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Certification Process

  • The CDBG Administrators Manual can be found here
  • The CDBG Administrators List can be found here
  • CDBG Training Information can be found here

The State of Nebraska requires the certification of all persons administering Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) projects in Nebraska.

What does it mean to become a certified CDBG grant administrator?
The Oxford Dictionary defines "certify" in this way: "to declare by certificate that a person is qualified or competent." This definition, however, doesn't begin to address the responsibilities of a professionally-certified grant administrator.

According to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development's (DED) Community and Rural Development Division (CRD), certified administrators are qualified to serve as professional stewards for their communities in the following ways:
  • Handling complex administrative and financial procedures, backed by the guarantee that they have successfully met the high certification standards for CDBG grant administrators. Viewed another way, certification is an "insurance policy" which protects grantees from unnecessary monitoring findings due to inexperienced grant administrators
  • Helping federal and local governments achieve a higher level of efficiency, which means the needs of constituents are more effectively met
  • Using their knowledge and skills to build the capacity of all Nebraska communities to work together in creating stronger economies and in improving the overall quality of life in the state
What does it take to become a certified administrator?
You've taken the first step toward certification when you attend a certification workshop. These workshops are conducted by the Community and Rural Development Division and are scheduled to coincide with CDBG funding cycles.
Certification as a CDBG Administrator is achieved through attendance and successful completion of a CDBG Certification Workshop. The training covers:
  • Knowledge of the federal Community Development Block Program, as it relates to the Department's CDBG program
  • The ability to understand, interpret and apply federal regulations
  • Administrative Requirements
  • Environmental Review
  • Contract Procurement
  • Civil Rights and the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Financial Management
  • Labor Standards
You may attend the workshop even if you are not interested in becoming certified.
What does my registration fee cover?
Your registration (contact CRD for costs) includes workshop handouts and an administration manual, continental breakfasts, lunches and breaks.
What is included in the manual?
The manual describes how to document compliance with the program rules and regulations, according to each compliance area: e.g. labor, acquisition, finance procurement, civil rights and environment. CDBG staff continually update the manual to include modifications in any program rules and methods of compliance.
Who are the workshop presenters? What are their credentials?
All CDBG staff possess expertise in their assigned area of compliance and keep current with governing regulations. They are responsible for writing the manual chapters and presenting the workshop sessions that correlate with their area of compliance. They provide technical assistance and serve as a contact person for their program area.
I panic at the thought of testing. . . what can I do about this?
Relax. The intent of the program is to help you increase your understanding in all areas of the CDBG program.

The purpose of the evaluations and case studies are to encourage you to use the manual as the reference for understanding CDBG requirements as they relate to actual projects.

You can expect to receive a response on the outcome of your certification evaluation within 45 days following the workshop. If you successfully complete the workshop, you are certified for a two-year period.
How will communities know I am certified?
Following the workshop, the Community and Rural Development Division assembles a list of certified grant administrators. The list is available here.
How do I recertify?
The initial certification is effective for three years. Upon recertification, certification becomes effective for four year periods. Recertification trainings will be offered once each year. Recertification must be successfully completed prior to the expiration of the Administrator’s certification. Certified Administrators may attend recertification training and pass the exam in either the third or fourth year of certification to maintain the certification. Once successfully recertified, Administrators will be certified for another four years beyond the certification expiration date, regardless of whether the recertification took place in the third or fourth year of certification.

Those who do not pass the exam at the Recertification training or fail to attend the Recertification training prior to the expiration of their certification will be put on probation until the next Full Certification. The person on probation may continue with current agreements; however, the person will not be eligible to enter into new agreements. In order to be removed from probation and regain status as a CDBG Certified Administrator, the person will need to attend the Full Certification and pass the written exam given at the next scheduled Full Certification training. In this event, an Administrator who attends and successfully completes Full Certification to be removed from probation will be recertified for 2 years. Failure to attend the next Full Certification results in being decertified. A decertified Administrator is not eligible to attend a Department training for the purposes of becoming certified for one year.

In the event that an Administrator attends Full Certification to be removed from probation and does not pass the exam, the Administrator will be decertified and will not be allowed to attend Department training for the purposes of certification for one year. During this one year period, the individual will not be recognized as a Certified Administrator by the Department and will not be allowed to administer any CDBG grants.

After the one year period, the person may attend Full Certification training to once again become certified. Individuals who re-enter the Certified Administrator program may not attend a Recertification training to become certified. Such individuals will be treated as first-time participants and will initially be certified for 3 years after successfully completing Full Certification training and passing the exam.

The due date for recertification is noted on the Certification Certificate or recertification notice. Note that certification expiration and renewal is based upon a specific calendar date and not based on the CDBG program year. Certified Administrators may need to be recertified during an ongoing project.

The Department sends out certification expiration notices to Administrators, as well as notices in regard to available trainings. However, failure to receive a notice does not exempt an Administrator from meeting any Recertification training requirements.
Could I ever lose my certification?
A Certified Administrator may be decertified if these following actions are documented and verified by Department staff. These actions include but are not limited to:
  1. Consistently bypassing federal or state policy and regulations.
  2. Actions that result in the de-obligation or refund of grant awards.
  3. Two or more substantiated, written complaints filed by the grantee, agent, elected official or other individual involved in the implementation of federal grants.
  4. Poor performance by the grantee, as evidenced by consistent grant extensions, modifications, project delays, and unresolved monitoring issues.
  5. Improper procurement of contractors.
  6. Blatant conflicts of interest which, if disclosed, would result in the loss of the contract.
  7. Failure to attend the mandatory trainings and pass the exam administered at the required trainings.
  8. Additional violations while on probation or being placed on probation twice within three years.
  9. Engaging in conduct involving significant dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation whether or not such activity is a crime.
  10. Engaging in any conduct significantly prejudicial to the administration of CDBG programs or grants.
At the discretion of the CDBG Program Manager and the Director of the Community and Rural Development Division of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, the aforementioned actions can result in the implementation of the decertification process without an initial or additional probationary status.

An Administrator, who is decertified for any reason, including failure to attend mandatory trainings and pass the exams, will need to wait one year before attending the Full Certification training. A decertified administrator may not attend a Recertification Training in order to become reinstated as a Certified Administrator.

The Department reserves the right, with cause, to add to this list with notice any action detrimental to the efficient conduct and timely execution of a grant award that is attributable to the performance of a Certified Grant Administrator. Decertification will not take place without due process.


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Nebraska Department of Economic Development | Courtney Dentlinger, Department Director
301 Centennial Mall South | P.O. Box 94666 | Lincoln, NE 68509-4666
Phone (800) 426-6505 | Fax (402) 471-3778