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The EmployABILITY Business Grant Tips and Tricks: Cost Narrative

The EmployABILITY Business Grant provides small- and medium-sized businesses with $20,000-$200,000 in funds when they commit to creating long-term employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Now it’s even easier to apply with our grant application tips.

Person working on a laptop with their phone, coffee, and glasses.

The EmployABILITY Business Grant application requires:

  • Business and contact information

  • Cost proposal and narrative

  • Commitment goals

  • Proof of business status

  • Small business certification, if applicable

This blog focuses on the cost proposal and narrative, which describes how your business will use grant funds while creating meaningful work experiences for individuals with disabilities. The seven categories for using funds are:

  • Personnel costs – relating to those hired or retained to assist with the hiring, onboarding, or training of individuals with disabilities

  • Consulting services – such as those providing inclusivity or hiring practice trainings

  • Equipment purchases – equipment or materials required for individuals with disabilities to be successful in the workplace, including office supplies or technology

  • New hire costs – the first four weeks’ salary or wages of any permanent hires or interns with disabilities

  • Training/Learning program – job training or internship for individuals with disabilities

  • Physical location improvement – renovations of the business’s physical location that make it more accessible for individuals with disabilities, such as ADA-compliant bathrooms or workspaces

  • Barrier removal – any improvements or actions that make it easier for an individual with disabilities to work for the business, including transportation to the workplace

While working through the application and these categories, keep these tips in mind:

Remember that there are many different kinds of disabilities. When thinking about how to use funds in any category, remember that people with different disabilities require different accommodations. An ADA-compliant ramp may be a great accommodation for a wheelchair user, but noise-muffling headphones may be a better choice for an individual who’s on the autism spectrum. Visit the Job Accommodation networks website for more information on what modifications can be made for people with different disabilities.

Think about the long term. That’s the EmployABILITY Business Grant’s purpose! The grant helps small businesses in California grow for years to come as they hire long-term employees with disabilities.

Baker putting bread in a commercial oven.

Consider the opportunities.

Equipment purchase is an opportunity

to both support your new hire with a disability and expand your business. For example, if a bakery uses the grant to buy a new oven, it creates an opportunity to hire more people to use that oven.

Integrate your training/learning program into your new hiring process. You want your new hires to be well-qualified and vetted. Training them and getting to know them increases the likelihood that you’ll be ready to hire them for a long-term position.

Think outside of the box, especially for barrier removal. Goods or services in the barrier removal category make it easier for individuals with disabilities to work for your business. These can be much more than renovations, so get creative! Find more examples of barrier removal in our next blog post, The EmployABILITY Business Grant Tips and Tricks: Barrier Removal.

The EmployABILITY Business Grant is a great way to grow your business and upgrade your hiring by employing individuals with disabilities. The application process doesn’t have to be difficult! Using these tips and other resources available can make applying for the grant much easier. If you have questions about applying, email


Image by Nick Karvounis

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