Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Who can apply for a Regional Innovation Grant (RIG)?
The initial application for a RIG must come from a Workforce
Investment Act (WIA) organization. RIG are funded by special WIA
funds through the U.S. Department of Labor. The three
organizations within Iowa that can make an application for a RIG
include the State Board, the Administrative Services Division of
Iowa Workforce Development, and the local Regional Workforce
Investment Board (RWIB).
http://www.doleta.gov/USWORKFORCE/WIA/act.cfm for more
2. How does a WIA Region qualify for a RIG?
The regulations for eligibility for a RIG are that it must be “wrapped
around” a significant dislocation within the WIA Region such as a
business closure or permanent dislocation/reduction within a company(s)
in the WIA Region. Within this same definition is the impact that a
natural disaster can have upon a WIA Region(s) as it can cause
significant worker dislocations that could be deemed permanent and/or
could result in enough business closures to be deemed significant.
NOTE: Since the WIA funding for a RIG comes from the Dept. of Labor
through the process of a National Emergency Grant (NEG), it is funded
through the type of NEG called “Community Impact NEG” that requires a
significant dislocation of such to raise the unemployment level for the
community by 1% or more over a 6-month period of time after the
dislocation. Since the term “significant” is not defined for a RIG the
dislocation does not have to meet the 1% or more increase in
unemployment over a 6-month period of time; however, it does have to
have a great enough economic impact on the community to justify the
application for a RIG.
3. How much money is available through a RIG?
The maximum amount that is available for a RIG is $250,000; however,
since the funds for a RIG are “discretionary” the amount awarded is
based upon the application submitted and can be anywhere between $0
(denied) up to $250,000 as determined by the reviewing committee and the
Grant Officer’s determination. If denied there are no rights of appeal.
If awarded then the funds are good for an 18-month period of time.
4. How is the money from a RIG to be used?
The funds awarded in a RIG can only be used for planning purposes
leading to the development of an “Implementation Plan” at the end of the
18-month period. It cannot be used for any other purposes then planning
and the development of the Implementation Plan. Within the planning
purpose funds can be used to conduct studies, utilize services of
consulting firms, educational institutions, survey organizations,
research & development organizations, economic development studies, and
other resources that the team determines necessary. Additional funds can
be leveraged from private foundations and government agencies during the
planning process to enhance the amount awarded for the RIG, but must be
reported in addition to how the funds from the RIG are being spent.
5. You mentioned above a “team.” What do you mean?
When forming a RIG, it’s necessary to bring together representative from
several organizations. This group will make decisions on the best ways
to develop the RIG and spend the funds awarded. Your local WIA entity
usually assists with recruiting all members that should play an integral
part in the development of your RIG. This is not a quick process and
will involve frequent team meetings to determine the priorities that
will be studied during the 18-month period. The team should aim for 100%
agreement of those priorities if possible.
6. How do I submit a RIG request and how long does it take to
receive a decision?
As mentioned in question 1 above, only three entities in Iowa
can submit a RIG request. They must use a specific format and meet
certain restrictions on length
of explanations. The agency must submit the application to the U.S.
Department of Labor through their National Emergency Grant e-Application
System. Currently only the Administrative Services Division of Iowa
Workforce Development has an assigned Password and PIN for accessing
that system. If one of the other two entities want to submit the RIG
request then they must obtain a Password and PIN from Jeanette Provost
at the ETA Division of the Dept. of Labor.
Once a RIG request is submitted, the reviewers at the Dept. of Labor
have 60-working days to render a decision on the request. (Please Note:
“working days” vs. “calendar days.”) If the reviewer requires further
information before making a decision, the
60-working day period will start over once the additional information is
provided. It is important that the RIG request be as through as possible
to eliminate significant delays in getting a decision. Remember, since
these are discretionary funds there are no rights of appeal if the
application is denied.
7. How will I find out the decision results?
The entity you went through to submit your application will
inform you of the decision results. The decision notification goes
directly to the contact person listed on the request when submitted.
While the notifications are called “Grant Officer’s Award Letters,” the
term “Award” doesn’t always mean an actual award of funds. The term
refers to an “award” of a decision. If your application is accepted, the
letter will further explain the amount awarded, the project time frame,
any “conditions” that will apply, and who to contact in the Chicago
ETA/DOL office for any questions pertaining to the award.