Request for Proposals: Climate-Critical Workforce Training, Equipment & Infrastructure

The Challenge: Train Massachusetts Residents for Clean Energy Workforce Opportunities

By 2030, the Massachusetts clean energy workforce will need to grow by 38%, or more than 38,000 workers, to meet the state’s climate goals. To fill gaps in the workforce for climate-critical sectors, clean energy and climate tech employers need assistance in providing high-quality training and support for residents across the Commonwealth. 

About Climate-Critical Training, Equipment, and Infrastructure Grants

Climate-Critical Workforce Training, Equipment, and Infrastructure Grants increase access to modern, relevant training equipment and infrastructure and provide up to $800,000 across one to two years in direct funding and technical assistance support to organizations that can build and scale career pathways and upskilling that help Massachusetts residents access and advance in climate-critical priority occupations. Applicants may apply for one or more of the following strands:

  • Strand A: Career Pathway Training Leading to Employment in Climate-Critical Priority Occupations
  • Strand B: Climate-Critical Upskilling for Incumbent Workers
  • Strand C: Equipment and Infrastructure to Support Climate-Critical Training

Successful applicants will propose projects that demonstrate a high level of employer engagement and leverage of existing workforce development systems, and lead to high-quality careers in climate-critical occupations.
 

Status
Open
Award Potential
  • Career Pathway Training: $800,000
  • Climate-Critical Upskilling: $600,000
  • Equipment & Infrastructure: $750,000
Application Deadline

Jan 26, 2024 and May 1, 2024

Questions? Contact

Funding Schedule

This solicitation has two proposal deadlines, each associated with a separate review and award notification timeframe.

Applicants not currently ready for training or equipment should consider Equity Workforce Training Planning & Capacity Grants to prepare for the next round of training funding.

Process Step

Timing

Release of RFP

December 7, 2023

Questions due to MassCEC via rfpworkforce@masscec.com

Ongoing, through April 5, 2024

Questions with answers posted to MassCEC website

Updated monthly on 2nd Tuesday through April 5, 2024

Pre-application webinars

December 19, 2023, 1 pm

March 14, 2024, 3 pm

Pre-application office hours

Detailed below

Proposals due

January 26, 2024, by 11:59 pm for review during February 2024

May 1, 2024, by 11:59 pm for review during May 2024

Interviews of applicants (as needed)

TBD

Notification of award

March/April 2024, if received by January 26, 2024

June 2024, if received by May 1, 2024

Who's Eligible

Single organizations or partnerships are eligible to apply. Partnerships are strongly encouraged and may be looked upon more favorably to the extent that they can provide a range of expertise and experience to deliver a comprehensive proposal. One party should take on the role of Lead Applicant.

The following entities are eligible to serve as a Lead Applicant:

  • Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), including CBOs relying on a fiscal agent
  • Community Colleges, Colleges, Universities, Comprehensive and Vocational High Schools, and Vocational Schools offering an after-hours or Career Technical Initiative evening training program
  • Comprehensive and Vocational High Schools, including Vocational Schools offering an after-hours or Career Technical Initiative evening training program
  • For-Profit Entities
  • Workforce Development Organizations
  • MassHire Workforce Investment Boards and Career Centers
Additional eligibility requirements:
  • Lead Applicant must have a Massachusetts office or staffing.
  • Lead Applicant is currently in good standing with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and can provide certification if requested (COGS).

Applicants are also eligible to apply for MassCEC’s other workforce development grants and programs, as long as those applications seek support for separate and distinct efforts from those described in this application.

For full eligibility requirements and other Program details, please refer to the Climate-Critical Training, Equipment, and Infrastructure Grant Request for Proposals (RFP).

Apply

Application Process

This solicitation has three stands, which are described in the RFP above. Strand A and Strand B have common application materials. Strand C has specific application materials, provided below.

Proposals should be emailed to rfpworkforce@masscec.com by 11:59 PM on the deadline date with "Climate-Critical Workforce Training, Equipment and Infrastructure Grant Application" in the subject line.

Application Materials

Send completed application to rfpworkforce@masscec.com 

Pre-Application Office Hours

MassCEC hosts a series of office hours (one-hour blocks) to answer questions about all open Workforce Development grants. Register below to receive a meeting invite. Join anytime during the one-hour block!

