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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Seeking a Manufacturing/Energy Curriculum Developer

SER Metro Detroit, Jobs for Progress, Inc.
Bridge Program Curriculum Development


I.               WHO WE ARE

SER Metro Detroit, Jobs for Progress, Inc. is a not-for-profit employment and training organization.  Its mission is to promote economic self-sufficiency and upward mobility among low-income community residents through employment and training services.  SER is headquartered in the Southwest neighborhood of Detroit but operates programs that serve residents from across the city of Detroit and Wayne County.  SER operates multiple employment and training programs that seek to meet the needs of both job seekers and employers. 

This includes the newly developed Career Bridge of Metro Detroit initiative that seeks to assist low-skilled, low-income community residents in improving their basic literacy and numeracy skills so they may access college-level occupational training programs in demand fields such as Manufacturing and Energy Efficiency/Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC). 


SER is in the process of developing a Bridge program in the Manufacturing and Energy Efficiency/HVAC sectors.  Bridge programs are defined as those that include the following key elements: contextualized instruction (basic reading, math, and language skills and industry/occupation knowledge); career development (career exploration and planning; understanding the world of work); and transition services (case management, financial and personal supports, tutoring).  These programs have been proven successful in breaking down the obstacles that have long kept low-literacy adults from getting ahead economically.  They are more effective than traditional adult education programs in quickly improving the basic skill levels of adults and assisting learners in transitioning to occupational training and employment along a career pathway.  

SER is seeking the services of one or more contractors to develop one to two contextualized basic skills curricula in Spring of 2013, with work beginning immediately upon selection of the contractor(s).  One curriculum will be taught in the context of careers in the manufacturing field and the other in the context of careers in the energy efficiency/HVAC field.  Both should assist students in improving reading comprehension, writing and math skills while exposing them to concepts, practices and knowledge of the associated industry sector(s) in an integrated fashion.  The ultimate goal of the curriculum is to prepare students to achieve the college entrance exam scores they need to place into occupational training programs; the contextualized basic skills training will “bridge” them into college. 

Contextualized teaching and learning integrates several key instruction techniques; “according to contextualized learning theory, learning occurs only when students (learners) process new information or knowledge in such a way that it makes sense to them in their own frames of reference (their own inner worlds of memory, experience, and response).”[1]  Contextualized instruction uses the following approaches:[2]
  • New concepts are presented in real-life situations;
  • Concepts are presented in the context of their use;
  • New concepts are presented in the context of what the student already knows;
  • Examples and exercises include many real, believable problem-solving situations that students can recognize as being important to their current or possible future lives;
  • Lessons and activities encourage the student to apply concepts and information in useful contexts, projecting the student into imagined futures (e.g., possible careers) and unfamiliar locations (e.g., workplaces);
  • Students are expected to participate regularly in interactive groups where sharing, communicating, and responding to the important concepts and decision-making occur;
  • Lessons, exercises, and labs improve students’ written and oral communication skills in addition to reading and mathematical achievement.
SER is seeking a contractor who can develop this curricula and is open to hiring a contractor to do both curricula or to hiring a contractor for each curriculum.  Specifically, the Contractor will:
  • Create a Manufacturing contextualized basic skills curriculum that:
    • Integrates knowledge of the manufacturing field into lesson plans and also utilizes the teaching approaches summarized above. 
    • Targets learners between the 8.0 and 10.9 grade level in reading and/or math and effectively prepares them to enroll into an occupational training program that requires a 11th to 12th grade level in reading and math (TABE Reading score of 11.0+ and TABE Math score of 11.0+ or a National Career Readiness Certificate - Silver Level).
    • Can be taught in an intensive, full-time schedule over the course of 8 to 10 weeks, not exceeding 275 hours of instruction.
  • Create an Energy Efficiency/HVAC contextualized basic skills curriculum that:
    • Integrates knowledge of the energy efficiency/HVAC field into lesson plans and also utilizes the teaching approaches summarized above. 
    • Targets learners below the 12th grade level in math and effectively prepares them to enroll into an occupational training program that requires a 12th grade level in math (TABE Math score of 12.9) and an understanding of advanced algebra and geometry.
    • Can be taught in an intensive, full-time schedule over the course of 8 to 10 weeks or a part-time schedule over the course of 14 to 16 weeks, not exceeding 275 hours of instruction.
  • Work with instructors or professionals from the manufacturing or HVAC/energy efficiency fields to develop the industry content of the curriculum, or possess that knowledge themselves.
  • Prepare a curriculum that includes a syllabus, proposed class schedule, daily lesson plans, exercises and worksheets for students, and other learning materials. 

Goals of SER’s Bridge programs:
  • To improve the employment prospects of lower-skilled, low-income job seekers
  • To equip individuals with the basic literacy and math skills they need to achieve college entrance exam scores that are required to access occupational training at the college level
  • To assist job seekers in completing an occupational training program that leads to a credential or certificate recognized by employers
  • To maintain high rates of retention and completion through the program, which is far likelier with a contextualized basic skills curriculum
  • To expand SER’s successful Nursing Bridge program to other occupations and sectors

Eligibility Requirements for Contractor:

  • Ability to make the commitment to the timeframe identified above. 
  • Ability to receive and respond to email and to access the Internet through a reliable means.


Required Qualifications for Contractor:

1)    In-depth knowledge of curriculum development (especially adult basic education)
2)    Familiarity with and experience in developing a contextualized curriculum
3)    Experience developing curricula for low-skilled, low-income populations
4)    Strong writing and communication skills
5)    Strong time management skills; ability to meet deadlines
6)    Master’s degree in Education or a related field, or bachelor’s degree combined with significant experience

Preferred Qualifications for Contractor:

1)    Knowledge of workforce development issues, trends, needs, etc.
2)    Knowledge of the manufacturing and/or energy efficiency/HVAC sectors
3)   Past experience developing curricula that have been used successfully by other organizations and ability to document this success.

Submission Requirements:

Applicants must submit the items listed below via email to Michelle Rafferty, Director of Research and Development, SER Metro Detroit at as soon as possible, preferably by April 15th, 2013.  Proposals will be reviewed as they are submitted and a contractor may be selected prior to April 15th; please submit your response as soon as possible.  Proposals may be accepted after this date if a qualified contractor has not yet been identified; if after April 15th, 2013, please send an email to Michelle Rafferty to inquire as to whether proposals are still being accepted.

1.    Proposal addressing the following (three-page limit):
o   Why are you interested in this project?
o   What in your background makes you a strong candidate for this position?
o   Summary of your experience as related to the list of qualifications for the position and the scope of services (please address all qualifications listed)
o   Proposed timeline for the project, including the earliest possible date of completion of the curriculum/curricula.
2.    Current resume.
3.    A budget for this work. Please specify whether the budget is for one curriculum or both curricula.  If for both, please separate out the cost for each one.
4.    Three (3) references from individuals who can attest to your suitability for the tasks.
5.    A sample curriculum outline developed by the applicant that is similar to that required for this project.


This request for qualifications does not commit SER Metro Detroit, Jobs for Progress, Inc. to award a contract or to pay costs incurred in the preparation of a proposal in response to this request. SER reserves the right to accept or reject any or all proposals received as a result of this request, or to cancel any or all of this Request for Qualifications, if it is considered in the best interest of SER. SER may require the proposer selected for various projects to participate in negotiations, and to submit to such price, technical or other information as may be needed to finalize a particular engagement for services.


For further information about this RFQ, contact Michelle Rafferty, Director of Research and Development, SER Metro Detroit, Jobs for Progress, Inc., at

[2] List adapted from

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