computer resources would complement and expand its ability to meet these goals.

Relevant partnerships with area schools, agencies, employers or initiatives related to youth career awareness, higher education or employment.

The agency’s current public access computer technology capacity.

Indications of interest by youth in use of on-site internet resources

The numbers of youth ages 16-24 currently served through different activities.

Description of how internet connectivity, computer functionality and security for the equipment will be maintained at the agency site.

Identify agency staff to be working directly with youth on this initiative.

Identify the agency lead contact for purposes of the agreement.

A cover letter signed by the authorized signatory of the agency formally submitting the proposal must also be part of the package.

Submission instructions

Three hard copies of the proposal, and a copy on CD, are to be submitted to

Workforce Central Career Center

44 Front Street, 7th floor

Worcester, MA 01608

Attention: P-21 Proposal

The RFP response period will remain open until available funds are allocated.

Selection process

Successful bidders will be identified based on their meeting the criteria above. A review team comprised of Workforce Central Career Center and Central Mass REB staff will score proposals on a pass/fail basis. The review team will provide feedback to bidders regarding their proposals. Bidders will be able to resubmit proposals until funds available are fully allocated.

The award process will balance the number of successful proposals received with geographic distribution of resources. Proposal reviews, notification to successful bidders and contract development will be completed as they are received.

Technical notes

Funds provided through this initiative are available on a cost reimbursement basis, i.e., the computers must be purchased with agency funds, and then reimbursed by WCCC based on an invoice and proof of purchase.

Successful bidders will also be required to complete standard assurances for city contractors receiving federal funds.

The region has identified $20,000 in P21 funds for purchase of at least twenty (20) personal computers through this initiative. It is the intent of the initiative to provide resources for a minimum of 5 sites; three sites in the Worcester area, one in the Blackstone Valley area, and one in the South County area.

Inquiries may be directed to Don Anderson, Director, Workforce Central Career Center, by email to [email protected], or by phone at 508-799-8000.