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Evaluation of Golden LEAF Mid-Skills Workforce Training Initiative : Request for Proposals

We appreciate your interest in the Golden LEAF Foundation and our work to assist rural, economically distressed and/or tobacco dependent counties with economic transition. Recently, Golden LEAF announced a new Mid-Skills Workforce Training Initiative to support targeted occupational and technical training programs that prepare students for identified employment opportunities in advanced manufacturing and other high-wage technical occupations in rural, economically distressed and/or tobacco dependent counties of North Carolina. The Foundation has received Letters of Intent from 32 applicants. A program description for the initiative is included below.

The Golden LEAF board, at its October Board of Directors meeting, will review the Letters of Intent and issue invitations for full application from selected applicants.


In response to the initiative, the Foundation is also requesting proposals from eligible non-profit and education agencies to develop and administer a coordinated evaluation for the new Mid-Skills Workforce Training Initiative. We expect to fund between 8 to 14 projects through the grant program and desire an independent evaluation to assist the foundation with documenting outcomes and lessons learned. A well-designed, coordinated approach should:

  • Include evaluation design that results in consistent data across projects concerning qualitative and quantitative outcomes such as job placement and average wages attained, advancement through promotion or improve earnings, employer satisfaction, reduced cycle time for on-the-job training, portability of skills attained, student success in passing industry certifications, apprenticeship or internship placements. To the extent possible, these measures should make use of existing data from ESC and other common reporting requirements in workforce training and employment;
  • Additionally include outcome measures or results related to economic and workforce measures relevant to industry and of interest to Golden LEAF.
  • Develop a core set of mid-skills training improvement measures and measurement instruments that could be used across GLF grantees, thereby providing consistency and comparability among individual projects;
  • Enable the aggregation of data across grantees in order to assess the overall impact of the GLF Mid-skills grant program;
  • Provide training to GLF grantees in basic evaluation procedures such as setting measurable (SMART) goals, using logic models to monitor program effectiveness as well using data for ongoing program improvement and to guide future program decisions;
  • Collaborate with GLF staff to guide and revise the evaluation process to best meet the needs of the Foundation and grantees.


Golden LEAF Mid-Skills Workforce Training Initiative is a special program of Golden LEAF intended to address some of the urgent workforce requirements North Carolina faces in closing the skills gap identified by advanced manufacturing companies. Golden LEAF has set aside approximately $8 million to support projects with funding of UP TO $500,000 or $1,000,000 over a 12 to 18 month period to establish or enhance training capabilities that address the talent needed by industry. This new program is a workforce development grant initiative that supports collaborative programs aimed at increasing the talent pool of a highly skilled, technical workforce aligned with identified employment opportunities of industries located in tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and/or rural communities.

Program priorities include:

  • Comprehensive training programs that represent systematic approaches to closing the skills gap and increasing the talent pool for advanced manufacturing and other high wage, technical employment opportunities in local markets.
  • Establishment or enhancement of technical (mid-skills) training capabilities that prepare students with the requisite occupational, career and academic skills for identified employment opportunities in advanced manufacturing.
  • Programs that represent collaborative efforts among community colleges, high schools, local industry and other community stakeholders.
  • Program designs that incorporate flexible training requirements to support continuing education and associate degree programs at the college level and dual-credit opportunities for high school students through articulation agreements and NC Career & College Promise.
  • Training programs that utilize modular training or stackable credentials to maximize multiple entry and exit points between education and employment and promote life-long learning.
  • Emphasis on building regional training capacities that target local employment opportunities in NC industries with priority given to the following sectors: automation, aerospace, automotive, food processing, transportation and logistics, plastics, rubber, metal and wood fabrication. Applicants are encouraged to think regionally, draw connections to industry sectors, and align project outcomes for completers with industry requirements for identified employment opportunities.
  • Integration of criteria for third-party credentials that are endorsed by local and regional industry partners to create portable skill development.
  • Local industry engagement in project design and demonstrated willingness to interview program completers for posted job vacancies.
  • Work-based learning experiences such as apprenticeships and meaningful internship experiences that are part of the training program.

Applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible for a grant:

  1. Be a governmental entity or 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization,
  2. Serve the people of North Carolina,
  3. Be a local education agency, university, or community college.


RFP posted September 18, 2012
Applications due October 19, 2012
Board review and award announcements December 6, 2012

The Golden LEAF Foundation seeks to fund a third party evaluation of 8 to 14 Mid-Skills Workforce Training Initiative projects that will be awarded by the Board in December 2012. Applicants are invited to submit an application using the process described below. In addition to the application form and required attachments, applicants may submit supplemental information and letters of support; however, the required application form and materials must be complete and stand on their own. The Golden LEAF Board of Directors will review Mid-Skills Workforce Training Evaluation applications at its regularly scheduled board meeting in December 2012.

Applications must be submitted using the Golden LEAF online application system accessible from the Golden LEAF Web site. Applications that are incomplete, faxed,
e-mailed or otherwise mailed to Golden LEAF will not be eligible for review.


Click here to access the "Online application form" link for the "Golden LEAF Mid-Skills Workforce Training Evaluation." Respond to all questions, fill in all blanks on the form, and upload all required attachments (certification and signature form, project budget form, and project management plan). If you cannot upload the attachments, you may mail them to Golden LEAF. If you cannot complete the online form at once, you may save the form at any time and complete it later by clicking here. Before exiting the program, you must create an Applicant Account or your form will not be saved. When you have completed the form, click "Submit." Once you have submitted the LOI, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with further instructions. If you have not received a confirmation e-mail within two (2) business days of your submission, please contact a member of the Golden LEAF Programs staff.


In addition to completing the application form, you must provide ALL required attachments in order for your application to be complete. Electronic files of attachments may be uploaded in the online application system or attached to the e-mailed application. Attachments may also be sent by mail or delivery service. An application is not considered complete or eligible for review unless ALL blanks have been appropriately filled in, questions answered and attachments provided, and all documents have been received by Golden LEAF.

We have outlined a checklist of attachments to assist in complying with the guidelines provided and must accompany the application form in order for the proposal to be considered complete and eligible for review. Click here to access the guidelines and checklist of attachments.


Completed applications will be reviewed by Golden LEAF staff and by the Golden LEAF Board of Directors. The Board will decide whether or not to fund the proposal, request more information about the proposal, or take some other action. Communications regarding the application and the Board's determination will be sent to the contact person on the application form.

RFP applications are due October 19, 2012.
Questions may be referred to Mark Sorrells, Senior Vice President of the Foundation (


The Public Records Act
Information submitted to Golden LEAF is subject to the North Carolina Public Records Act and thus subject to inspection by the public. For information on limited exceptions to the Public Records Act, please contact Golden LEAF staff.



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