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RFQ for Regional Planning due 1/31/2022

Introduction

This request for quote (RFQ) is issued by North Central Economic Development District (NCMEDD), dba Sweetgrass Development for the purpose of developing a regional plan and Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the NCMEDD region representing Cascade, Glacier, Pondera, Teton, and Toole Counties, the Blackfeet Reservation and Little Shell Tribe.


The goal of the project is to prepare a planning document that will assist NCMEDD in developing a regional strategic plan in conjunction with the 2022-2027 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and other planning documents from regional and local entities to diversify and stabilize the economy of the region and the surrounding area.


The Entity will review and assess the RFQ responses to determine if the submissions from solicited consultants can meet the needs of the proposed Scope of Work.


Scope of Work


1. Develop Regional Strategic Plan


The consultant(s) will provide steps that outlines all of the items necessary to complete the strategy:


  1. Summary Background

  2. SWOT Analysis

  3. Strategic Direction / Action Plan

  4. Evaluation Framework

  5. Economic Resilience


  1. Equity

  2. Recovery & Resilience

  3. Workforce Development

  4. Manufacturing

  5. Technology-Based Economic Development

  6. Environmentally Sustainable Development

  7. Exports & FDI


  • Community Participation: Facilitate public meetings and focus groups, particularly including key stakeholders, such as property owners, residents, real estate developers, and other interested groups and individuals, in order to formulate key recommendations on development options.


  • Data Gathering: Utilizing tools found at www.eda.gov/tools/, establish baseline demographics, economic data, workforce information, resource identification, disaster assessments and reference point (benchmark) data for comparisons, outcome projections and project performance evaluation.


  • Analysis of Local/Regional Economy: Analyze economic development problems and opportunities, identify strengths and weaknesses in the regional makeup of human, infrastructure and economic assets, and determine problems and opportunities posed by external and internal forces affecting the regional economy. This includes planning documents by local entities supported by the Sweetgrass CARES Act Recovery Fund, better known as the SCARF Program, which incentivizes aligning capital improvement plans, growth policies, and other planning documents with NCMEDD and EDA funding priorities.


  • Analysis of Local/Regional Workforce: Identify existing workforce skills and deficiencies vis-a-vis the skills potential employers would require. Analyze training opportunities provided by local institutions of higher learning. Identify means of financing training programs.


  • Inventory of Local Economic Development Tools: Consider and inventory existing plans and planning processes in the region. The analysis should incorporate relevant material from other government supported plans. It should also demonstrate consistency with applicable state and local strategies, identify past, present and projected economic development in the region, and identify and analyze economic clusters in the region.


  • Economic Resilience: Anticipate risk and evaluate how that risk can impact key economic assets and build a responsive capacity. Identify potential downturns, both in particular industries in the region’s economy and from the national or international economy which impact demand locally, and other external shocks, either nature or man-made.


  • Steady-State and Responsive Resilience: Identify steady-state and responsive economic resilience initiatives.


  • Goals and Objectives: Determine goals and objectives necessary to establish and/or improve the region’s economy, resiliency, quality of life, etc. Identify barriers to meeting these goals and establish priority programs or activities to fulfill these goals and objectives. Include planning for and implement resilience through specific goals or actions to bolster the long-term economic durability of the region and establish information networks among the various stakeholders in the region to encourage active and regular communication to collaborate on existing and potential future challenges.


  • Prioritization of Goals: Prioritization of goals may include the impact each goal will have on the economic development potential in the area, whether the goal will produce short, intermediate, or long-term results, actions related to the goal that are already underway or planned, and the relationship of any goal to the accomplishments of the other goals.


  • Implementation Plan: Describe a plan of action that implements the goals and objectives in a manner that promotes economic development and opportunity, enhances and protects the environment, maximizes effective development, uses the workforce consistent with other strategies, promotes the use of technology, balances resources, and obtains and utilizes adequate funds and other resources.


  • Performance/Evaluation: Determine processes for ongoing evaluation of the outcomes of the report that may include the degree of regional income equality and the degree of regional economic diversification, number and type of investment undertaken, number of jobs retained in the region, amount of private sector investment, and changes in the economic environment. Also recommend timeframes and methodologies for updating the report.


  • Final Report: An electronic copy containing the final report in a Searchable Image Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format will be provided to NCMEDD.


2. Performance Measurement: The issuing Entity will assess the Consultant’s performance and progress towards expected results. Assessments and program monitoring will be based on:

  1. Monthly progress meetings/conference calls between NCMEDD and Consultant’s team.

  2. Feedback from partnering local, state, and federal agencies.

  3. Progress towards final report and development of strategies.


The Monthly progress meetings will serve as checkpoints for making overall and strategic adjustments in implementation by analyzing the data, determining gaps, and identifying benchmarks or milestones reached as defined in the quote and approved Scope of Work.


The proposed Scope of Work will assist the NCMEDD region in an effort to develop a plan to diversify the existing economy.


3. Personnel: The Consultant will assemble a team with the required knowledge and experience in order to deliver the scope of work and meet the project objectives. The structure of the team and an organizational chart shall be included in the quote with the name, position and resumes of proposed personnel. The consultant shall identify who will be considered key personnel.


Project Schedule and Costs

The quote should include anticipated schedule and time/material cost estimates for the Scope of Work. Time should be allowed in the schedule to review and revise draft deliverables and for preparation of final documents. Unit rates on which costs are based should be included with the quote and also a timeline and project milestones.



Quote Evaluation

All quotes will be evaluated in accordance with the following factors:


Qualifications and ability to perform requested services (50 points total):

  1. Past experience with developing Economic Development Strategies 20 points

  2. Location as it relates to provision of services to the Entity 15 points

  3. Firm/personnel qualifications 10 points

  4. References from other communities 5 points


Execution of the scope of work (50 points total):

  1. Description of proposed work plan 20 points

  2. Description of public outreach process 10 points

  3. Process timeline 10 points

  4. Deliverables, budget and completion schedule 10 points

100 points


Following the review and evaluation of all quotes, the list of firms will be narrowed down for interview purposes. If multiple quotes are solicited, final assignments will be based on equally weighted selection criteria: (1) Cost; (2) Availability and organization of work plan; (3) Understanding of the project issues; (4) Approach to the project.


Consultants will be subject to Federal and Montana laws and regulations including non-discrimination, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, and Fair Practices.


RFQ Process Timeline

Issue RFQ: January 3, 2022

Quotes Submittal (3:00 PM): January 31, 2022

Selection Date: February 14, 2022

Begin Date: March 1, 2022

Draft Final Report: August 1, 2022

30 Day Public Comment Begins: August 12, 2022

Final Report Due: September 20, 2022


Quote Submittal:

Quotes must be received by 3:00 p.m. January 31, 2022. Please submit one (1) electronic and one (1) hard copy to the following:


NCMEDD

Economic Resiliency Strategic Plan RFQ

521 1st Avenue NW

Great Falls, MT 59404


Email: sweetgrassdevelopment@gmail.com


Questions about the project should be directed to Sarah Converse, (406) 727-5173 or sweetgrassdevelopment@gmail.com.


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