Deadline
-
May 23, 2024
3:00 pm
ET

Automotive Supplier Diversification and Conversion Playbook Deployment - Industrial Assessments Centers Program

Information

Description

Electrification of the transportation sector offers the opportunity for the U.S. to lead the development of how vehicles are manufactured and used, the infrastructure needed to maintain them, and the jobs associated with their assembly and maintenance.  As industry continues to invest in electrification across this supply chain, many “upstream” and“downstream” effects are likely, including shifts in supply chain processes and industries (e.g. electrical components), as well as induced changes in interconnected industries (e.g., battery manufacturing – although this is beyond the scope of this solicitation).

This solicitation seeks applications for teams to identify small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) within the current automotive supply chain that are poised to expand or transition towards manufacturing components for electric vehicles or other clean energy technologies and provide technical assistance to guide these SMMs in that transition.  These teams will participate in an exercise to draw on and inform a practical set of technical, financial, and strategic guidance – a playbook – specifically targeted at these SMMs to help  identify opportunities to expand or transition their operations,  to pressure-test the business case for doing so, and to understand workforce and financing considerations and how to address them.

Of course, the playbook cannot envision or provide step-by-step guidance on every possible opportunity, so it is expected that many manufacturers will benefit from additional technical assistance to help translate the guidance in the playbook into practical action and business plans. This solicitation is intended to identify teams who can provide that technical assistance, using the playbook as a resource.

The playbook, prepared by Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), and supported by the DOE, is expected to be completed in an initial form in or around June of 2024.  It will build on an analysis by ANL on the automotive supply chain and is supplemented by private sector expertise on the engineering, business strategy, workforce, and financing aspects of transitioning from the manufacturing of components for internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to electric vehicle (EV) components –or potentially to other clean energy-related products entirely. Examples of potential product lines being explored in the development of the ANL playbook include:

  • Manufacturing of EV components that can be made on similar equipment as is being used for ICE vehicle manufacturing, such as battery cases or cooling systems;
  • Manufacturing of components used in electric or clean-fuel autos, heavy trucks, off-road equipment, or recreational products that are currently imported but could be profitably returned to domestic production due to increases in regional value content, and that are readily produceable by many manufacturers currently making ICE components;
  • Manufacturing of products used in growing industries that may support clean energy and other supply chains, such as for heat pumps, transformers, water systems, semiconductors, and some defense industries;
  • Manufacturing process revisions to support fuel systems manufacturing relevant to fuel cells and hydrogen storage; and
  • Modification of exhaust systems to capture fine particles from brake wear or other sources of PM2.5 than combustion or modified for air filtration products.

This deployment effort will explore the transferability of existing automotive component manufacturing equipment, processes, and workforce capabilities to enable new production lines for the most promising market opportunities, as well as new equipment, processes, or workforce capabilities and considerations to support electrification and decarbonization efforts across the economy.

Objective

The objective of this solicitation is to establish teams of technical assistance providers that will identify interested SMMs and work directly with those SMMs to test and deploy the initial version of the playbook.The technical assistance providers will assist SMMs implement playbook guidance in transitioning or converting all or a portion of their existing manufacturing processes within the ICE vehicle supply chain to the EV supply chain, or to entirely new product lines that are complementary to their existing expertise and/or production facilities.  Feedback from the technical assistance teams will inform revisions to the playbook, that will ultimately be made publicly available to benefit all interested SMMs. The Objective StrategicSession that will be held roughly a week after this solicitation’s release (see below for dates) will include an update from ANL on the playbook’s work in progress, as context for application teams.

Purpose

DOE, in collaboration with its PartnershipIntermediary, ENERGYWERX, intends to establish 3-5 teams of technical assistance providers affiliated with an institution of higher education, trade school, or union training program-based industrial research, assessment, or deployment program, along with their partners. Prospective teams will be composed of U.S. Department of Energy-supported Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs) or other entities eligible to serve as IACs (i.e., universities, community colleges and systems, trade schools, and union training programs) and are encouraged to include partners such as:

  • U.S. Department of Commerce-supported Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEPs),
  • National Laboratories,
  • Trade associations, and
  • Other private, nonprofit, and public sector supported entities.

