American Graduate Phase Three Station Grants

New applications are no longer being accepted. Check this page for updates about this initiative.


Open to CSG-qualified TV and Radio Stations.


August 30, 2017

Request for Grant Proposals

Public media stations, locally owned and operated, are connected to America’s communities. Through American Graduate (“American Graduate”), stations worked with more than 1,700 partners to address the high school dropout rate and inspired over 9,000 American Graduate Champions (committed, caring adults helping to support our nation’s youth). We are proud of our joint efforts in helping to raise the graduation rate to an unprecedented 83.2%.

Public media is uniquely positioned to build on its education mission to bring attention and commitment to the workforce challenge. Working with partners such as the US Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers, National Governors Association, and National Federation of Independent Businesses, in addition to our American Graduate partners, public media can provide the broadcast and digital megaphone showcasing the work already being done by local and national organizations.

As part of American Graduate phase three, stations will partner with business, education, and workforce related organizations (“Partners”); convene gatherings with Partners; create content about the state of the workforce; highlight career pathways; stories of job opportunities and skills required to meet local industry needs. Content will be aired on the station’s local broadcast, digital and social media channels as well as through Partner distribution networks to reach the intended audience of youth and young adults in the age range of 16-24, returning veterans, and adults in career transition. PBS and national radio content will enhance the work done at the local level, as public media provides stories connecting job seekers from new high school graduates to veterans returning home to jobs.

Please download the Request for Grant Proposals below for detailed information, including application requirements.
PDF icon Request for Grant Proposals379.19 KB

Questions from Potential Respondents, with CPB Answers:

FAQ Topic: 

Question 37: Could you clarify the source of funding for this project. Will there be any state or federal funding supporting this project?

Response 37: The American Graduate Phase 3 grant program is supported by CPB funds, and does not involve any other federal or state funding sources.

Question 36: Clarification about the submission deadline, Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 12:00 PM ET. So this is indeed Noon on Wednesday, August 30, and not midnight?

Response 36: Yes, the deadline is Wednesday, August 30 at 12:00 PM ET, which is the same as noon eastern.

Question 35: Can you point me to some of the stations who were part of this program in the past?

Response 35: You are able to find information on past American Graduate public media activities here:

Question 34: We have secured underwriting sponsors for a portion of the production costs. Would there be any issue with American Graduate funding complementing funding from underwriting?

Response 34: Yes, stations may propose funding to support the station’s other current and/or successful programs that align with the goals of the RFP.

Question 33: May we bundle together multiple staff – for example, three journalists – into one line item so that we can assign people responsively as need demands? Or are we required to estimate time for individual staff (though this is likely to be imperfect)?

Response 33: Yes, bundling on the line item seems like the most concise way to handle the budget, however, in the budget narrative please explain the staffing or the intent for staffing clearly.

Question 32: Are we supposed to include in-kind in the budget?

Response 32: The budget submitted as part of your proposal should only detail the amount of the CPB grant (no in-kind or additional funding).

Question 31: I understand CPB is accepting proposals for the creation of instructional content for national distribution in the area of workforce development and career readiness. Is there a deadline designated for these proposals?

Question 31: Yes, CPB is also considering separate proposals from stations and independent producers for the creation of comprehensive instructional content for national distribution in the area of workforce development and career readiness. CPB is always open to receiving any proposals, therefore there is no deadline.

Question 30: Should all station staff time be listed in Personnel, despite what area the staff member may work with?

Response 30: Any relevant staff working significantly on the project should be listed in the budget personnel line. It should state each staff member’s title, percentage of time or hours of work dedicated to the project. Within the budget narrative, the personnel line must be concise and explain staff roles. As stated in the RFP section VI. Selection Criteria, CPB will be reviewing the quality and experience of station personnel in this area and reasonableness of the proposed budget costs.

Question 29: If we hire independent production contractors, are their labor costs part of personnel or production?

Response 29: Any contractors listed, meaning they are being paid through a separate mechanism than the station’s payroll and fringe does not apply to them, we recommend they be listed in the area which they align with most (i.e. production, engagement, marketing... etc.). Additionally, in the budget narrative please clearly indicate the cost is a contractor. Contractors or other expenses related to contractors may not be included in the organization indirect costs line.

Question 28: What is the definition of Fringe and Fringe Rate?

Response 28: Fringe and fringe rate should be defined by each organization, because organizations count different things as part of fringe. We recommend consulting with the station business office and working with their finance teams as stations set up the budget for the proposal.

Also, if stations are taking indirect costs, there should be no overlap in the costs that are included in fringe and in indirect.

Question 27: In VI. B. it mentions “...a list of established Partners that have agreed to work collaboratively...” Do you expect to see “letters of support” from each of these partners as evidence? Support letters were briefly discussed on the webinar, but I don’t quite recall the specifics of your requirements.

Response 27: Proposals are to include a list of established Partners (partners explained within the RFP) that the station, it is not required to have letter of support but CPB will accept any additional documentation as an addendum to the technical proposal.

