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This post is one of a series about what goes into proposals that win grants. Its topic is personnel plans. Its context is the United States of America.

 

The ultimate success of a grant-funded project or initiative depends largely upon who does the work and how well each person does it. Descriptions of staff qualifications and roles (known also as quality of personnel narratives) help funders to decide which applicants win grants and which ones don’t.

 

Tips

 

Among the factors that reviewers often use in determining the quality of personnel who are proposed to manage or implement a grant-funded project or initiative are:

  1. Required qualifications are appropriate
  2. Actual qualifications of named key personnel are appropriate
  3. Suitable personnel are identified by name
  4. Current resumes or curricula vitae are available for all key personnel
  5. Time commitments are clear, explicit, and appropriate
  6. Experience and educational attainment levels are appropriate
  7. Position descriptions fit the specific proposal

 

Other factors that help reviewers to judge the quality of personnel include:

  1. Position descriptions include all expected elements
  2. Key personnel have outstanding professional accomplishments
  3. All key leadership positions have administrative experience
  4. A plan or policy for nondiscriminatory employment is in place
  5. Evidence is given that the applicant in fact observes its nondiscrimination policies

 

If possible, for each identified key position:

  1. Prepare a brief biographical sketch
  2. Identify each specific person by name, title or position, and affiliation
  3. State the person’s highest level of educational attainment
  4. Present and quantify the person’s relevant experience
  5. Present the person’s relevant professional accomplishments or distinctions

 

Whom an applicant proposes to do the work, manage the work, and evaluate the work can make or break its competitive grant proposal. Applicants need to be certain that their staffing plans demonstrate the organization’s capacity to deliver high-quality results.

 

What follows is a sample Position Description for a Program Developer. It is one of a series of posts of samples describing positions in a fictional STEM Partnership Project.

 

Position/Time Commitment: Project-paid Program Developer (100% FTE)

 

Name: Maria CD Garcia-Lorca, M Ed

 

Nature of Position:

Raises funds through partner contributions and through corporate, foundation, and individual donations; recommends, plans, develops, solicits, and submits capacity-building proposals for funding from non-federal sources.

 

Accountability:

This position is directly accountable to the Project Director.

 

Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Identify, select, and recommend non-federal sources of capacity-building funding
  2. Develop and submit proposals for funding to non-federal sources of capacity-building support
  3. Propose, develop, and implement strategies to raise funds through partners’ contributions
  4. Prepare and make presentations to potential individual and corporate donors
  5. Provide timely needs assessment and evaluation data to the external evaluator
  6. Assist in preparing project continuation and renewal proposals
  7. Conduct and participate in training activities related to fundraising, grant writing, and proposal development
  8. Collect and internally disseminate information on fundraising and grant writing activities, opportunities, and outcomes
  9. Assist school administrators, teachers, and IHE project partners in securing non-federal funding for school-based STEM improvement activities
  10. Meet regularly with the project staff, present and new project partners, the school district and its committees, and the project’s Partnership Advisory Team (PAT)
  11. Attend workshops and conferences on grant writing and fundraising
  12. Assist the Project Director and Project Coordinator in partnership-building activities and work closely with project partners at all levels

 

Qualifications:

  1. Master’s degree
  2. At least five years of experience in fundraising and program development
  3. Knowledge of the philosophy and goals of educational partnerships and capacity building
  4. Demonstrated success in writing funded grant applications to sources at the local, state, regional, and national levels
  5. Familiarity with the district’s STEM improvement initiatives, and with basic principles of publishing and graphic design
  6. Ability to develop promotional material
  7. Excellent writing and public speaking skills
  8. Ability to relate effectively to administrators, teachers, students, parents, public and private sector partners, potential donors, and officials of funding programs

What follows is a sample Position Description for an External Evaluator. It is one of a series of posts of samples describing positions in a fictional STEM Partnership Project.

 

Position/Time Commitment: Project-paid External Evaluator (Per Contract)

 

Name: Dr. DE Falconer

 

Nature of Position:

Provides external formative and summative evaluation services to the project consistent with its program design, evaluation plan, and federal regulations; assists in eventual submission of the project for validation as a national model.

 

Accountability:

This position is directly responsible to the Project Director.

 

Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Design an evaluation process compatible with the project’s objectives
  2. Provide interim and final evaluation reports for each project year
  3. Conduct on-site observations and consultations
  4. Review data collection, analysis, and recording processes; recommend needed modifications
  5. Assess and revise project evaluation implementation timeline and provide a schedule for conducting data gathering, analysis, and reporting
  6. Provide technical assistance as needed
  7. Prepare and submit final evaluation reports in consultation with the Project Director
  8. Attend at least one Partnership Advisory Team (PAT) meeting to outline the evaluation process
  9. Assist in assessing project participants’ training needs at the start of the project
  10. Design project questionnaires, interview protocols, checklists, rating scales, and all other project-developed instruments in consultation with project staff and consultants
  11. Assist in identifying and characterizing the non-project comparison group
  12. Communicate regularly with the Project Director concerning the evaluation process
  13. Attend and report on meetings convened by the funding program, as needed
  14. Assist in submitting the project for validation as a national model

 

Qualifications:

  1. Master’s degree in Education or a related field; a Doctorate is preferred
  2. Knowledge of and experience in assessing projects serving disadvantaged and minority high school students, evaluating partnership programs, and in managing the evaluation process
  3. Technical background in program evaluation, data collection and analysis, and reporting
  4. Familiarity with national model STEM programs
  5. Familiarity with state and national academic standards for STEM subjects

 


What follows is a sample Position Description for four fictional Consultants. It is one of a series of posts of samples describing positions in a fictional STEM Partnership Project.