The ideal teams will include a range of expertise, including:

  • Engineering and manufacturing process expertise,
  • Automotive industry and supply chain expertise,
  • Business strategy and financing expertise,
  • Workforce development, worker retention and re-skilling, and job quality expertise, and
  • Community and Labor engagement expertise.

Teams will ultimately identify and work with several interested SMMs located within their respective regions to test the playbook’s effectiveness in guiding new product line strategies, opportunities, and action plans – with a particular emphasis on Tier 2+suppliers (i.e., suppliers to the suppliers of original equipment manufacturers). This effort will require an extended consultation process between the technical assistance providers and the individual SMMs involving multiple on-site visits or remote discussions over a 2 to 6-month period. If they are not already a part of the IAC program, selected team leads will formally become industrial research, assessment, and deployment centers as part of the broader IAC network.

After each consultation phase – which may also include elements of a traditional IAC assessment of energy cost savings, material efficiency, and waste/pollution reduction -- the teams will organize around table of participating SMMs and other local and community stakeholders(e.g., Workforce Investment Boards, Department of Labor resources) to gather feedback on the playbook’s effectiveness at guiding the SMMs transition efforts.  Based on this feedback, the playbook development team at ANL will then revise sections of the playbook and related protocols to improve its effectiveness as well as to help ensure it is digestible and usable for small business audiences. The revision process will consider the following:

  • Job types and titles, worker counts, assessment of job quality, and the skills needed for the most promising market opportunities, and how they may draw on, or differ from, current auto supplier workforces. This activity will place a particular emphasis on opportunities to: upskill and retain workers at similar or higher wages;     assist in identifying the ease of industry transferability from the workers' perspectives via skills identification/skills matching exercises; and provide an indication of the amount of additional training that will be needed for job types that cannot easily transition and where geographically targeted workforce development interventions can have the largest impacts. This activity will also refine the playbook’s considerations of the worker health and safety imperatives in product line     diversification or transition (e.g., for handling hazardous chemicals or electrically charged components), which are central to workers’ rights/labor management structures and agreements.
  • An evaluation of the alternatives to finance or receive technical assistance and/or consulting services to facilitate these production line changes (e.g., including federal grant programs, SBA loan programs, etc.). In this step, the playbook development partner(s) will engage example SMMs to understand their financing needs, challenges, and awareness of various mechanisms; collect and perform due diligence on additional financing sources or mechanisms; and provide example high-level financial modeling, scenario planning, or case study drafts to help SMMs understand financing opportunities and considerations.
  • An evaluation of alternatives for assisting firms in entering new markets. SMM transition opportunities may involve new customers. In this step, the playbook development partner(s) -- particularly MEPs due to their expertise in supplier scouting/tools to integrate training, skills and job quality objective – will engage example SMMs to understand challenges, opportunities, and awareness in seeking new commercial opportunities; collect and identify additional means of providing information about and introductions to potential new industries; and provide case study drafts to help SMMs understand new marketing opportunities and considerations.

Following each substantial iteration of the playbook, the technical assistance provider teams will identify a new set of SMMs to further evaluate the feasibility of the newly revised playbook.  This process will continue for at least two iterations (more if resources allow) and ideally until such time as MESC determines it has completed a concise, user-friendly, action-oriented playbook for SMMs. The playbook will be available online at no cost and promoted to firms and their unions via industry associations, consultants, non-profits, and USG convenings.  

Event Updates

How to Participate

  1. Review the resources from the Informational Webinar/Objective Strategic Session on April 23, 2024 from 3:00 - 4:00 PM ET
  2. Review the resources from the Informational Office Hours session on May 9, 2024 from 3:00 - 4:00 PM ET
  3. Download the Solicitation: Click Here to Download
  4. Complete submission and upload here: Click Here to Submit (Submissions are due NLT May 23, 2024 by 3:00 PM ET)
    - Narrative application questions are limited to a 500-word limit
  5. Please provide a two-year budget containing the prime recipient and all sub-recipients, labor costs, travel cost, other direct costs, and any indirect costs for the proposed scope of work. A template is available here: Click Here to Download Template
    - You may present this budget information using whatever format you prefer; however, a template has been provided as an example.
  6. Please submit letters of commitment from all subrecipients. Each letter must not exceed 1 page. Save the letters of commitment into a single PDF using the following naming convention for the title "LeadOrganization_LOCs".
    - Letters of commitment should include sufficient information for DOE to identify the individual/organization. Also include a summary of the extent/level of commitment that will be provided.

