The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Family Assistance (OFA) is announcing that it anticipates competitively awarding cooperative agreements to support demonstration projects that are designed to provide eligible individuals with the opportunity to obtain education and training for occupations in the health care field that pay well and are expected to either experience labor shortages or be in high demand. In addition to providing education and training services, funds for this project may be used for child care, case management, and other supportive services as appropriate.
In FY 2010, the first year of the grant, ACF published two Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA), carried out a grant competition process, and awarded 32 Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) for five year project periods. The fifth and final year of these initial grants will end on September 29, 2015.
The Protecting Access to Medicare Act (enacted April 1, 2014), extends HPOG through FY 2015, which enables a new grant competition process for the program. It is expected that new grants will be for 60-month project periods with five 12-month budget periods. However, funding of HPOG projects beyond the first 12-month budget period will require the appropriation of additional funds not contained in the current authorizing legislation.
Individuals who are eligible to participate in funded programs are those receiving assistance under a state TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) program and other low-income individuals.
Potential applicants will need to be able to demonstrate strong partnerships with health care employers, and a strong labor market demand for the occupations for which they are providing education and training.
All grantees will be required to take part in a rigorous evaluation, which is likely to include a random assignment process of potential participants into control and intervention groups.
In accordance with 42 U.S.C. § 1397g(a)(2)(B), potential applicants must be an eligible entity and be able to demonstrate that they have consulted and will carry out their HPOG projects in coordination with each of the following entities:
- The State agency responsible for administering the State TANF program;
- The Local Workforce Investment Board in the area in which the project is to be conducted (unless the applicant is such board);
- The State Workforce Investment Board established under Section 111 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. §2821); and
- The State Apprenticeship Agency recognized under the Act of August 16, 1937 (29 U.S.C. 50 et seq.), commonly known as the National Apprenticeship Act. Or if no agency has been recognized in the State, the Office of the Apprenticeship of the Department of Labor.