Question 26: How do you expect to see the Technical proposal organized? In the RFP, you’ve listed IV. Application Requirements (1-7) as well as VI. Selection Criteria (A-D). Do you expect a proposal listing A-D or 1-7? If A-D, where do you want 5 and 6 (Data Tracking and Development) described?

Response 26: Please organize your proposal and include areas as outlined within the RFP’s “IV. Application Requirements,” and note for #7 Budget, the budget must be submitted separately in an Excel file using the template provided in “Other Documents.” The “VI. Selection Criteria” only informs the weighted guidelines on how CPB will review the overall proposal.

Question 25: On the budget template, there is a line item for “local travel”. Since there is a required convening of grantees sometime in November, shouldn’t we also put out of state travel into the budget? Or does CPB plan to pay for that travel for the PI and GM to attend? Also, what about NETA and/or PBS Annual meeting? Can we put those costs into the budget?

Response 25: Please budget in all travel applicable to your proposal, local and national, and propose amounts for CPB required travel within the RFP.

Question 24: There is a confirmed need in our community for comprehensive curriculum-based content that would support workforce skills development. We have content that is has been submitted to PBS Learning Media to be paired with standards aligned lessons. These would feature local people talking about a variety of careers. Would this content meet the RFP or should it be in a separate proposal?

Response 24: Assuming the station will fulfil on all other aspects of the work outlined in the RFP, this type of production would come under the station’s content plan whereas distribution would be local to the station’s community and can be made available to other stations and distribution avenues.

Regarding the Educational Resources proposals, CPB is open to all proposals for national content to be produced and distributed through national public media channels for station use.

Question 23: Can this grant be used to fund a new staff member who would support this project?

Response 23: Stations may request the grant to fund a new staff position, however, please review the budget template and requirements of the RFP to detail the role of the staff person. Understand that this grant period is limited to the time frame and will not run beyond the contract point. Also, be advised that project work for the grant is expected to begin at contracting, so the staff person will need to be appropriately prepared.

Question 22: We are likely to secure several underwriters as funders for this project; American Graduate funding would complement this. Would there be any issue with co-branding content produced with funding from multiple partners?

Response 22: No, there will not be any issues with co-branding. A brand guideline will be provided to participating stations that will outline requirements.

Question 21: Can this grant be used to fund existing workforce development and career education programs offered by our station?

Response 21: Yes. All proposals will be competitive and evaluated according to fulfillment of all RFP requirements for expanding the narrative and dialogue around American Graduate

Question 20: Will there be a Phase IV of American Graduate?

Response 20: These station grants will be through 2019. Funding decisions beyond this have not yet been determined.

Question 19: All award terms were not included in the RFP section "Conditions of Agreement". If selected, will there be the opportunity to negotiate the terms or are the award terms non-negotiable?¬

Response 19: All Station agreements will include a template workscope, common deliverables and disbursement schedule that will be required as part of your contract fulfillment. Agreements will incorporate CPB’s standard Terms and Conditions that are part of all agreements.

Question 18: What is the anticipated timeframe for the initial meeting of selected stations?

Response 18: We anticipate that the initial meeting of selected stations will take place in winter, 2017. Please note that dates are approximate and may be revised at the discretion of CPB.

Question 17: How will stations submit the proposal?

Response 17: CPB is using a new grants management system which is an online portal. Stations interested in submitting a proposal must request access to CPB Grants through an email request to Megan Fitzpatrick,, no later than Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at 12:00PM ET. Only one account per station will be allowed to submit a proposal.

Proposals must have a cover page including the Station Name, General Manager name and contact information, and Proposal Contact name and contact information.

Question 16: Could you explain the review process?

Response 16: CPB will review station proposals internally with input from CPB partners such as Civic Enterprises. Funding decisions are made solely at CPB’s discretion.

Question 15: Could you explain further how you will determine “reasonableness of the budget”?

Response 15: CPB will review the proposed budgets based on costs per line item relevant to station size, capacity, and market costs.

Question 14: Could you clarify the criteria weight?

Response 14: There is a typo on the RFP. The following is the correct weights of the selection criteria:

CPB will evaluate applications based on the criteria below with the associated weight.
A. Demonstrated understanding of the community need around career education and workforce skills development and the local skills gap (15%).
B. Station’s capacity to participate in collaborative efforts with Partner organizations on work that supports career education and workforce development and addresses the skills gap locally. Stations must include a list of established Partners that have agreed to work collaboratively on this effort (35%).
C. Station’s content and community engagement plan to address career education and workforce development as a continuation of the national American Graduate effort, including quality and experience of station personnel in this area, and Station leadership’s commitment to the project (40%).
D. Reasonableness of proposed budget costs (10%).

Question 13: Can you discuss more about the development requirements?

Response 13: Proposals should include local fundraising targets to expand or sustain your work beyond the CPB grant (considered seed funding). Note that the budget submitted as part of your proposal should only detail the amount of the CPB grant (no in-kind or additional funding).

Question 12: Are stations allowed to submit collaborative/ joint proposals?

