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FAQ: Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Program for Paraprofessionals

Funding Opportunity Number: HRSA-21-090

I. Application Submission

II. Applicant Eligibility

III. Accreditation

IV. Use of BHWET Para Funds

V. Experiential Field Placements (Level I)

VI. Apprenticeships (Level II

VII. Funding Preference and Priority

VIII. General

Application Submission

  1. How can I get a copy of the full notice of funding opportunity (NOFO)? 

    Access the full FY21 BHWET-Paraprofessionals NOFO (PDF - 551 KB).

  2. Do all attachments count toward the page limit? 

    Yes. All attachments count toward the page limit except OMB forms. 

    Print your application in its entirety including the attachment to ensure that you do not exceed the 80-page limit. 

    Application will be non-responsive if it exceeds the 80-page limit. Refer to page 9 of the NOFO for more information.

  3. Where do I find instructions about font size and other format requirements?

    You can find formatting instructions in HRSA’s SF-424 R&R Application Guide (PDF - 880 KB).

  4. If an attachment is not applicable, should we skip that number in the attachment section or renumber the attachments?

    Do not renumber the attachments. Submit attachments with the same numbers as we specify in the NOFO. 

  5. Can an application have more than one Program Director/Program Investigator? 

    HRSA only recognizes one Program Director/Program Investigator, who will be accountable to HRSA. However, applicants can identify multiple key personnel in their proposal.

Applicant Eligibility

  1. If a training placement does not serve a high need, high demand population or area, would an application be eligible?

    Application may still be eligible if it meets the other requirements of the NOFO, however you will not receive the 5 points for this Review Criterion. 

  2. Are federally recognized tribes eligible applicants? 
      
    Eligible applicants include state-licensed mental health nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Refer to Section III.1 of the NOFO (PDF - 551 KB), pages 6-7 and definitions pages 42-44. 

  3. Are existing HRSA grantees eligible for this grant? If our trainees receive stipends under the OIFSP are they eligible to receive stipends under FY21 BHWET Para?

    Yes. Existing HRSA grant recipients may apply as long as they meet the eligibility requirements. 

    If you are receiving participant support by a HRSA training grant, then you may not receive concurrent participant support from another HRSA grant. 

  4. Our state has an agency that specifically certifies and funds SUD prevention, treatment, recovery, and training programs. Would nonprofits certified by this state agency be eligible to apply?

    Yes. Entities must be accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency, as specified by the U.S. Department of Education or be approved by the state government to provide a behavioral health-related paraprofessional certificate program. 

    You must provide a copy of your active accreditation or active approval from the state government as Attachment 6.

  5. Are nonprofits who are authorized trainers for BH courses by a state agency or licensing board eligible to apply?

    Yes. State-licensed mental health nonprofit and for-profit organizations are eligible. Refer to page 44 of the NOFO for definitions. 

  6. My organization has one program that holds a State license; and the majority of our services are peer run. We are a not-for-profit community-based organization and are not an academic or educational agency. Are we still eligible to apply?

    Yes. As long as you meet the other requirements in the NOFO. Refer to page 5 for eligibility information. 

  7. Are Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) that are approved to provide BH continuing education training eligible for the program?

    Yes. AHECs that meet the eligibility requirements described in the NOFO are eligible. They should be accredited and must offer a behavioral health certificate.

  8.  Can you provide examples of what you mean by technology integration? 

    Revision: Examples of technology integration are: 

    • Utilizing telehealth services
    • Implementing strategies to increase digital health literacy
    • Offering distant learning options

    Refer to Page 2 of the NOFO for more information on program objectives. 

  9. Applicants without at least one BH-related professional certificate program already in place, would be INELIGIBLE for the BHWET grant. Correct?

    Correct. If your program meets this definition, then they would satisfy this requirement. 

  10. Are undergraduate social work students eligible if they are not going directly into an MSW program?

    The purpose of the BHWET Program for Paraprofessionals is to increase the supply of students preparing to become peer support specialists and other behavioral health-related paraprofessionals. Refer to Section VIII, page 42 for a full list of occupations and program specific definitions. 

Accreditation

  1. Does the paraprofessional program have to be certified, by the state, political subdivision and/or Department of Education? 

    Yes. Entities must be accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency, as specified by the U.S. Department of Education or be approved by the state government to provide a behavioral health-related paraprofessional certificate program. You must provide a copy of their active accreditation or active approval from the state government as Attachment 6.

  2. We are in the process of applying for accreditation, but we will not have our official accreditation letter until after the NOFO deadline. Can we still apply? 

    No. Applicants must be accredited at the time of their application submission and provide documentation of their institution’s accreditation letter as Attachment 6.

  3. Would community health workers be an acceptable paraprofessional for this announcement?

    Yes. Eligible entities must offer a certificate to the trainees upon completion of a program in a paraprofessional behavioral health related field. 