 

Position/Time Commitment: Project-paid Consultants (4 x 50% FTE Each)

 

Names: Dr. FR Riviera, Dr. Huang Ho, Dr NP Acadia, and Dr K Nallanayagam

 

Nature of Position:

Assists in developing STEM materials for project students; trains staff in using educational technologies and new content area materials; designs, demonstrates, and models project-specific instructional strategies; facilitates annual STEM summer camps

 

Accountability:

This position is directly responsible to the Project Director and to their respective partnering University Institutes and Engineering Centers of Excellence.

 

Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Assist in implementing project goals and objectives
  2. Deliver appropriate pre-service and in-service training for instructional staff
  3. Model project instructional strategies for classroom teachers
  4. Coordinate training with state and national standards
  5. Design and develop culturally relevant STEM materials
  6. Recruit and arrange for university students to mentor and tutor project students
  7. Link students’ STEM instruction with their family and community backgrounds
  8. Assist classroom teachers in organizing classrooms for technology-based learning
  9. Organize and run annual on-campus STEM summer camps
  10. Organize on-campus visits and campus/program tours for project students
  11. Facilitate dissemination and marketing at campus, state, and national levels
  12. Facilitate coordination with activities of project partners
  13. Integrate STEM training with career awareness
  14. Facilitate project-wide use of emerging instructional technologies
  15. Link project students to IHE role models of similar backgrounds
  16. Participate in the Partnership Advisory Team’s (PAT) meetings
  17. Consult with the Project Director in fundraising and grant writing activities
  18. Perform any related tasks as designated by agreement of the Project Director and Directors of respective partnering University Institutes and Engineering Centers of Excellence.

 

Qualifications:

  1. Doctoral degree (PhD or EdD) in a STEM discipline
  2. Knowledge of and experience with technology-based instruction
  3. Experience in training high school teachers, in conducting similar STEM programs, and in grant writing and implementing funded projects
  4. Familiarity with state and national standards, with the educational needs of disadvantaged and minority students, and with the state’s minority cultures

 

A Personnel Plan describes who will do the work of a project or initiative. Funding for the positions may come from a grant, an applicant, a partnership, or other sources. Identified personnel will do the work needed to accomplish proposed objectives.

Position descriptions often form part of a Personnel Plan. A position description should list every essential duty and responsibility for every person to be paid out of a grant request. It also should reflect the local labor market and local realities of personnel recruitment, as well as local precedents for similar positions.

If specific persons are named in the plan, their personal qualifications should fit the required qualifications in the position descriptions. An applicant should inform such persons that by naming them it is not entering a contract to hire them if a proposal is funded.

In ordinary practice, an applicant’s actual hiring decisions, enacted by its Human Resources Office, normally follow rather than precede its notification of a funding outcome.

Designing Personnel Plans:

In planning to describe a Personnel Plan in a proposal, several questions prove useful:

Qualifications: What professional credentials must each position have? What level of educational attainment will each position need? What training, background, and experience will each position need? Will a position require any special skills or proficiencies?

Accountability: For what organization will each person work? Who will supervise each position? Who will assess and verify the applicants’ qualifications for each position?

Time Commitments: Will a position be full-time or part-time? Will the position be internal or external, exempt or non-exempt?

Nature of Position: What core functions will a position fulfill? Who will provide leadership and oversight for each position? Who will provide clerical support, if any?

Responsibilities: What will be the specific, key areas of responsibility for each position? How will each position fit into the organizational chart and management plan?

Budget: What will personnel cost? How will each position be financed? How will you absorb key positions when a grant ends? How will you determine which positions, if any, to absorb?

This post is one in a series about questions useful in planning competitive grant proposals.

Proposals that win grants for K-12 education have many predictable information needs. Applicants that have already such information on hand before the announcement of a grant opportunity greatly improve the likelihood of funding.

 

Applicants may not need to provide every item listed here in every staffing plan; however, among the proposal narrative elements they should anticipate are: local non-discriminatory employment plans, position descriptions, résumés or vitae, time commitments, and local salary/wage schedules.

 

Non-Discriminatory Employment Plans:

  1. Description of local staff recruitment and retention plan
  2. Description of local non-discriminatory employment (or affirmative action) plan
  3. Evidence of compliance with local non-discriminatory employment (or affirmative action) plan
  4. Number and ratio of proposed staff members by categories such as: elderly, racial/ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and women
  5. Number and ratio of existing staff members by categories such as: elderly, racial/ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and women

 

Position Descriptions:

  1. Position descriptions for all personnel to be paid for out of a new grant
  2. Position descriptions for all other project-related key personnel

 

Résumés and Curricula Vitae:

  1. Résumés for all personnel to be paid for out of a new grant
  2. Résumés for all other project-related key personnel to be involved in the proposed project

 

Time Commitments and Wages/Salaries:

  1. Time commitments for all anticipated personnel as percent of full-time equivalent (or % FTE)
  2. Local salary and wage schedules for all positions to appear in the proposal’s itemized budget
  3. Analysis of anticipated time and effort for all positions (sorted by key functions/tasks)

 

Later posts will cover information needs for other aspects of educational grant proposals.

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