Please email info@energywerx.org with any issues or questions you may have regarding the application process.

Important Dates

Opportunity Announcement

To support the goal of building a clean and equitable energy economy, applicants are expected to ensure the network promotes DOE’s community benefits priorities, namely: (i) providing meaningful community and labor engagement; (ii) investing in high-quality jobs and a skilled workforce; (iii) advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility; and (iv) contributing to the President’s Justice40 Initiative goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities (DACs). For more on how DOE defines each area, please see: https://www.energy.gov/infrastructure/about-community-benefits-plans.

Objective Strategic Session

Is this a meaningful opportunity for your organization? Do you need more information to help you decide? Please attend the Strategic Session [April 23, 2024 from 3:00 - 4:00 PM ET] to ask questions and to gain a better understanding of IAC program requirements.

Information "Office Hours" Session(s)

Informational Office Hours [May 9, 2024 from 3:00 -4:00 PM ET] ENERGYWERX and the U.S. Department of Energy will host open office hours for potential applicants. Participants are encouraged to come prepared to ask questions.

Submission Deadline(s)

Submissions are due NLT May 23, 2024 by 3:00 PM ET

Process Details

Timeline(s)

Submissions Open (April 11, 2024 to May 23, 2024): Interested organizations must complete a submission form (for government review only) no later than May 23, 2024 by 3:00 PM ET. Submitters must download, complete, and upload a capabilities overview.

Informational Webinar/Objective Strategic Session (April 23, 2024 at 3:00 PM ET): Join ENERGYWERX and DOE for an informational webinar on the Automotive Supplier Diversification and Conversion Playbook Deployment from 3:00 -4:00 PM ET.

Office Hours (May 9, 2024 at 3:00 PM ET): ENERGYWERX and DOE will host open office hours for potential applicants. Participants are encouraged to come prepared to ask questions. The session will take place on May 2, 2024 from 3:00-4:00 PM ET.

Review and Down Select (May 2024 - June 2024): The IAC team will down select the respondent/submissions with the highest likelihood of satisfying project requirements. All respondents will receive a selection of non-selection notification Mid-May 2024.

Selectees Announced (Late Summer 2024)

Activities Begin (Late Summer/Early Fall 2024)

Eligibility & Review Criteria

General Eligibility Requirements

Every prime recipient and sub-recipient(s) must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Must be domestic entities. To qualify as a domestic entity, the entity must be organized, chartered, or incorporated (or otherwise formed) under the laws of a particular state or territory of the United States; have majority domestic ownership and control; and have a physical place of business in the United States.
  • In good standing for Federal program participation. Entities banned from doing business with the United States government such as entities debarred, suspended, or otherwise excluded from or ineligible for participating inFederal programs are not eligible. Additionally, nonprofit organizations described in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 that engaged in lobbying activities after December 31, 1995, are not eligible to apply for funding.
  • Must certify it is not owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of government of Country of Risk. (DOE defines Country of Risk to include China, Russia, North Korea and Iran.This list is subject to change.)