Pre-Application Webinars

On December 19, 2023, MassCEC held a webinar about the Climate-Critical Training Grants, including eligibility, budget, and the application process. 

You can also register for a live, pre-application webinar on March 14, 2024 to learn more about the application process and ask questions. (The same content will be presented as during the December 19 webinar.)

Which Program is Right for Us?

MassCEC has two open solicitations that provide funding and technical assistance to develop and scale workforce training programs for climate-critical occupations: 1) Climate-Critical Training, Equipment, and Infrastructure (this page), and 2) Equity Workforce Training, Equipment and Infrastructure. Both programs support training, the purchase of equipment, and the development of training infrastructure. In both programs, equipment and infrastructure projects will be funded with federal ARPA monies, however the required financial match for these projects differs by program. See which funding opportunity best suits your program goals.

Climate-Critical Workforce Training

Equity Workforce Training

Funding Amount per Award

Up to $800,000

Up to $1.2 million

Deadlines

January 26, 2024

May 1, 2024

January 19, 2024

May 1, 2024

Programmatic Goals

Support Massachusetts residents with career pathway training or incumbent workers with upskilling​

Support individuals from priority populations with career pathway training or exploration

Match Requirement (Equipment and Infrastructure only)

Private entities must provide a 1:1 financial match; public entities must supply a 25% project cost-share.

Matching funds are recommended, but not required.

Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs were last updated on February 20, 2024.

1. For Strand B, can an applicant apply for funding for its own internal upskilling/workforce development for existing and future employees?

An applicant is not restricted from proposing upskilling of its employees, however awards are competitive and the overall scale and impact of the proposed project on the clean energy workforce ecosystem will be taken into consideration during scoring.

2. Can the plan combine Strand C funding with the Technical Trades and Learning subsidy reimbursements?

We encourage applicants to leverage other MassCEC workforce development resources, such as the Clean Energy Internship Program and the Technical Trades and Learning Program, as long as the proposed budget for a strand is distinct from the reimbursement funding that other programs offer.

3. Are universities required to demonstrate matching funds for Strand C?

Public universities are required to supply a 25% project cost-share and private universities are required to provide a 1:1 financial match for Strand C proposals.

4. Can a lead applicant apply to multiple strands?

Yes, applicants are eligible to apply to multiple strands if each strand application showcases distinct outcomes. The capacity to successfully complete the work will be part of the award consideration.

5. Can the Match requirement be satisfied in Strand A or does the Match requirement only apply to the budget for Strand C?

The Match requirement in the Climate Critical Training Grants only applies to Strand C and the budget must show matching funds that satisfy the requirement based on lead applicant type (i.e., 25% project cost-share for public entities and 1:1 Match for private entities).

6. If we don't receive funding during the current round, can we resubmit for the next round of applications?

Yes, MassCEC will provide written feedback to applicants who did not receive funding for the current round.  Applicants are encouraged to revise their proposals and resubmit by the next deadline.

7. If we are using another entity to assist in wraparound support services, do we need an MOU or can we list their information on the application without a formal letter of agreement?

We ask that you get a letter of support that shows they are aware of this application. The MOU or LOS should include the responsibilities of the entity as included in the application.

8. When applying for Strand C, are written quotes for equipment costs needed?

They are not required to apply, but they are recommended as they make the application stronger. Once your application has been reviewed, we may request written quotes for items included in the proposed budget.

9. What is comprised in the 25% project cost share for public entities applying for Equipment and Infrastructure funding?

Project cost-share can comprise of financial contributions, in-kind contributions, or a combination thereof. In-kind cost-share includes non-monetary contributions that are not covered by grant funds, including personnel time, facility space, and materials & supplies necessary for project activities. Projects with greater levels of cost-share will be prioritized in the selection process.

Other Resources

MassCEC will look favorably on applications that propose data-driven approaches and leverage pre-existing resources from the robust workforce development and clean energy sectors in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Applicants are advised to use Powering the Future: A Massachusetts Clean Energy Workforce Needs Assessment along with the following additional resources to inform their applications:

Workforce Development

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Networking

MassCEC  is compiling a list of potential applicants interested in networking and partnerships for the open Workforce grants. View the list here.

Sign up to the partnership list by sending your contact name, contact info, type of organization, and focus sector to workforce@masscec.com.

Additional Funding Opportunities