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U.S. Department of Education: Performance Partnership Pilots

Deadline: June 27, 2016

Performance Partnership Pilots (P3) enable pilot sites to test innovative, outcome-focused strategies to achieve significant improvements in educational, employment, and other key outcomes for disconnected youth using new flexibility to blend existing Federal funds and to seek waivers of associated program requirements.

The authorizing acts provide the Departments of Education (ED), Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Justice (DOJ), the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) (collectively, the Agencies), to enter into Performance Partnership Agreements with State, local, or tribal governments to provide additional flexibility in using certain of the Agencies’ discretionary funds, including competitive and formula grant funds, across multiple Federal programs. Entities that seek to participate in these pilots will be required to commit to achieving significant improvements in outcomes for disconnected youth in exchange for this new flexibility.

P3 tests the hypothesis that additional flexibility for States, local governments, and tribes, in the form of blending funds and waivers of certain programmatic requirements, can help overcome some of the significant hurdles that States, local governments, and tribes face in providing intensive, comprehensive, and sustained service pathways and improving outcomes for disconnected youth. For example, P3 can be used to better coordinate and align the multiple systems that serve youth. P3 may help address the “wrong pockets” problem, where entities that observe improved outcomes or other benefits due to an intervention are unable to use Federal funds to support that intervention due to program restrictions. P3 flexibility may also allow the testing of an innovative approach to help to build additional evidence about what works. If this hypothesis proves true, providing necessary and targeted flexibility to remove or overcome these hurdles will help to achieve significant benefits for disconnected youth, the communities that serve them, and the involved agencies and partners.

The statutory definition of “disconnected youth” specifically identifies several high-need subpopulations of low-income youth, including youth who are homeless, youth in foster care, youth involved in the juvenile justice system, and youth who are unemployed or not in school or at risk of dropping out. The solicitation notes that there are a number of other high-need subpopulations of disconnected youth who are at risk of dropping out; for example, English Language Learners, immigrant and refugee students, and students with disabilities. Applicants wishing to serve a subpopulation of disconnected youth at risk of dropping out should consider whether that subpopulation faces an elevated risk of dropping out based on sound research.

There are four absolute priorities for this competition. Applicants must meet one of these priorities to apply:

  • Absolute Priority 1—Improving Outcomes for Disconnected Youth: To meet this priority, an applicant must propose a pilot that is designed to improve outcomes for disconnected youth.
  • Absolute Priority 2—Improving Outcomes for Disconnected Youth in Rural Communities: To meet this priority, an applicant must propose a pilot that is designed to improve outcomes for disconnected youth in one or more rural communities only.
  • Absolute Priority 3—Improving Outcomes for Disconnected Youth in Tribal Communities: To meet this priority, an applicant must propose a pilot that is designed to improve outcomes for disconnected youth who are members of one or more State- or federally-recognized Indian tribal communities; and represent a partnership that includes one or more State- or federally-recognized Indian tribes.
  • Absolute Priority 4—Improving Outcomes for Disconnected Youth in Communities that Have Recently Experienced Civil Unrest: To meet this priority, an applicant must propose a pilot that is designed to improve outcomes for disconnected youth in one or more communities that have recently experienced civil unrest.

There are also four competitive preference priorities for this competition, which allow applicants to earn additional points:

  • Competitive Preference Priority 1—Improving Outcomes for Youth Who Are Unemployed and Out of School (Up to 5 points): To meet this priority, an applicant must propose a pilot that (1) will serve disconnected youth who are neither employed nor enrolled in education and who face significant barriers to accessing education and employment; and (2) is likely to result in significantly better educational or employment outcomes for such youth.
  • Competitive Preference Priority 2—Work-Based Learning Opportunities (0 or 3 points): To meet this priority, an applicant must propose a pilot that will provide all of the disconnected youth it proposes to serve with paid work-based learning opportunities, such as opportunities during the summer, which are integrated with academic and technical instruction.
  • Competitive Preference Priority 3—Promise Zones (0 or 2 points): This priority is for projects that are designed to serve and coordinate with a federally designated Promise Zone.
  • Competitive Preference Priority 4—Site-Specific Evaluation (Up to 10 points): To meet this priority, an applicant must propose to conduct an independent evaluation of the impacts on disconnected youth of its overall program or specific components of its program that is a randomized controlled trial or a quasi-experimental design study.

There are also two invitational priorities for this program; the Department is especially interested in proposals that address these priorities but no additional points are awarded. These priorities are for proposals that serve homeless youth; and for proposals that serve youth involved in the juvenile justice system.

Amount: $3,050,000 is available for 10 awards ranging from $250,000-$350,000 each.

Eligibility: The lead applicant must be a State, local, or tribal government entity, represented by a Chief Executive, such as a governor, mayor, or other elected leader, or the head of a State, local, or tribal agency. A grantee may award subgrants to directly carry out project activities described in its application to the following types of entities: State governmental agencies; local governmental agencies, including local educational agencies; tribal governmental agencies; institutions of higher education; and nonprofit organizations. Subgrantees must be identified at the time of application.

Link: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/04/26/2016-09748/applications-for-new-awards-performance-partnership-pilots

Note: An optional notice of intent to apply is due May 26, 2016.

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