REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS
RochesterWorks, Inc. Request for Proposal
Temporary Work Experience Payrolling Services
March 20, 2015
RochesterWorks, Inc. (RWI), a non-profit organization, has been designated by the County of Monroe and the City of Rochester to administer the workforce investment funds targeted for Monroe County. RWI serves as fiscal agent and research and development staff for the Monroe County/Rochester Workforce Investment Board (WIB), managing all aspects of the local workforce investment system (RochesterWorks!). RWI is located at 255 North Goodman Street, Rochester, New York 14607. Additional information on programs and services can be found at www.rochesterworks.org.
RWI is seeking proposals from existing, experienced, qualified contractors to provide temporary work experience payrolling services as follows:
Finger Lakes Hired Initiative Work Experience Tryouts
The contractor will provide payrolling services for adult participants in the Finger Lakes Hired Initiative, age 18 or older with a high school diploma or equivalent plus some post-secondary education and/or work experience. Most participants will be from among the long-term unemployed, 27 weeks or more. The selected contractor will be required to complete all paperwork and payroll logistics required by New York State to employ temporary workers.
RWI will match and directly place participants in work experience tryouts lasting two or more weeks at employer worksites throughout the nine-county Finger Lakes region (Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates). Worksites will be for-profit or not-for-profit organizations in the advanced manufacturing, computer (information) technology, and health care industry sectors, and locations will vary.
The contractor will be required to serve as the employer of record for each participant and provide payrolling services throughout the duration of the work experience assignment. The contractor will also be required to serve as an intermediary between RWI and the employer, obtaining feedback on participant performance in their assignment. The intent of the work experience tryout is 1) to give the participant some experience in an occupation or industry that is new to them and 2) to give the business an opportunity to try out a potential hire before bringing them on as a regular employee.
Any additional value-added services, such as developing new contacts with employers in the target industry sectors, are strongly encouraged and should be described in the proposal.
For some basic information on the Finger Lakes Hired Initiative, visit the initiative’s web site at www.fingerlakeshired.com.
Structure of the Work Experience Tryouts
The work experience tryout is a new service that will be offered to regional businesses. Here are some key aspects of the work experience tryout model:
- At least 120 participants will be placed in paid work experience tryouts over a 3-1/2 year period. RWI may contract with multiple organizations to provide the payrolling services. These contracts are separate from any existing contracts for youth programs, temporary/temp-to-hire services for RWI employees, or other payrolling services.
- RWI is seeking organizations with client experience in one or more of the following industry sectors: advanced manufacturing, computer (information) technology, or health care.
- The length of the work experience tryout will be two weeks for most occupational titles. However, if certain occupational titles require a longer tryout period, we may have the flexibility to extend the tryout period to four or even eight weeks.
- Payment for payrolling services will likely be made by a markup to the hourly wage paid to the participant. The markup for similar, previous contracts has been between 31% and 36%. The markup percentage for this contract will be subject to the competitive bid process and final contract negotiations.
- Participants should be paid at an hourly rate similar to the hourly rate of a new, direct hire of the employer. For example, a CNC machine operator would likely be paid $11-$12/hour.
- The contractor will need to provide accurate collection and processing of time cards and allow for direct deposit and/or checks for each payroll period. Past contracts have required weekly payroll.
- Payrolled participants may be converted to regular employees of the business at the end of the work experience tryout period without a buyout fee.
- The initial term of the contract would run through October 31, 2016 with an option for up to two one-year renewals.
Organizations interested in providing services described in this Request for Proposals (RFP) should submit a proposal of no more than 6 pages that includes the following information:
- Identify the organization’s name, address, phone, fax, e-mail, President/CEO and management contact for the contract. Describe the organization and experience in providing the services described in this RFP. Organizations that currently have operations in and do business in the nine-county Finger Lakes Region are eligible to apply.
- Provide a quote for payrolling and wage-related insurance (social security, workers compensation, employment liability fees and indemnification for transportation). Our preferred form of payment on this/these contract(s) is a percentage markup to the hourly wage paid to work experience participants. Please describe any costs to the payrolling company that were taken into account when calculating the proposed markup. Also, describe any additional, value-added services that would be provided.
