Disability Employment Initiative Request For Applications


The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity announces the release of the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) Application for Local Innovation Projects. The goal of this program is to expand employment opportunities, growth, and satisfaction for people with disabilities. 


​Illinois and the local partners will implement DEI program components specified by the US Department of Labor as ways to increase education and employment outcomes of individuals with disabilities.

  1. Expanded Interagency Partnerships
  2. Integrated Resource Teams
  3. Financial Literacy and Asset Development
  4. Employment and Training services

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 as specified in each Request for Application (RFA).


​The Commerce Office of Employment and Training (OET) will provide up to $950,000 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.  The DEI is experimental in nature, and each DEI grant is targeted to pilot services for specific age groups, in specific geographic areas. See below for the focus of each funding stream.

ILLINOIS DEI ROUND 4 - Projects serving adults in Local Workforce 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.

ILLINOIS DEI ROUND 5 - Projects serving youth in Local Workforce Area 6 (DuPage County) and North/Northwest suburban Cook County will be funded.