Layoff Aversion Support Fund Program

We have received the maximum number of applications allowed.

The application period is now closed.


In order to support small businesses facing financial impact from the COVID-19 emergency, California Employment Development (EDD) provided $700,000.00 in Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds to Orange County Workforce Development Board (OCWDB) in partnership with Orange County Community Services - Community Investment Division.


The OCWDB COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Support Program shall assist local small businesses in Orange County with accessing these funds in order to mitigate layoffs and adhere to “social distancing” provisions established by state and federal public health entities, including California Executive Orders N-33-20(COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Orders). 



  • Completed program applications will be reviewed for eligibility by OCWDB. Eligible applications will be submitted to the Layoff Aversion Application Review Committee for consideration and approval on a first-come, first-served basis until all available funds have been committed. Applications will be accepted starting on May 21, 2020 at 9:00 AM (Pacific Standard Time) through May 28, 2020 5:00 PM (Pacific Standard Time) or until 170 applications are received. Consideration may be given to the geographic distribution of award districts.

  • Funding will be provided on a reimbursement basis; therefore, adequate documentation will be required to substantiate allowable costs incurred and paid by the employer.

  • Employee wages and benefits (including Hazard Pay) are NOT allowable/reimbursable costs under the terms of this grant funding. Please see below for allowable activities/costs.

  • Businesses may not use this funding opportunity to operate in violation of the COVID-19 Stay-at Home Order during the duration of the California Governors Orders N-33-20.


Employer Eligibility Requirements

An employer must meet the following general criteria to be considered for local funding:

  • Priority consideration will be given to Small Businesses located within the Orange County Workforce System,

  • Be located within Orange County;

  • Are up-to-date on Unemployment Insurance (UI) taxes and are in good standing with the State of California

  • Employer must have a workforce of 500 or fewer staff

  • Employers may only apply for one-site or location in Orange County

  • Only one application may be submitted per organization

  • All jobs must pay minimum wage or more

  • Applicants must use the funds to help avert imminent layoffs or furloughs as a result of the COVID-19 economic crisis

  • Must be able to demonstrate a need for layoff aversion support due to the impacts of COVID-19;

  • Must be able to enter into an agreement with Orange County that includes the conditions outlined in the application.

  • Must be able to complete quarterly reports for up to one year after receipt of award


Program Funding

  • The range for COVID‐19 Layoff Aversion Support funding is $500 ‐ $10,000 per employer (based on demonstrated need and availability of funding).

  • The employer must document the impact of the COVID-19 National Health Emergency on the company.

  • Applications will be accepted by Orange County and reviewed for approval consideration by the Layoff Aversion Application Review Committee on a rolling, first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted. The application period will start May 21, 2020 and is scheduled to end May 28, 2020 or when 170 applications are received, whichever comes first.

  • Consideration will be given to the geographic distributions of awards.

  • Applicants will be required to submit receipts to support purchases made utilizing the WIOA federal funding.


Allowable Activities

The following are examples of allowable activities/costs that Layoff Aversion funds can be used to address COVID-19-related effects on essential employers and workers:

  • Cost of cleaning/sanitization service to perform a deep cleaning of a small business that needs its employees to be at work, on-site.

  • Purchase of specific software program(s) and/or hardware (computers) that employee(s) would need to work from home/remotely to support “social distancing” and limit potential exposure to COVID-19.

  • A call center environment requiring the purchase of remote access supplies, including laptop computers and/or smartphones, that employee(s) would need to support working from home/remotely.

  • A company may purchase an online sales platform to sell services virtually so that existing staff roles can be repurposed for order fulfillment.

  • To support social distancing and limit potential exposure to COVID-19, a company that usually runs two shifts of workers adds a third shift, so that fewer employees are onsite at any given time.

  • Layoff Aversion funding could be used to offset related costs, excluding employee wages and benefits, for a company adding shift(s) so that fewer employees are on-site at any given time. Funding may be used to support businesses that utilize the California EDD Unemployment Insurance Work Sharing Program by supplementing the employee’s income and benefits.

  • Funding may assist small businesses with resources to repurpose their business to meet the current community needs.

  • A company may use layoff aversion funding towards liability insurance for restaurants that convert to delivery while under COVID-19 emergency circumstances and/or stay at home orders

  • Funding may be used for training or professional development opportunities for employees to avoid layoffs;

  • A company implements training to redirect/reassign existing employees (Incumbent Workers) to support the production of goods and services that are needed to address COVID-19 and to preserve critical business operations.  Layoff aversion funding could be used to help pay for this type of Incumbent Worker Training project.

  • Adopting other creative approaches and strategies to reduce or eliminate the need for layoffs

This is not an all-inclusive list. Additional allowable activities that support layoff aversion for small businesses may be considered.