- Describe your experience placing and/or payrolling employees in the advanced manufacturing, computer (information) technology, and/or health care sectors.
- Indicate how many participants you have the capacity to serve on a weekly basis. Also indicate the frequency of your proposed payroll service (e.g. weekly, bi-weekly, etc.).
The contractor(s) will be required to:
- Become the employer of record for the temporary worker.
- Provide accurate collection and processing of time cards (signed by supervisor).
- Process payroll checks on a weekly basis.
- Provide Direct Deposit and/or checks for weekly payroll.
- Process tax collection and information (i.e. W-2, W-4) as required by Federal and State mandates.
- Prepare and make all Federal and State payroll tax deposits.
- Provide mandated insurance, i.e. Workers’ Compensation and General Liability.
- Prepare all Workers’ Compensation reporting.
- Defend all Labor Board issues (if any).
- Conduct any drug testing or background checks required by the employer and allowable by federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
- Provide accurate invoicing to RWI.
- Contact RWI staff with a verbal or e-mail update on participant progress once during the first week of the work experience assignment, as needed in response to employer concerns, and additionally as requested by RWI staff.
The selection criteria will be:
- Completeness of response to RFP as outlined in Proposal Requirements.
- Ability of the contractor to meet or exceed the requirements defined in the RFP as evidenced by the information contained in provider’s proposal.
- Experience and qualifications to include experience placing and/or payrolling employees in the advanced manufacturing, computer (information) technology, and/or health care sectors.
- Cost reasonableness of services.
Proposals must be sent to electronically by 12:00 PM, Friday, April 10, 2015.
To download an electronic copy of this RFP please click here.
Sumit Proposals To:
Technical Assistance and Training Manager
Request for Proposal Timeframe
Monday, March 2, 2015 Competitive bid announcement released
Friday, March 13, 2015 Last day to submit initial questions or comments
Friday, March 20, 2015 Request for Proposal released
Monday, March 30, 2015 Last day to submit final questions
Friday, April 10, 2015 Proposals due by 12:00 noon
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 Staff recommendations submitted to RWI Board
Friday, May 22, 2015 Winning proposal(s) announced
Monday, June 22, 2015 Service contract(s) executed
Responses to Initial Questions
RochesterWorks, Inc. received 18 unique initial questions and no comments from four potential bidders during the initial question and comment period. Answers to the questions are listed below.
Click here to view additional questions submitted by March 30, 2015.
Q1. What is the estimated number of participants at the start of the program?
A1. At the time contract(s) is/are executed in late June we may have a small pool of up to 20 job seeker participants waiting to be placed in work experience tryouts.
Q2. The information listed states that 120 contractors would be sent out over the 3-year period. Is this a total of 120 or is it 120 on average on assignments?
A2. We estimate that the Finger Lakes Hired Initiative can fund a total of 120 work experience placements over the 3-1/2 year period covered by this RFP. However, we may be able to use other funding sources to increase the number of placements by an additional 120.
Q3. What is the time period for payrolling the program participants? Two weeks to 27 weeks?
A3. Most participants will be placed in a two-week work experience tryout assignment. However, depending on employer needs, some participants may be placed in four-week assignments. Additionally, we have set aside 105 slots for Rochester City residents who will be placed in 6–8 week assignments.
Q4. Could we assist in placement with our existing customers?
A4. The RFP states, “Any additional value-added services, such as developing new contacts with employers in the target industry sectors, are strongly encouraged and should be described in the proposal.” If your existing employer clients who are in one of the three target industries would like to take advantage of a work experience tryout to recruit an eligible job seeker participant, we would view the referral as one of those value-added services. On the other hand, if you would like to refer job seeker candidates to the Finger Lakes Hired Initiative, they could be placed in a work experience tryout if eligible. In both cases, the payrolling company will be paid the percentage markup on hourly wages. No additional fee would be paid.
Q5. Who will the staffing company be billing, RochesterWorks, Inc., or the client site?
A5. The payrolling company(ies) will bill RWI. It is not permissible under this initiative for payrolling or staffing companies to bill employer clients for any costs associated with work experience tryout participants.
Q6. Please detail the process for the reimbursement of wages from the payrolling provider to the employer.
A6. Under the work experience tryout service, the employer does not pay any wages or benefits to or on behalf of the job seeker participant during the work experience tryout period. During that period the payrolling company serves as the employer of record for the participant. The payrolling company will submit an invoice to RWI on a monthly basis to bill RWI for the hourly markup for all participants who are paid wages during the month.
Q7. Will RochesterWorks, Inc. be setting the net payment terms between payrolling provider and employer? Will that be part of the RFP response?
A7. We ask that respondents to this RFP propose a percentage markup on the hourly wages of each participant as terms of payment. The proposed rate will be subject to the competitive bid process and final contract negotiations.
Q8. What would be the payment terms?
A8. Our preferred method of payment is a percentage markup on the hourly wages of each participant. The markup on similar contracts has ranged between 31% and 36% over the minimum wage. The average wage for Finger Lakes Hired participants will be significantly higher than the minimum wage. The proposed markup rate is one factor in our contractor selection criteria.
Q9. Will any/all of the employers require drug screening and/or background checks?
A9. It is likely that they will. Participating employers will have to comply with federal, state, and local non-discrimination and equal opportunity laws and regulations, including the Ban the Box ordinance in the City of Rochester. They will be expected to apply the same screening procedures to Finger Lakes Hired work experience tryouts as they would to all other employees hired in similar positions.
Q10. Many of the sites that people will be working may require pre-employment drug testing and/or criminal background checks based on their hiring criteria. Will these requirements be enforced under this program or will the staffing provider complete these steps? Will the staffing company be able to pass on any of these costs?
A10. Where allowable by federal, state, and local laws and regulations, the payrolling company will be responsible for conducting drug and/or criminal background checks whenever they are part of the employer’s screening procedures. Respondents to this RFP should account for these costs when calculating their proposed markup.
Q11. Will any of those roles placed require driving as part of the position requirements?
A11. It is possible that some of the positions will require driving as one of the position requirements. However, we estimate that only a small percentage of placements will have this requirement. RFP respondents may include additional costs associated with screening for driving positions in their proposed markup.
Q12. Each of the applicants will be required to complete the staffing agency’s hiring process. Should a person present significant red flags during our on-boarding process and it is determined that it is in everyone’s best interest to not place this person on an assignment, are there allotments to allow for the candidate to be dismissed from the process?
A12. It is our belief that we can serve and satisfy the needs of both job seekers and employers. Our goal when serving employers is to fill their staffing and training needs with a suitable candidate. Our goal when serving job seekers is to help them to qualify for jobs in one of our three target industry sectors. If a payrolling or staffing company believes that a match between a job seeker and employer is not a good one, we will not require that the match be made. We will, however, require specific feedback from the payrolling company and/or the employer on the nature of the job seeker’s barriers. And once Finger Lakes Hired staff has had the opportunity to help the job seeker address those barriers, we would likely ask the payrolling company to place the job seeker in a different, appropriate assignment.
Q13. If it is a light industrial position, will the staffing agency have access to the client site to ensure that the safety and well-being of our employees is to standard?
A13. Yes, we are asking that the payrolling company provide us with feedback on participant performance in their assignment. We will not place any access restrictions on the payrolling company when gathering that feedback. Additionally, we will require employers to provide reasonable access to work sites as part of the work experience tryout agreement.
Q14. Will the payrolling provider be allowed to have direct contact with the employer?
A14. Yes, we envision a partnership including open communication among RWI, the payrolling company, the employer, and the job seeker.
Q15. Will the payrolling provider be allowed to develop relationships with employers to offer other services (e.g. recruiting)?
A15. Yes, we see that as a non-monetary benefit to the payrolling company(ies). Please bear in mind that it is not permissible under this initiative for payrolling or staffing companies to bill employer clients for any costs associated with work experience tryout participants.
