Disability Employment Initiative Serving Adults

​The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (Commerce) announces the release of the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) Application for Special Projects.

The goal of this program is to expand employment opportunities, growth, and satisfaction for people with disabilities.

For this round of DEI, only projects serving Local Workforce Innovation Areas 1 (Lake County), and 25 (Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Perry, and Williamson Counties) will be funded.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until funds are depleted.

The first round of funding decisions will be made in January.


The Illinois DEI will serve individuals with disabilities, ages 18-64 and in addition to partnership strategies, will include integrating financial literacy and integrated resource teams into the service delivery model of the Illinois workNet® Center. These strategies will be used to implement a broader range of services from On-the-Job Training opportunities and self-employment to integrated employment strategies for individuals with disabilities.


Illinois and the local partners in LWIA 1 and LWIA 25 will implement the three main DEI components identified by the US Department of Labor as ways to increase education and employment outcomes of individuals with disabilities.

  1. Expanded Interagency Partnerships
  2. Asset Development
  3. Employment and Training services, including Integrated Resource Teams

These strategies are not mutually exclusive and complement each other in the context of Illinois’ overall implementation approach to providing individuals with disabilities with employment opportunities.  Applicants should include how their proposal addresses one or all of these core components. The components are described in further detail in the Request for Application.


The Commerce Office of Employment and Training (OET) will provide up to $500,000 in Disability Employment Initiative funds to support local projects.  The estimated maximum award will be $100,000 per project. Grant funds may be used for projects that expand employment opportunities and employment growth for individuals with disabilities.


Commerce will accept proposals from social service agencies, private-sector for profit and non-profit employers, educational institutions, and private sector for profit and non-profit training providers or other entities, such as sector employer associations with the ability to engage employers to facilitate training placements

DEI Round 4 Serves Adults


  • ​DEI Local Projects Applications (MS Word)
  • DEI Local Projects RFA (PDF)
  • DEI Performance Definitions (PDF)