The overall score for this Request for Proposals is 60% percent, which makes this RFP a moderate to substantial risk for applicants.
This request for proposals (“RFP”) is for the operation of the School-Based Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) for youth aged 14-21 throughout New York City. The School-Based SYEP serves three different youth populations: younger youth (age 14-15); CareerCLUE (age 14-15); and older youth (age 16-21). The goal of the School-Based SYEP is for New York City public high schools and SYEP contractor to work collaboratively in helping “…youth build foundational employability skills, such as 1) applied knowledge, 2) interpersonal skills, and 3) work place skills.”
The School-Based SYEP is complimentary to the Community-Based SYEP and the Special Initiatives SYEP RFPs. The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (“DYCD”) is the contracting agency, and the anticipated contract start date is March 1, 2019.
Note that HSC also rated the Special Initiatives SYEP and Community-Based SYEP RFPs and the ratings are substantially similar to the School-Based SYEP.
School-Based SYEP funding is based on a price per participant allotment; however, it is not feasible to deliver a high quality program with the rates provided. Given the increased requirements for this program, notably securing space and staff to support the project-based experience, a funding increase is essential.
The School-Based SYEP requires the provider to “collect information on the hours completed in project/work sessions attended by each participant” with paper forms. Although there is a possibility that a provider may not have access to a computer, paper timesheets waste administrative resources and time that could be allocated to programs. It is necessary that there be one digitized system to capture timekeeping and payroll, which eliminates the paper process.
Project-Based v. Work-Based
The RFP states that younger youth (age 14-15) will participate in project-based learning experiences. The risk in this model is the inadequate funding to support the increased requirements. Younger youth are given a $700 stipend for participating in six weeks of project-based learning experiences, which is a small amount compared to minimum wage.
Additionally, the stipend system may deter younger youth from applying for the SYEP since many participants depend on this income to support their families. According to the Youth Employment Task Force, 77% of SYEP youth are eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and 69% of SYEP youth are eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Similarly, providers may struggle in retaining younger youth participants for six weeks, especially if they find a summer job that pays minimum wage. DYCD would still require providers to fill the spot if younger youth drop out and the new participants would be weeks behind in the program. These new participants will not be able to receive the full $700 stipend since they have not completed the six week program.
School-Based v. Community-Based
The RFP states that there will be “…gradual shifting of slots from the Community-Based model to the School-Based model, and therefore DYCD reserves the right to increase slots on the School-Based SYEP portfolio of programs.” There is no direction from DYCD as to how this will affect current School-Based SYEP contractors in terms of ramping up funding and service levels. This is a significant risk because providers hire staff and lease space based on an expectation of participants, which DYCD may increase at any time.
Moreover, although the partnership between schools and providers allow youth to be engaged academically and explore careers, there is a limited list of participating schools. If the goal of SYEP is to expand the School-Based SYEP, providers that have connections to any New York City public high school should be able to apply for this RFP to reach more participants. Also, more than one provider should be able to work with a school. For instance, two different providers can work with the younger youth and the older youth populations depending on their capacity and expertise with these different groups.
The HSC RFP Rater assesses the feasibility, opportunities, and risk in City and State human services procurements. Rater scores are based on the RFP and related documents available to the public via New York City’s HHS Accelerator or New York State’s Grants Gateway. The rater consists of 60 questions developed and tested by a team of procurement professionals. The questions are based on information that is necessary to help prospective proposers assess risk.
Each answer is weighted based on the degree of risk inherent in the subject of the question. Answers that imply low to moderate risk are allotted points on a lower scale range compared to higher risk questions. For compound questions, the answer to both parts must be “yes” or “not applicable” to be considered low risk. Scores are calculated by adding all the question scores together. The higher the score, the greater the risk. The scoring range is from 60 to 230, with zero percent risk equal to a score of 60 and the maximum risk score or 100% equal to 230 points. Users can view the answer to each question by clicking the down arrow next to each section to expand the section.
The HSC RFP Rater is not a substitute for the due diligence necessary to inform individual organization decisions.