Introduction:
This is a Request for Information (RFI) only issued for conducting market research and eliciting industry s input as to the Government s requirement. Accordingly, this RFI constitutes neither a Request for Proposal/Quote (RFP/RFQ) nor a guarantee that one will be issued by the Government in the future; furthermore, it does not commit the Government to contract for any services described herein. Do not submit a Quote/Proposal.

Requirement:
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is on a mission to enhance the Transition experience from military to civilian life for service members, Veterans, members of the National Guard, Reserves and their loved ones. Through the Veterans Benefits Administration, Office of Transition and Economic Development, there is a requirement for an innovative mobile application meant for service members entering the military-to-civilian transition along with current and former members of the National Guard or Reserves and all other Veterans looking for employment while increasing their social connection and enhancing their transition from military to civilian life.

The components necessary in the mobile application include: Employment (at a minimum, allows users to use the application to search all jobs available, translate occupation codes used in the military and upload resume. The Government is also looking to incorporate logic to streamline matching available jobs to the individual s occupation codes. The current/prototype implementation is curated by IBM s Watson Employment Manager, a cognitive artificial intelligence tool that helps translate military skill sets into civilian positions. The application will also help users tailor their job searches specifically to what they are skilled in and what they aspire to achieve. Build social connection in the app.

In the current/protype implementation, there is functionality termed The Squad, which focuses on personal relationships and social connectedness. For users who opt in, the app will reach out to people in their emotional support networks to check in on them ahead of time, if they sense themselves (or the app finds that they are) approaching a downward emotional spiral. The app should support users in building a social network (or squad) with current contacts.

Users need the ability to post text, photos, and multimedia securely. Digital Assistant & Resources (at a minimum has a built-in chat-bot backed by necessary technology to engage the app user and provide real-time resources including financial advice, employment support and information on benefits available to the Veteran from across Federal and Private providers).

The current/prototype implementation, includes a digital assistant and AI-enabled chatbot to help users with general questions, connect them with resources specific to their needs and that can also detect if users do not sound normal to their baseline. If so, it can put them in touch with the help they need. All back-end technology to be included which would run the mobile app to include any artificial intelligence, employment search capability, etc. Customer service support for mobile application users for problem solving, etc. Identity management system that would allow current or history of military service to be verified.

Responses: Please submit the below requested information by 5:00 pm EST on January 22, 2021 via email to Juan.Quinones@va.gov and Luis.Lozada-Santiago@va.gov. VA reserves the right to not respond to any, all, or select responses or materials submitted. All VA current requirements identified herein are subject to change at any time. If you experience any problems or have any questions concerning this announcement, please contact Juan Quinones or Luis Lozada-Santiago via email. VA appreciates your time and anticipated response.

As part of your RFI response, please provide the following information:

GENERAL: Include the following identification information: Company Name CAGE/DUNS Number under which the company is registered in SAM/VetBiz.gov Company Address Point of contact name Telephone number Email address Identify existing contract vehicles (NASA SEWP V GWAC, GSA, T4NG, etc.) in which you are a contract holder that can be utilized to procure these services. With respect to the subject effort, would you be the prime contractor? As the Prime Contractor, what tasks describe above would your company perform? Please describe your teaming arrangement. If a small business, what type of small business are you? Are you able to comply with VAAR 852.219-10, VA Notice of Total Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Set-Aside and with subcontracting limitations in 13 CFR 125.6 in execution of this effort? What experience does your organization have at providing similar services of size and scope to other Federal agencies and/or industry? For Federal awards provide contract number and agency points of contacts.

CAPABILITY STATEMENT: Please submit a capability statement describing your company s ability to meet the overall effort described above and the questions below. The capability statement shall be limited to 10 pages. Responses should include: VA has developed a mobile application called GRIT to improve the military to civilian transition and post Transition/Veteran Status. This application is an open source application developed and currently hosted by IBM. Offerors should detail if they can migrate and support this application to a separate environment while maintaining all functionality described in the Requirement section above, and thereafter potentially enhancing and scaling the application.

Please provide your approach to this migration, hosting, licensing, scaling and enhancement. What is the anticipated cost to license the application, are there costs expected beyond the licensing cost? What is the anticipated timeframes for each phase you would propose to deliver these application services? Please address how IBM proprietary technology and data, which constitutes key portions of GRIT, would be replaced with technology of equal or superior capability, with specific content regarding the use of artificial intelligence in the area of employment management. If the Offeror cannot migrate and enhance this application, is there a mobile application capable of meeting the above requirements for use on both the Android & iOS devices that is currently available and if so, what the estimated price for launching the mobile application to the public would be, including the ability to perform necessary updates, customer service and scaling.

Please address how the Offeror would compensate for the non-availability of IBM proprietary data and technology needed to complete the development effort. Detail on how the data provided through the mobile app would be securely stored and transmitted. Detail on your experience and expertise and capabilities in the following areas: Mobile application development and security Veteran cultural competency Personality analysis Transition challenges identification Squad creation Employment fulfillment POST RFI REVIEW PHASE VA envisions that once RFI responses are reviewed, select responders may be invited to provide a face-to-face or telephonic briefing to VA personnel to answer additional questions with respect to the response given. VA retains sole discretion of whether any post RFI briefings are warranted and which industry partners may be invited to provide additional market research information.

The full solicitation is here – https://beta.sam.gov/opp/1dc3d809125d4839ae88a1208c5aa677/view