Prohibited Costs

Resources from the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund may not be used for the following:

  • Food and beverages

  • Indirect administrative costs

  • Rent

  • Mortgage Payments

  • Entertainment

  • Fines and penalties

  • Donations

  • Fundraising activities

  • Individual memberships and subscriptions

  • Employee wages/ benefits other than those utilizing the Work-sharing Unemployment Insurance Program

  • Hazard Pay

  • Support services such as childcare, transportation costs, lodging expenses, or meals;

  • Equipment with a per-unit value over $5,000; (must obtain OCCS prior approval before purchase)

  • Political or religious activities;

  • Branding and marketing projects;

  • Fundraising, Fines, Penalties, Donations; or

  • Costs that are not reasonable, necessary, and directly related to the purpose of the approved COVID19 Layoff Aversion project.




For consideration, eligible employers must complete a program application found on the OC One-Step website (

At a minimum, a completed application must include:

  • The number of employees affected;

  • A brief profile of the business including industry, occupation, and physical location(s);

  • A brief narrative describing the layoff aversion plan, timeline and need for funds;

  • The amount of funds requested and brief budget description;

  • A commitment to keep employees on staff through 365 calendar days from the date of the grant award; and,

A commitment of the employer to adhere to the required certifications and reporting requirements.  Incomplete applications will not be accepted.


Application Review

The OCWDB COVID‐19 Layoff Aversion Support funding application period shall commence on May 21, 2020 at 9:00 AM (Pacific Standard Time) and end on May 28, 2020 at 5:00 PM (Pacific Standard Time) or once 170 online applications have been received, whichever comes first.

Completed applications will be reviewed by OCWDB for eligibility and submitted to the layoff aversion application review committee for approval consideration. Applications will be reviewed and approved on a first-come, first-served basis until all the available funds have been committed.

Applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Amount requested

  • Regional and Local Need;

  • Size of Business (Priority will be given to small businesses, as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Please visit the SBA website for more information.)

  • Impact of the Project; and

  • Number of Layoffs Avoided

  • Targeted Industries and Occupations (as outlined in the Regional Workforce Plan)

  • Economic Impact on Community

  • Geographic Distribution of Awards.

The Layoff Aversion Application Review Committee, comprised of Staff from Orange County and Members of the Orange County Workforce Development Board, must ensure that approved application adheres to the purpose of the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Support Funds.


If approved, the OCWDB in partnership with OCCS – Community Investment Division will inform applicants via email is their application for the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Support Fund has been approved or denied by no later than June 10, 2020.


If approved, the OCWDB in partnership with OCCS – Community Investment Division will provide the business with a COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Support Fund Award notification to be executed by the business and an Orange County Grant Agreement.  Approved businesses MUST submit completed grant agreements to Orange County for review within five (5) business days of notification via Orange County DocuSign. Once signed, the grant award is considered executed.  After a grant agreement has been formally executed, Orange County shall directly pay businesses on behalf of approved organizations.


If denied, within seven (7) calendar days from the notice of denial, the applicant may appeal the decision.  The appeal must be emailed to and; (1) state the grounds for the appeal; and, (2) state the reasons why the appellant should be approved.  The OCWDB in partnership with OCCS – Community Investment Division will consider all appeals and provide written response to the applicant within seven (7) calendar days of appeal receipt. 




  • The COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Support Fund was created with federal and state WIOA Rapid Response resources.  As a result, participating businesses and organizations shall be required to submit quarterly reports and expense receipts. 

  • The outcome measures for these grants include the number of jobs averted, the estimated amount of annual wages protected, and other relevant project-specific results.

  • Orange County will be required to gather specific information regarding each employer project under this grant and report program activity (quarterly) and final outcomes to the Layoff Aversion Application Review Committee.

  • This program is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and grantees must follow all applicable WIOA regulations.

  • All costs must be documented in accordance with the eligible layoff aversion activities and must be documented in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards located at 2 CFR Part 200.

  • TEGL 19-16 (particularly pages 26-27)

  • 20 CFR 682.320

  • Must provide a D-U-N-S Number.  If one doesn’t exist, go to the Dun & Bradstreet website to apply for a free D-U-N-S number.

  • (The D-U-N-S Number is a unique 9-digit identifier issued and maintained by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) that verifies the existence of a business entity.  The D-U-N-S number is needed to coordinate with the System for Award Management (SAM) that combines federal procurement systems and the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance into one new system.

  • Debarment/Suspension Certification

This grant will be monitored by the County of Orange Community Services -Contracts Monitoring & Program Compliance Team.

This WIOA Title I financially assisted program or activity is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. TDD/TTY users, please call the California Relay Service (800) 735-2922 or 711.  If you need special assistance to participate in this program, please contact 714-480-6500 at least 72 hours prior to the event to allow reasonable arrangements to be made to ensure program accessibility.