Q16. Could you explain the reporting process that would be needed?
A16. RWI will request a monthly invoice from the payrolling company with backup documentation to include participant work attendance and payroll records. In addition to the invoice and backup documentation, the payrolling provider will be required to contact RWI staff with a verbal or e-mail update on participant progress once during the first week of the work experience assignment, as needed in response to employer concerns, and additionally as requested by RWI staff.
Q17. Please outline the types of positions you will be placing in advanced manufacturing and healthcare.
A17. A list of sample occupational titles in the advanced manufacturing, computer (information) technology, and health care industry sectors is printed below. Please note that placements are not limited to the occupations on this list. A placement may be made in any career-track occupation in our three target industries.
|Computer (Information) Technology
Computer User Support Specialist
Medical and Health Service Manager
|Computer Systems Analysts
||Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists
||Electronics Engineers, Except Computers
|Software Developer-System Software
||Architectural and Engineering Managers
|Computer and Information Systems Managers
|Network and Computer Systems Administrator
||Electrical and Electronic Equip. Assemblers
||Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technician
|Computer Occupations, All Other
||Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operator
||Medical Records and Health Information Techs
||Biological Scientists, All Other
||Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers
||Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedics
||Industrial Machinery Mechanics
||Medical and Clinical Lab Technicians and Technologists
First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers
Licensed Practical Nurses
Q18. Is there a current program in place?
A18. No, the work experience tryout component of the Finger Lakes Hired Initiative is a new job placement strategy for RWI.
Responses to Final Questions
RochesterWorks, Inc. received 28 unique initial questions from three potential bidders during the final question period. Answers to the questions are listed below.
Q19. Please describe candidate eligibility for participation in the program (in addition to being “long-term unemployed”).
A19. Finger Lakes Hired participants must be 1) residents of the nine-county Finger Lakes Region; 2) enrolled in the Workforce Investment Act or Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Adult or Dislocated Worker program through one of the New York State career centers; 3) 18 years old or older with a high school diploma or equivalent plus some post-secondary education and/or work experience; and 4) interested in working in the advanced manufacturing, health care, or computer (information) technology sector. In addition to the long-term unemployed and underemployed, we will also serve a limited number of participants who have been unemployed for fewer than 27 consecutive weeks.
Q20. Please clarify Question 3 regarding the 105 slots set aside for Rochester City residents placed in 6–8 week assignments. a) Is this in addition to the 120? b) Is this set-aside funding approved?
A20. The 105 slots are a subset of the 120 or more total work experience slots that we anticipate having available. The Finger Lakes Hired Initiative can fund 120 estimated placements. We also anticipate other funding sources that will increase the total number of placements by up to 120, for a grand total of up to 240. Please bear in mind that these are all estimates. The Finger Lakes Hired funding is approved and available. It is highly likely that a portion or even the entirety of the other funding sources will be available as well, but they have not yet been allocated to us.
Q21. Please clarify payment terms (i.e. can we bill weekly with Net 30 day terms).
A21. We ask that the payrolling company submit an invoice to RWI on a monthly basis. Net 30 day terms would be acceptable. Although there is some room to negotiate these terms, we prefer that they be consistent with the terms given by the majority of our contractors.
Q22. Does the payrolling company have authorization to terminate an employee if requested by the employer, or does it require authorization from RWI?
A22. The majority of work experience placements will be only two weeks in duration. Part of the intent of the assignment is to give the participant some experience in an occupation or industry that is new to them. Therefore we would expect it to be a rare occurrence for an employer to request that the participant be terminated before the work experience is completed. In those rare cases, we would expect the employer to communicate with RWI to discuss the situation. If, after discussing the situation with RWI staff, the employer chooses to terminate the placement, RWI will authorize the termination. However, we ask that the payrolling company let RWI inform the participant of the termination.
Q23. Does the payrolling company get paid for all hours worked by an employee even if the employee is removed during the placement period?
Q24. Who is responsible for the cost of any required work materials (e.g. safety boots)?