Response 12: Yes, we encourage local radio and tv stations to consider a collaborative proposal to take full advantage of platforms and effectively integrate national programming opportunities as they arise. One station should be designed as the fiscal agent of the grant. The amount awarded will be up to $200,000 (individual stations within a collaboration will not each receive a grant).

Question 11: Is there a page limit on proposals submitted? Is there a form that we are to use as the application? If not, is there a format for the proposals that you would prefer?

Response 11: The suggested page limit is no more than 10 pages, but CPB will accept all proposals submitted. We strongly encourage a concise proposal that clearly addresses the requirements in the RFP. Stations should submit the narrative portion of the proposal based on the sections laid out in the RFP, and organization based upon the Eligibility and Selection Criteria is highly recommended. All budgets should be submitted using the template provided. The narrative proposal should be provided as a single document in PDF format, and the budget, in Excel, should be the only additional attachment.

Question 10: If we have an idea for instructional resources should we include it in the proposal?

Response 10: Stations should consider types of content that work best for to raise awareness about the issue and local needs and opportunities for broadcast, digital and social distribution within the maximum amount of grant. CPB is also considering separate proposals from stations and independent producers for the creation of comprehensive instructional content for national distribution in the area of workforce development and career readiness.

Question 9: Are there guidelines for deliverables (pieces of content, numbers of convenings)?

Response 9: There are no specific guidelines for quantity of content or numbers of convenings. This should be at local station discretion based on parameters of the local work and community needs

Question 8: What types of data collection and measurement will the research organization expect grantees to compile?

Response 8: Stations will work with the Lead Station to develop a logic model to track available data such as ratings and social media analytics that will align to outcomes, and use surveys and other turn-key data collection tools developed by the Lead Station. The development of the logic model will occur at the beginning of the contract term. There is no outside research organization affiliated with American Graduate phase three – stations will be supported by the Lead Station in collecting data.

Question 7: Are there examples of content stations are expected to produce?

Response 7: Stations will propose local content plans aligned to their local programming strategies and distribution platforms, production capacity, and related topics they want to cover and report on. The content plan will relate to expanding the narrative and conversation post high school to career readiness and workforce development.

Question 6: Is there a minimum number of partners that stations will be required to work with? Can this grant be used to build out/deepen early-stage local partnerships? Or, would you prefer to see pre-existing deep relationships?

Response 6: There is no predetermined number of partners required; stations will work with relevant partners best suited for the goals established to address local needs, align a content and engagement plan, and achieve success. Stations are required to provide a list of existing partnerships in the areas described in the RFP.

Question 5: Are there national partners? Will stations be required to work with them?

Response 5: CPB is in conversations with several national organizations that have local chapters to help support stations’ partnership development. These organizations would expand upon the current American Graduate partners (including America’s Promise Alliance) to incorporate business and other relevant workforce related efforts. Further discussion about potential opportunities with national organizations and work on the ground with stations will occur at the project kick off meeting.

Question 4: Who is the “Lead Station” for this grant round? What is the role of the Lead Station? When will the Lead Station be announced?

Response 4: The Lead Station (aka managing or coordinating station) will work with all of the grantees on local engagement and fundraising efforts, collaboration opportunities to share ideas and content, provide alignment with national content, manage the national and local branding with American Graduate assets, and help collect and analyze data. The Lead Station will also mirror the station work in their local community as outlined in the RFP for stations. The station under consideration to serve as the American Graduate Lead Station initiated conversations, a proposal, and the design for phase three of American Graduate. In accordance with policies and procedures, CPB will announce the Lead Station upon execution of a contract agreement.

Question 3: What are CPB goals for this project? Are the goals tied to national content?

Response 3: The goal is for national producers and local stations to continue working together to:
• Foster awareness of the changing needs of the workplace, the education and skills needed for high demand jobs, and barriers to access
• Connect job seekers with public media and partner resources
Stations will do this by providing local connections to jobs and job resources such as trainings and skills development to ensure career readiness and access to different career pathways.

In addition to station grants, CPB is considering several proposals for national content for TV and Radio broadcast and digital distribution, as well as proposals for comprehensive curriculum-based content that would support workforce skills development and training.

Stations can work with partners to make these connections and/or access the existing and in development public media career and training resources that will be available for distribution in local communities.

Question 2: What is the amount CPB will award for each grant, and how many public media stations will receive grants?

Response 2: CPB anticipates awarding 15 grants to stations at no more than $200,000 per grantee over the grant term of 2 years. We anticipate that budgets will vary based on execution of ideas and relevant costs. Selection will be dependent on the reasonableness of the proposed budget based on costs per line item relevant to station size, capacity, and market costs.

Question 1: Who is eligible to apply and how do I find out if my station is eligible?

Response 1: All CSG-qualified radio and television stations, including joint licensees, are eligible to apply. Please visit for information related to CPB certification and CSG requirements.

Where can I view the recorded Webinar?

CPB Hosted a Webinar on Tuesday, August 7th. You can view a recording of the webinar by clicking this link:

Here is a PDF of the PowerPoint presentation: