The Chamber and St. Johns County have a newly launched matching grants program for businesses to become a Certified Autism Center (CAC).
The grant will help businesses make necessary accommodations and train local public-facing staff to better serve neurodiverse individuals, including guests with autism and sensory needs. The certification will make a positive impact and attract more diverse visitors to the area as an inclusive community.
The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) is the certification provider for the Autism Certification Initiative. By providing training and certification to professionals in healthcare, education, hospitality, travel, recreation, public safety, and corporate spaces, numerous individuals and communities those professionals serve can thrive.
The program is set up as a first-come first-served grant program until the funds are fully granted.
The Business will apply for the grant.
The Chamber Grant Review Committee will review the application for the grant and determine eligibility/approve the
The Business will receive approval or denial of the grant application from the Chamber of Commerce.
Once selected, the Business will receive a quote from the certification provider International of Credentialing and
Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). Once received, you can determine whether to accept or not.
Upon completing the training/certification, the Business will pay its full invoice to IBCCES.
The Business will then request reimbursement of 50% of their training/certification expense and provide proof of payment to
IBCCES to the Chamber.
The Chamber will review the reimbursement request and upon approval, the Chamber will issue an invoice to the County and
issue a reimbursement check to the business.
Who is eligible to apply?
St. Johns County businesses that are in the Tourism or Hospitality industry (such as restaurants, attractions, overnight accommodations, etc.) who have been open for at least one (1) calendar year and are seeking training/certification for their public-facing staff.
Not-for-profit tourism-oriented businesses (such as historic landmarks and attractions) are highly encouraged to apply!
What does the grant do for me?
After grant approval and completion of certification, the Business will be reimbursed 50% of the IBCCES cost up to $5,000.