A24. If the work materials are normally provided by the employer, we would expect the employer to provide them. If the work materials are normally purchased by the employee, we would expect the participant to purchase them. We may be able to help participants with the cost of required uniforms or equipment using funds from the Finger Lakes Hired Initiative.
Q25. Regarding the answer to question 8, specifically the phrase “…markup on similar contracts has ranged between 31% and 36%...,” how is this program different?
A25. This program is different in two ways. First, the markup is not over the minimum wage, but rather over the higher wage offered by the employer to a typical new hire in each position. Second, this is a new Request for Proposals (RFP). So respondents may propose whatever markup rate they believe to be reasonable. Our intent is that prospective contractors view this RFP as an opportunity worth pursuing. Please note that cost reasonableness of services is one of the proposal selection criteria. Submissions to the RFP will be compared and evaluated based on all four selection criteria.
Q26. Are you looking for one flat rate for each industry? Due to fluctuating costs of worker’s compensation insurance rates based on industry code, the figures could be drastically different between one industry and another.
A26. Respondents to this RFP may choose to propose different markup rates based on industry and/or occupation. Please note that the clearer your description of the rationale behind the proposed markup schedule, the easier your proposal will be to evaluate.
Q27. Are we able to give a certain markup cost for positions/industries that require background checks and/or drug testing versus those that do not? For example 34% for positions where drug testing and background checks are required, and 31% for positions where they are not?
A27. Yes, you may choose to propose different markup rates based on factors that increase your expenses for certain industries or occupations, including the prevalence of drug testing and/or criminal background checks where allowable by federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
Q28. Is it necessary for a detailed breakdown of the markup fees such as a breakout of Social Security, Worker’s Compensation, etc.?
A28. We ask for a description of the costs that were taken into account when calculating the proposed markup. The description would not have to include amounts for each of those costs.
Q29. Please provide pay rates by job title.
A29. It is up to each employer to determine pay rates according to what they would normally pay a new hire in each position. If you would like to estimate pay rates for the job titles listed in the answer to question 17, you may check the New York State Department of Labor’s Prevailing Unemployment Insurance Wages lookup at http://labor.ny.gov/stats/uiwages.shtm and/or consult private wage or salary data sources.
Q30. Regarding the answer to Question 1, what are the job titles and pay rates for the 20 job seeker participants?
A30. At the time contract(s) is/are executed we may have a small pool of up to 20 job seeker participants waiting to be placed in work experience tryouts. We do not yet know how many (if any) we will actually have or who they may be. Therefore we do not know what their job titles or pay rates will be.
Q31. Will RWI reimburse for the cost of drug testing or background checks if the candidate does not pass the screening and cannot be placed?
A31. Yes, in those cases we would ask that the payrolling company bill us for the actual cost of the testing on the monthly invoice.
Q32. Would the payrolling company be obligated to payroll every candidate in the program even if they do not pass the drug test or background screen, or if the candidate has worked for the payrolling company in the past and is not eligible for rehire (even if the participating employer is willing to take them)?
A32. The payrolling company should only be conducting drug testing and/or background checks if required by the employer and allowable by federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Therefore, if a participant fails a drug test or background check, we will not require that a placement be made. If the candidate has worked for the payrolling company in the past and is not eligible for rehire but the employer is willing to accept them, we would expect some flexibility from the payrolling company in this regard. If the ineligibility for rehire is due to an extreme or unusual situation, RWI will also show some flexibility with regard to our placement requirements. We envision a partnership including open communication among RWI, the payrolling company, the employer, and the job seeker. We believe that such communication will lead to reasonable decisions. See also the answer to Question 12.
Q33. Please describe RWI’s process for qualifying candidates. Do participating employers know that RWI is qualifying candidates? Does the payrolling company have any responsibility to qualify candidates?
