Frequently Asked Questions
What is the timeline for this grant program?
The application window opens February 1, 2024, and closes on March 29, 2024. All applications must be submitted by the deadline to be considered. The selection committee will review all applications and the selected applications will be announced on July 25. Grants will begin on August 14, 2023, and run through June 30, 2024.
How are the selected grantees chosen?
The Program outline contains a rubric that the selection committee will use to score all applications. The division is taking all appropriate actions to ensure a fair and equitable selection process.
If my application is not selected for this round of funding, can I reapply for the next round of funding?
Yes. We encourage you to apply again as the goal of splitting the funding into two rounds is to serve as many Vermonters as possible.
Could an internship be in support of the hospitality industry?
Yes. The grant loosely defines targeted sectors. As you will see in the application, the entity applying for the grant will define what is an in-demand industry or sector for your region of the state. In the current labor market, evidence supports that there is a high need for hospitality workers.
Can grant funds compensate the grantee’s employees who are involved with oversight or administration of an in-house internship program?
Yes. Grant funds can be used to help stand up and support the internship and its program staff. We recognize that developing and administering internships can draw quite heavily on staff resources to provide supervision, payroll administration, and internship program development. However, the program does require that 80% of grant funds are used to directly support the intern through wages and supplies.
What if we are not able to hire the amount of interns we indicated in the grant application?
o Grantees should do their best to adhere to the expectations outlined in the grant application documents. However, we are aware that extenuating circumstances do arise. If a grantee is unable to hire the number of interns they anticipated, they are expected to reach out to the Contracts and Grants Administrator (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible and the division will work with the grantee to help find a solution. However, if a grantee is found to have purposely misled the selection committee in their application, the grant may be cancelled and funding revoked.
Is the grantee responsible for paying the intern stipend?
Grantees may ask for money through this funding opportunity to provide a stipend or wages to interns. Applications that can demonstrate an employer contribution to the intern stipend or wages will receive more favorable attention because we believe there is great value in paid internships. As mentioned above, applicants should budget for approximately 80% of grant funds to be used to pay interns directly.
The application says there is a four-week minimum requirement. Is there an hours-per-week requirement or requirement for total number of hours throughout the internship?
There is no minimum number of hours. However, the internship does need to be structured to last between four and twelve weeks. We do not want internships that are just a two-week experience because that is more of a job shadow model rather than job preparation experience with the potential to result in a job offer.
Could funds be used for a CTE student who is not attending college continue their co-op experience after graduation?
Yes. However, the internship should not be used by the employer in lieu of an offer of employment. If the internship is used to assess and further develop the intern’s skills with the likelihood of a job offer at the end of the internship, that would be acceptable.
Are grant recipients required to be physically located in Vermont?
No. The purpose of the grant is to support the employment of Vermonters so Vermont applicants will receive priority. However, we understand that there is some cross-border labor force “sharing” among Vermont’s bordering states. For example, grant funds may be awarded if there is a partnership between a Vermont Career Technical Education center and an employer or entity in a bordering state. It is an expectation that any grant recipient be registered with the Vermont Department of Taxes and conduct business primarily in Vermont.
Do funds need to be used for Vermont students or residents or can they be used for out of state residents who are studying in Vermont?
Funds can be used for out-of-state students studying in Vermont. Through this grant opportunity, we are hoping to offer students with paid internship experience that results in a job offer to strengthen and diversify Vermont’s workforce.
If funded, what is the time frame that we must utilize the funds requested? For example, we are requesting for 2 interns, but may only end up with one this fall, so may we use the remaining funds for the following years intern (2023-24)?
These grants all fall within the 2024 fiscal year. It is possible that an organization could hire a fall intern and another intern in the spring to comply with the February 29, 2024, fund obligation deadline. We may be able to enter into a grant-modification process to extend the period of performance under extenuating circumstances.
Since this is a reimbursement grant, the grant funds would go directly to the employer, not the intern, correct?
That is correct. These are reimbursement grants so you (the grantee), are the one receiving funds. The grantee will provide quarterly fiscal reports but may request reimbursement at any time. Participant wages are managed by the grantee and are not processed through the Department’s payroll system. The Department does have a mechanism for grantees to request cash in advance (specifically if the entity has limited cash flow) but is a more cumbersome process with additional reconciliation requirements.
Is it possible to include just "other" for intern salaries only and not any reimbursement for staff time (under the personnel piece of the grant)?
Yes. If you are seeking money to pay interns and have an existing internship program you want to expand, and this grant gives you the ability to hire additional interns and carry the overhead cost, that is acceptable.
My organization already has a grant with WFD, can we still apply?
Yes. However, the scoring rubric prioritizes applicants who are not currently receiving grant funds from WFD.
My organization was awarded a Workbased Learning and Training (Internship) grant last year, can we still apply?
Yes. However, the scoring rubric prioritizes applicants who are not currently receiving grant funds from WFD and who have not in the past received grant funds from WFD to broaden the reach of the program.
In the past, we’ve often had family members of current employees as interns. Regarding the Conflict-of-Interest clause, would there be a violation if we hired a family member as an intern and paid their stipend with the grant money? Is the answer to this question any different if that current employee is a decisionmaker or a signer on the application?
In this situation, you should follow hiring practices your entity would follow as if you were hiring the intern as an employee. If you anticipate there may be conflicts of interest, or potential conflicts of interest, please disclose that information in your grant application. If a conflict arises during the grant period and the agreement has already been signed, grantees must disclose that information to the Department.
Is there a range for amount per intern placement that we should budget for?
There is no right answer. In the past, this program has funded grants where employers have structured their experience so that a participant has 6 weeks of part-time internship experience and receives a set amount stipend. Others have paid interns at an hourly rate equal to the lowest paid employee or at or above minimum wage. The second example limits the number of interns the grant may fund, and grantees would then need to pull in other resources (as needed) to place interns, potentially by working out an agreement between the entity applying and employers who may pay a portion of the wages that the grant funds do not cover.
Is there any issue if an out of state organization applies and does not have a Vermont EIN?
To receive grant funds, you must be in good standing with the State of Vermont (Department of Taxes, Unemployment Insurance, Workers’ Compensation, etc.). You do not need a Vermont EIN to receive grant funds but will be required to attest to complying, which is a requirement in the grant provisions.
Any other questions may be addressed to email@example.com. Please note that the application period closes February 29, 2024, and all questions are required to be submitted no later than February 29, 2024 to ensure they are answered in a timely manner before applications close. Please reference 2023 Work Based Learning and Training Grant in the subject of your email. We do not have the ability to answer questions via telephone or offer one on one technical assistance at this time.