Use of BHWET Para Funds

Infrastructure

  1. Can applicants use funds to develop a new program that included internships? Does the program already have to be in place and funds are used to expand it? 

    You must be accredited at the time of their application submission and provide documentation of their institution’s accreditation letter as Attachment 6 (Per NOFO (PDF - 551 KB)). 

    Note: Applicants cannot use funds to develop a completely new program.

  2. Will budget allow for purchase of hardware, software for participant trainees and faculty?

    Yes. The purchase of hardware for participant trainees and faculty are allowable costs. 

    If the hardware or software meets the definition of “supplies”, then any supply cost for program participants’ use in their training may be allocated out the participant supply portion up to $3,000. Supply costs for the recipients’ use must be allocated out of the 60% administrative costs (for Level I) and 50%(for both Level I and Level II). 

    This purchase can also be requested out of the One-time funds. One-time funds are to be included in the Year 1 budget form and then clearly broken out in the budget justification. Refer to page 21 of the NOFO for more information on the purpose and use of one-time funds.

Stipends/Tuition Support

  1. Is there an indirect ceiling or cap? 

    Yes. The 8% training rate applies. Items such as equipment, tuition and fees, sub awards and subcontracts in excess of 25,000 are excluded from the base calculation.

  2. Are stipends for the students taxed?

    HRSA cannot provide tax advice. There is a paragraph about this in the Grants Policy Statement (P. II-109). We encourage all applicants and grantees to become familiar with the HHS Grants Policy Statement (PDF - 1 MB)

  3. Can the one time money be used to hire a person to help develop/partner with the project? One time money?

    No. This would not meet the intent of the one-time funds. Refer to page 21 of the NOFO (PDF - 551 KB) for more information on the purpose and use of one-time funds. 

  4. Do you include the one-time funding request with the Year 1 SF-424 form, and use the budget justification to explain which items are one-time fund requests?

    Yes. One-time funds should be included in the Year 1 budget form and then clearly broken out in the budget justification.

  5. Will these funds pay for health insurance cost for the stipend recipient?

    Yes. Health insurance is an allowable cost for participant trainees. You may include trainee health insurance in the budget. However, the costs would have to be allocated out of the admin portion, not the allowed participant trainee support costs (tuition/fees, supplies and stipend), unless health insurance is a required fee for student registration. 

    If the health insurance is classified as a required fee for student registration, in accordance with institutional policies and procedures, the health insurance fee may be included in the participant support allocation. 

    HRSA Grant Recipients may not offset the amount of stipends for tuition, fees, health insurance, or other costs associated with the training program. 

    The BHWET grant does not set rules for how trainees expend their stipends. Trainees have the latitude to spend the stipend funds as they deem reasonable. 

    Example: Costs associated with housing, transportation and health care.

  6. Can the administrative and management portion of the budget support staff or faculty salaries?

    Yes. Over the course of the four years, up to 40% (for Level I) and 50% (for both Level I and Level II) of funding is for administrative and management activities. Including 8% indirect costs and other expenses that support the programmatic requirements as described in this NOFO.

  7. How much total from the BHWET Para funding can a trainee receive?

    Trainees in Level I (pre-service) can receive up to $8,000 total, including $5,000 for stipends and $3,000 for tuition, fees and supplies. 

    If the trainee enters into Level II apprenticeship (in-service), they may receive $7,500 stipend for a minimum of 12 months.

  8. What needs to be included in the student letter of commitment? Are they required from each applicant?

    Yes. You must include, as Attachment 7, a sample student letter of commitment. Refer to page 24 of the NOFO for the student commitment letter requirements.

  9. What does the Student Disbursement Plan need to include?

    You must include a disbursement plan for the provision of trainee support (stipends, tuition/fees, supplies) to trainees during the required experiential training. 

    The plan must include at a minimum the disbursement schedule/rate of that support and should be consistent with the institution’s policies and procedures, per the NOFO.

  10. My organization does not have a structured tuition and fee rate. We charge a small fee for the certificate, but it does not cover the cost of the training instructors or course materials for instructors. How do we budget for tuition and fee costs?

    You can still apply for this funding opportunity if your organization does not have a formal tuition and fee structure. 

    You must clearly itemize all of the costs that go into calculating the unstructured tuition and fee rate, total the costs and provide a cost per trainee, which cannot exceed the NOFO stated levels. 

    Example: This might include:

    • Cost for instructors
    • Instructor materials and supplies
    • Facility use cost for trainees
    • Cost of issuing a certificate, etc. 

    Note: This cannot include project staff, project staff travel, trainee supplies, trainee travel, and other trainee related costs. 

Experiential Level I (Pre-Service Training)

  1. In regards to Table 1, Attachment 4, we anticipate partnering with multiple experiential field placement sites. Should we list all of these training sites within Attachment 4, or only select a few sites to highlight?

    You must list all of the experiential field placement sites in Table 1. 

  2. Given the page count, do we need to include Letters of Agreement (LOA) for all training sites we will be using, or should we pick several to highlight? We anticipate potentially 15 training sites. Is there any specific language the LOA's need to include?

    LOAs for all training sites need to be included and will go towards the applicant’s page count. 

    You can have the option to format multiple LOAs onto one page of the application. All LOAs must be legible. Refer to Attachment 2 of the NOFO (PDF - 551 KB) for specific language of the LOAs. 

  3. Do field placement sites need to be HRSA-funded sites?

    No. Field placement sites are not required to be HRSA-funded sites. 

    Experiential training sites must participate in integrated, interprofessional team based practices with a special focus on Level I pre-service training in a behavioral health-related paraprofessional field. Refer to Page 10 of the NOFO.

    Note: Applicants must submit agreements and/or contracts with the experiential training sites that meet these criteria in Attachment 2.

Apprenticeships (Level II)

  1. If you have a Level I only application, do you still have to have 50% of participants go into Level II registered apprenticeships?

    No. The requirement of 50% of participants should go into registered apprenticeships is only required if you are implementing both Level I and Level II in your training program. 

  2. If applying for both levels, is it possible to only be approved for Level I?

    If you apply for both levels then you will be scored on both levels. We cannot award a portion of the project.

  3. Where can I get assistance in starting an apprenticeship program?

    Use Registered Apprenticeship 101 Bootcamp for help in starting an apprenticeship program. 

  4. Can I partner with any apprenticeship? Am I able to partner with more than one registered apprenticeship program?

    Yes. You may partner with more than one apprenticeship program, but each must be registered with the Department of Labor or State Apprenticeship Agency. 

    Refer to the Partner Finder if you want to become a Registered Apprenticeship, or to partner with a Registered Apprenticeship Program Sponsor or Training Provider. 

    You can access a list of apprentice programs by state

  5. How do trainees enter into a registered apprenticeship program?

    Grant recipients will determine which trainees will be eligible for an apprenticeship and may refer a trainee to receive in-service training. 

    Trainees may receive training by entering into a registered apprenticeship. 

  6. What is the duration of Level II in-service training?

    The duration of a Level II in-service training will be a minimum of 12 months. The grant recipient is required to track the apprenticeship status of the apprentice. 

  7. Do I need to submit MOUs with registered apprenticeship sites at the time of application?

    No. You don't need to submit an MOU with the registered apprenticeship sites at the time of application. You will be allowed a maximum of 12 months from the date of your notice of award to develop an MOU and submit it to HRSA. 

  8. Is it a requirement for all trainees in Level I to enroll in Level II registered apprenticeship program?

    Yes. Trainees will aim for at least 50% of the Level I pre-service program completers to enter into a registered apprenticeship program (Level II in-service training). 

  9. Where can we find information about state specific contacts for apprenticeship?

    Get state-specific contracts for apprenticeships

  10. Would we have to become registered with our state as a DOL approved apprenticeship site?

    Yes. You may develop your own registered apprenticeship program or establish a partnership with an existing registered apprenticeship program that has registered with the Department of Labor or with a State Apprenticeship Agency.

  11. The NOFO says, full-time trainee may receive $7,500 per year and $3,750 per year for part time trainees, for each level of training attained, up to a maximum of four (4) years.” Where can we find more information about various levels of training?

    Refer to pages 10-11 of the NOFO (PDF - 551 KB) provide information regarding the levels of training. 

Funding Preference and Priority

  1. How do I meet the funding priority? 

    HRSA will give priority to any applicant whose training emphasizes: 

    • Role of the family 
    • Lived experience of the consumer
    • Family-paraprofessional partnerships 

    Note: Meeting this criteria will add an additional 5 points to your score. HRSA staff will determine whether applicants meet the funding priority. You must provide supporting information and data in Attachment 11 to qualify.

  2. Is there a funding preference for this NOFO?

    Yes. There is a funding preference for any qualified applicant above the 20th percentile of proposals that was recommended for approval. Refer to page 34 of the NOFO for more information. 

General

  1. Is there an emphasis on rural settings?

    Yes. There is emphasis to develop and expand the behavioral health workforce in rural and underserved areas. 

  2. Is there a minimum number of trainees to develop?

    No. There is not a minimum number of trainees to develop. 

  3. Where can I find the list of MUCs (Medically Underserved Communities)?

    Here is a list of MUCs

  4. If you are training several different types of paraprofessionals, example: recovery coaches, promotoro/as, would you need different curricula?

    Your institution to decide what curriculum to use for each paraprofessional occupation. 

    Note: All trainees will receive education and training on integrated, interprofessional teams to provide direct care services to families and individuals including children whose parents or guardians impacted by OUD and other SUD.

  5. What is the targeted age for the children in this NOFO?

    The targeted age groups for this NOFO are the following:

    • Children under 18 years old
    • Adolescents (10-19 years old)
    • Transitional-aged youth (16-24 years old)
    • Young adulthood (24-26 years old)
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