A33. Participants referred for a work experience tryout have been thoroughly assessed by RWI staff (and/or in some cases by City of Rochester staff) prior to being recommended for a work experience tryout in a particular occupation or industry. Participants are further screened by the RWI business services team based on their knowledge of an employer’s requirements prior to placement. Each placement will be made by or in consultation with RWI’s business services team, so employers will know that candidates have been screened by us. The payrolling company has no formal responsibility to screen or qualify candidates other than drug testing or background checks required by the employer and included in the markup cost. However, RWI welcomes and encourages feedback from the payrolling company and the employer on the participant’s suitability for the job. See also the answers to Questions 12, 13, and 16.
Q34. Is the payrolling company expected to perform any skills assessments?
Q35. What is the anticipated time between notification to start a candidate and a candidate’s actual start date? Is the time period sufficient to perform background checks, drug screening, and proper onboarding?
A35. We believe that the typical time period taken by staffing firms to start a temporary worker is reasonable for work experience tryout placements. The timeframe for placement should primarily be driven by the needs of both the employer and the payrolling company.
Q36. Will orientation be done weekly or daily/ad hoc as needed?
A36. If onboarding orientations are necessary, we would expect them to be scheduled with a frequency that meets the needs of the employer, the payrolling company, and the participant, depending on factors such as how many participants are scheduled to start an assignment during any given week.
Q37. Will participants have transportation to get to our office for onboarding or is the payroll company expected to onboard at RWI’s site(s)?
A37. If in-person onboarding is necessary, participants will be expected to travel to the payrolling company’s office. RWI can provide a bus pass or gas card to participants who meet our need criteria. However, please note that RWI is developing most of the employer placements. The main role of the payrolling company is to serve as the employer of record during the work experience tryout period. We, therefore, believe that in-person onboarding will not be necessary in most instances. Most of the new hire paperwork can be faxed or e-mailed back-and-forth between RWI and the payrolling company.
Q38. Will participating employers have specific new hire documents that we will need to include with our onboarding documents?
A38. If an employer typically requires additional documentation for a temporary placement, then they would likely require the same documentation for a work experience tryout placement. Otherwise, no.
Q39. Please provide a list of participating employers that the employees will be placed at.
A39. We do not have a list of participating employers, as this service component is new and none have participated yet.
Q40. Will any participating employers be universities?
A40. Possibly. See the answer to Question 39, above.
Q41. Can you please provide a breakdown by occupation category (i.e. advanced manufacturing, computer/IT, health care) of the 120 participants?
A41. We expect to place a minimum of 120 participants in work experience tryouts, though that number could be as high as 240. It is difficult to estimate the breakdown of placements by industry sector, as it depends on an undetermined employer demand. Here is a rough estimate, which could change dramatically as the project progresses: 47% Advanced Manufacturing; 33% Computer (Information) Technology; and 20% Health Care.
Q42. What would be the percentage of highly skilled placements in the health care industry sector?
A42. Approximately half, but that is, again, a very rough estimate.
Q43. Can a bidder elect to bid on only one or two main categories versus all three categories?
A43. Yes, RWI will select either one or multiple contractors as a result of this RFP, depending on the experience, qualifications, and capacity of the respondents. You may select one, two, or all three of the industry sectors (Advanced Manufacturing, Computer (Information) Technology, and Health Care) in your proposal. If you choose to focus on only one or two of the industry sector(s), please indicate which one(s).
Q44. Can you leave out certain occupations and/or target industries in the bid?
A44. We prefer that respondents not include or exclude specific occupational titles in their proposal. You may, however, choose to focus on one or more of the industry sectors. See the answer to Question 43, above.
Q45. For the Advanced Manufacturing and Health Care industry sectors, are the participants performing “hands on” work or merely observing?
A45. For all of the work experience tryout placements, we expect that participants will be performing the same job tasks as any other new hire.
Q46. Can we obtain job descriptions for the occupations listed in the answer to Question 17 for worker’s compensation costing?
A46. We have listed the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Title for each occupation included in the answer to Question 17. Therefore, you may look up occupational summary reports at http://www.onetonline.org/ . You may also make use of the inverse staffing patterns available at http://labor.ny.gov/stats/staffingpatternshome.asp to look up the distribution of four-digit NAICS industry codes for each occupational title.
Return to top.