Additionally, each prime recipient needs to meet the eligibility requirements for a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law-funded IAC, including:

  • Institutions of higher education must be a U.S. college or school of engineering that is an integral part of its institutional structure and that has at least one of its four-year undergraduate programs accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission or the Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) or equivalent.
  • Community colleges, which are open-access, primarily associate degree-granting educational institutions, must be accredited by a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. These institutions also may offer other credentials (e.g., shorter-term and longer-term certificate programs) in addition to associate degrees.
  • Community college systems, which are defined as County-wide or State-wide collections of these entities, can apply on behalf of constituent colleges but must include a letter of commitment from each participating college that will be a sub-recipient.
  • Trade schools, which are defined as educational institutions other than community colleges and union training programs, must be approved by a State agency or subdivision of the State or accredited by a State-recognized or nationally recognized accrediting body to provide technical, trade or vocational training. Trade schools may include entities that are nested within larger institutions that grant bachelor’s or graduate degrees (e.g., extension schools); however, the proposed project scope from that entity must focus on students who are seeking non-bachelor’s or non-graduate degree credentials.
  • Union Training Programs, which are defined as credential-granting training programs (including affiliated registered apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, and labor-management training programs) administered by (a) a union or group of unions certified by the National LaborRelations Board or (b) a Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee composed of an equal number of representatives of relevant employer(s) and employees represented by a collective bargaining agreement.
  • Other entities supported by other public sector entities (e.g., the U.S. Department of Commerce-supported Manufacturing Extension Partnership Centers).

Review Criteria

Applications will be evaluated against the technical review criteria shown below. All sub-criteria are of equal weight.

Criterion 1: Project Management Approach (30%)

This criterion involves consideration of the following factors:

  • Demonstrated understanding of the automotive supply chain, as well as deployment program goals, objectives, and responsibilities.
  • Effectiveness of proposed organizational model for providing in-depth technical assistance to the automotive supply chain.
  • Demonstrated ability to use technology and data tools to respond to the business development and operational performance needs of the automotive supply chain.
  • Ability to identify pressures or opportunities outside the SMMs - and to carry out targeted outreach to labor or community stakeholders.
  • Adequacy of identification of market and operational risks and timely and appropriate strategies for mitigation and resolution.

Criterion 2:  Project Team, Past Performance, and Resources (50%)

This criterion involves consideration of the following factors:

  • Technical expertise and experience working with small- and medium-sized manufacturers within the automotive supply chain to improve competitiveness, energy and material efficiency, and productivity and to identify and exploit market expansion and conversion opportunities.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide or facilitate high-quality technical assistance to small- and medium-sized manufacturers within the automotive supply chain regarding existing and emerging technologies, tools, and practices.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders including direct engagement with relevant labor and community stakeholders to enhance the performance and resilience of the automotive supply chain.
  • Demonstrated experience engaging in broad regional outreach to small- and medium-sized manufacturers within the automotive supply chain -- particularly manufacturers in disadvantaged communities.
  • Demonstrated expertise coordinating and collaborating with stakeholders to develop and deploy technical resources to benefit small- and medium-sized manufacturers regionally.
  • Adequacy of facilities, equipment, and other resources.
  • Depth and breadth of commitment from proposed technical assistance team members to provide the entire range of technical, administrative, business strategy, financial, and workforce strategy support – especially through direct engagement of labor unions.
  • Reasonableness of budget and spend plan for proposed project and objectives.

Criterion 3:  Workforce Development and Community Development (20%)

This criterion involves consideration of the following factors:

  • Quality of plan to support development and delivery of effective technical resources and solutions to regional small- and medium-sized manufacturers and their workers or prospective workers in a variety of formats.
  • Quality of plan to work with small- and medium-sized manufacturers to support attraction and retention and utilization of appropriately skilled workers, including through identifying potential improvements to job quality (i.e., work systems, competitive wages, benefits and working conditions).
  • Quality of plan to work with small- and medium-sized manufacturers to support workforce education and training, including through learning opportunities associated with IACs, universities and MEP Centers.
  • Quality of plan to support union partnerships with registered apprenticeships, joint apprenticeship training committees (JATCs), and/or other labor-management training partnerships.
  • Quality of plan to leverage national and regional relationships, including through the entering of agreements with community colleges, trade schools, and union training programs, to support development of clean energy workforce and adopt broadened pathway measures such as flexible scheduling and parental leave.
  • Quality of plan to address DOE’s community benefits priorities, including: (i) providing meaningful community and labor engagement; (ii) investing in high-quality jobs and a skilled workforce; (iii) advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility; and (iv) working to ensure that 40% of the overall benefits of the program flow to disadvantaged communities.

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