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SMB grants available for Illinois businesses trying to retain employees

Illinois grants

CHAMPAIGN (The Center Square) – Small businesses in Illinois trying to stay afloat during the pandemic can now apply for state grants to help avoid layoffs.

The funding range for COVID-19 Layoff Aversion grants is $5,000 to $50,000 per employer and physical location. The grant program is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

To receive funding, employers must document the impact of the emergency on their business and the associated layoff risk factors.

Kathy Larson, an economic development specialist with the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, said the funds can be used for a variety of purposes.

“These funds cannot be used for wages, but they can be used for activities and equipment that the business may purchase to help keep employees working, whether it be remotely or on-site,” said Larson.

Larson said the grants can also be used to make the workplace safer.

“It could also include cleaning services that they need to do in their facility to keep employees coming back to do work safely in their place of work,” said Larson.

Larson said all funded projects must produce measurable outcomes including the number of jobs saved, an estimated amount of annual wages saved, and other relevant project-specific results.

Reporting by Kevin Bessler

The Center Square -- formerly known as Watchdog.org and the Illinois News Network -- and their reporters represent 18 states across the United States as the taxpayers' watchdog, exposing the way government really works.

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