Demand Side Employment Initiative (DSEI)

The Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) received a one-time appropriation of $10 million to fund strategic initiatives to increase the employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. With this funding, DOR has created the Demand Side Employment Initiative (DSEI), an employer incentive program to support businesses to expand or start hiring people with disabilities.

The DSEI consists of four key elements:

EmployABILITY Business Grant

Apply for funding ranging from $20,000 to $200,000

  • Small and medium-sized businesses can apply for a grant ranging from $20,000 to $200,000, with the possibility of additional funding in the future, to support hiring and training individuals with disabilities.

  • These grants will allow businesses to introduce and expand disability-inclusive hiring practices.

  • Businesses may use the grants for equipment, new hire costs, training, consulting services, physical location improvements, or other needs related to the hiring and retention of employees with disabilities.

  • Free technical assistance is available to businesses for implementation and support of employing individuals with disabilities. We will provide our expertise to support your business. Technical assistance will be tailored to custom fit your business needs and comes at no cost to you.


HOW TO APPLY: EmployABILITY Business Grant

Apply here:

Review the funding application and reach out to with any questions. Fill out the attachments A-F for the funding application titled "RFI DSEI-22-01 Demand Side Employment Initiative". For more information go to the EmployABILITY website.

Please email responses to: with the following subject line: RFI #DSEI-22-01 Response Package

The EmployABILITY Business Grant Panel will evaluate each application. The panel will use the following factors in their evaluation of each case:

  • Availability of grant funding
  • Impact of hiring individuals with disabilities


Targeted Marketing Campaign

EmployABILITY grant recipients will be highlighted in a customized media and marketing campaign

  • DOR has earmarked $2 million for a targeted media and marketing campaign to support the recruitment and employment of individuals with disabilities.

  • This strategic multimedia marketing campaign will spotlight the EmployABILITY grant recipient businesses who are champions for disability inclusive hiring in California.

Earn and Learn Opportunities

Funding available to establish a training program that leads Californians with disabilities to employment

  • Funding is available for businesses to establish a training program that leads Californians with disabilities to employment.

  • This is an opportunity for your organization to receive funding to train individuals with disabilities for employment readiness.

  • Funding will support the creation of curriculum and recruiting/training program participants for positions within your business or other partnered organizations.

  • Earn and Learn participants receive the benefit of candidates that have been specifically trained for the positions within their organization, AND funding would cover the first couple of weeks of the new hire’s salary.

For more information, please reach out to

Earn and Learn Participants:

Human Resources Training and Collateral

California specific certificate program for HR professionals for building inclusive workspaces

  • The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is creating a customized version of their Employing Abilities at Work program that is specific to California state policy, law, and cultural considerations.

  • This California-specific certificate program aims to expand knowledge and awareness of building inclusive workplaces by engaging learners who are future and current HR professionals and learning managers.

  • SHRM certifications increase pay for HR professionals, and this certification program would be worth a minimum of 10 credits for current HR professionals’ recertification.

  • SHRM will develop a curriculum guide/lesson plan for community colleges and will partner with community colleges to implement this certification to strengthen HR professionals' knowledge, skills, and abilities to attract, hire, and retain Californians with disabilities.

  • HR professionals and hiring managers will gain knowledge and practical skills about disability inclusion in the workplace, which will lead to large-scale, systemic change in the equitable hiring opportunities.