The Challenge: Expand equitable access to career and business opportunities in climate-critical fields
A robust, well-trained, and inclusive workforce is vital to achieving and sustaining the Commonwealth’s climate goals. Organizations that deliver career awareness, training, or business support programs can ensure that Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs), fossil fuel workers, and individuals from Environmental Justice (EJ) Neighborhoods, low-income communities, or federally recognized or state-acknowledged tribes benefit from equitable access to climate-critical workforce opportunities. However, delivering such programs requires planning and resources that these organizations may not have.
About Equity Workforce Planning and Capacity Grants
Equity Workforce Planning and Capacity Grants provide up to $50,000 for up to 12 months for planning needed to develop a program plan ready for implementation or up to $150,000 for up to two years for capacity building (expanding staff, solidifying essential partnerships, developing content and curriculum design, etc.) to start or expand a clean energy equity workforce program. In addition to direct funding, planning and capacity grantees receive technical assistance support from MassCEC to facilitate targeted networking, expanded partnerships, stronger program design, and effective practices for achieving outcomes.
Equity Workforce Planning and Capacity Grants are available on a rolling basis until June 30, 2023. While responses will be accepted until the June 30 deadline, applications submitted by the priority reading dates will be read and reviewed on a more expedited timeline. Applications will be reviewed until funding is expended.
March 29, 2023
Questions Due to MassCEC via email@example.com
Questions with Answers Posted to MassCEC Website
April 18 at 12 noon
Pre-Application Office Hours
See dates and times
Accepted on a rolling basis until 11:59 pm on June 30, 2023
Priority Review Dates for MassCEC
Received by April 26: reviewed by wk of May 1;
Interviews of Applicants (as needed)
Notification of Award
Approximately 6-8 weeks after submission
Single organizations or partnerships are eligible to apply. If multiple parties are applying jointly, one party should take on the role of Lead Applicant.
The following entities are eligible to serve as a Lead Applicant:
- Community-based organizations, such as community action partnerships, environmental justice organizations, neighborhood revitalization organizations, advocacy groups, affordable housing providers or developers, and non-profits
- Post-secondary educational institutions, K-12 school districts, comprehensive and vocational high schools, middle schools, and vocational schools offering a Career Technical Initiative evening training program
- For-profit entities such as for-profit training companies, trade associations, unions, or other coalitions of businesses and clean energy businesses
- Federally Recognized and State-Acknowledged Tribes
- Workforce development organizations, either non-profit or for-profit
- Massachusetts Workforce Investment Boards and Career Centers/MassHire Organizations
- Review the Equity Workforce Training Planning and Capacity Grant Request For Proposals (RFP).
- Review all RFP forms and attachments.
- Attend MassCEC informational webinars and/or use other informational resources offered.
- Contact MassCEC with questions or to discuss your ideas via at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Complete all RFP forms and attachments according to instructions.
- Submit all completed RFP forms and attachments by email to email@example.com by 11:59 pm on June 30, 2023, with "Equity Workforce Planning and Capacity Grant Application" in the subject line.
For full Program details, please refer to the RFP.
Pre-Application Office Hours
Drop-in office hours to discuss your proposals and network with potential applicants:
April 20, 2023 at 5:30 pm - Join Meeting
April 25, 2023 at 12 noon - Join Meeting
May 2, 2023 at 12 noon - Join Meeting
May 9, 2023 at 12 noon - Join Meeting
May 17, 2023 at 12 noon - Join Meeting
May 25, 2023 at 5:30 pm - Join Meeting
May 30, 2023 at 12 noon - Join Meeting
On April 18, 2023, MassCEC held a webinar about the Equity Workforce Planning and Capacity Grants RFP, including eligibility, budget, and the application process.
Frequently Asked Questions
These FAQs were last updated on May 23, 2023.
Questions are accepted and answers will be posted on a rolling basis. Submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Should my organization apply for a Planning Grant or a Capacity Grant?
Planning grants are intended for those applicants that need to solidify the elements of the program design prior to implementation, with the overall goal being to design a program plan ready for implementation and potentially ready for submission to a funding solicitation at MassCEC or elsewhere. For example, a planning grantee may plan on developing an accelerator program that will help MWBE contractors who are aspiring energy efficiency and renewable energy business owners training individuals to enter the building retrofit space but may need time to identify partners for recruitment and professional services, clarify the curricular resources, and map out the implementation schedule.
Capacity grants are intended for those applicants ready to implement but that need to build up in-house capabilities prior to launch or for those applicants that do not need full implementation funds to achieve success with the proposed program. For example, a post-secondary institution has an existing HVAC training program, but to add heat pump training, further curriculum needs to be developed and some extra training-specific equipment needs to be obtained; this is not a wholescale new program or major expansion of an existing program but is instead a beneficial incremental expansion achievable with capacity funding.
2. Can a capacity grant be used to procure space to run training?
Funds cannot be used to lease or purchase venue space or equipment for general operating purposes. However, funds can be used to lease or purchase venue space or equipment specifically designated for direct programmatic use. For example, paying for an organization’s regular rent is not acceptable. However, paying the cost of an agreement with a building trades training organization to use their lab space to train participants may be acceptable.
3. If our organization has received prior funding from MassCEC, are we eligible to apply to this opportunity?
Yes, applicants may apply for additional funds from MassCEC, so long as the proposed project is separate and distinct from the projects funded via prior support. In addition, grantees that previously received an equity workforce planning grant may apply for a capacity grant to execute preliminary work related to future implementation.
4. Can we use the funds to hire a consultant?
Applicants can use these funds to hire a consultant for targeted tasks such as identifying and approaching relevant employers about their hiring needs, researching available training curricula, etc. However, MassCEC primarily intends for funding to build grantee capacity in-house, so this funding is not intended to be used exclusively to hire outside consultants. In addition, this funding can not be used to pay for costs associated with preparing this proposal or activities that occurred before or following the term of the grant.
5. Are for-profit businesses eligible for these funds?
Yes, for-profit entities such as for-profit training companies, trade associations, unions, or other coalitions of businesses and clean energy businesses are eligible to apply for the Planning and Capacity Grants as lead applicants. In addition, for-profit entities are also eligible to receive funds as partners of another Lead Applicant with detailed information on their role listed on the budget during the Planning/Capacity grant process.
6. What level of detail is needed for the budget? Do we need verified cost estimates from vendors?
The budget requires detailed explanations of the staff/subcontractor roles and the usage of the programmatic expenses. If possible, verified cost estimates from vendors should be submitted for the budget to ensure funding can sustain your program if you receive the award.
7. Does computer hardware/software fall under “equipment” as far as eligibility is concerned?
Computer hardware/software are eligible uses of funding. However, budget submissions with a majority request for hardware/software will be viewed as less favorable by the review committee. MassCEC is anticipating releasing funding dedicated to equipment/software expenses for workforce development programs.
8. Should partnerships already be fully established before applying for a Planning/Capacity Grant?
Applicants can apply for the planning/capacity grants with or without fully established partnerships before applying. If you are applying without fully established partnerships, it will be viewed more favorably if the proposal includes details on the specific partnerships you are trying to form to develop or expand your workforce development program. For example, your proposal can include information that you are seeking to form partnerships with CBOs to develop a comprehensive referral system for participants’ support services.
9. Are low-income communities included in the target population?
Yes, low-income communities are considered underrepresented communities in the clean energy workforce.
10. When will the Planning and Capacity Grants awardees be notified? Will you post the grantees as you award them?
Applicants will be notified if awards are given approximately 6-8 weeks after the priority review dates listed in the Funding Schedule. The publication of the awardees and their projects will depend on the press release announcement plans set by EEA and the Governor’s office.
11. Is it possible to select more than one strand described in the Planning/Capacity grant when applying for the grant?
Yes, applicants can apply for more than one strand described in the Planning and Capacity Grants RFP. The application responses will need to clearly reflect the proposed program strand(s).
12. Will writing quality and style be assessed in the overall scoring of the application?
Writing quality and style will not be an indicator of the overall score of your application. However, applications responses that clearly and accurately describe the Plan/Capacity building concept and meet the selection criteria will be scored more favorably by the review committee. Please refer to pages 14-15 of the RFP document for the Selection Criteria used for evaluation.
13. Will there be an opportunity to get feedback on the grant application?
Applicants will have the opportunity to receive feedback from MassCEC upon notification of the award results, whether or not an award is given to the applicant.
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 the following and additional resources to inform their applications:
Clean Energy Sector
Job Training & Workforce Development
Commonwealth Corporation Available Funding Opportunities
MassHire Regional Workforce Skills Planning Initiative
MassHire State Workforce Board
MA Division of Apprentice Standards
The Boston Foundation SkilWorks Project Catapult on next generation workforce development
Small Business Enterprises/MWBEs
MassCEC is compiling a list of potential applicants interested in networking and partnerships for the open Workforce Equity 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 email@example.com.