HIRE Initiative logo

Helping Justice-Involved Reenter Employment (HIRE)

The California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) is pleased to announce the Helping Justice-Involved Reenter Employment (HIRE) initiative, a new funding opportunity for community-based organizations (CBOs) and other non-profits to provide employment services to justice-involved individuals. Approximately $50,000,000 is available to qualified grantees. The initiative’s objectives are to:

  • Increase employment opportunities and job mobility for formerly incarcerated and justice-involved individuals.
  • Provide training, reskilling and upskilling, and supportive services to justice-involved individuals to improve employment opportunities and job mobility.

In alignment with these objectives, the HIRE initiative will fund community-based organizations and other non-profits that specialize in serving the reentry population and demonstrate the following:

  • Relationships with employers that hire individuals with a criminal record.
  • A history of developing training programs with feedback from the reentry population.

Potential applicants are encouraged to review the full Request for Applications document prior to applying for HIRE funds.

HIRE Request for Applications (RFA)

Grant Implementation Resources

HIRE Grant Administration Guide

HIRE Orientation Presentation

HIRE Orientation Presentation Script

HIRE Orientation Presentation Slides

HIRE Onboarding Self-Attestation Form

Application Process & Application Guide

Applicants may apply for the HIRE by submitting a complete application package via the Cal-E-Grants website.

The HIRE application can be found on Cal-E-Grants under the Funding Opportunities link (in the upper left corner) or the CWDB link (in the middle of the webpage).

Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the HIRE Application Guide before submitting an application. The Application Guide includes detailed instructions for completing an online application.

Application Guide

Prospective Applicant Survey

The Prospective Applicant Survey is a resource tool for all organizations interested in applying for HIRE funding. It collects information about organizational size, capacity, and plans for awarded funding. The CWDB is compiling this information for distribution amongst California’s reentry serving the community. Please note that all information is self-reported, and the CWDB has not, will not, and does not plan to verify its validity otherwise. Organizations who have completed the survey may request a copy by sending an e-mail to Solicitations@cwdb.ca.gov

About HIRE Networks

A HIRE network is a group of organizations applying collectively via one application. HIRE networks will consist of a single large CBO as the lead applicant, or Hub, and one or more large or small CBOs as partner applicants, or Spoke(s). Organizations applying as a HIRE Network will be expected to work together collectively throughout the grant term to serve the reentry community. HIRE Networks may operate throughout the state and serve one or more counties, cities, and/or other jurisdictions. Networks may be industry focused or contain partners that offer a variety of different services that serve the reentry community.

This is an infographic of the four project types for HIRE: independent projects, network hubs, network spokes, and technical assistance. 

Partnership descriptions for HIRE networks containing Hub Size #1

Partnership descriptions for HIRE networks containing Hub Size #2

Partnership descriptions for HIRE networks containing Hub Size #3

Award amounts for large and small Independent applicants

HIRE Application Webinar

The CWDB hosted a webinar on May 22, 2023, where prospective applicants could learn more about the HIRE Initiative and application process. The HIRE Application Webinar can be viewed on YouTube as an additional resource. We strongly encourage applicants to also review the RFA and Application Guide.

Office Hours

The CWDB will host virtual office hours sessions for prospective applicants to assist with technical issues related to the online application in Cal-E-Grants and field questions about the application process. The dates and times for each session can be found below in the Grant Timeline section.

Grant Timeline

RFA ReleaseMay 15, 2023
Application WebinarMay 22, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. PST
Hub WebinarMay 30, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. PST
Spoke WebinarJune 7, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. PST
Office Hours #1June 15, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. PST
Office Hours #2June 29, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. PST
Office Hours #3July 6, 2023, at 3:00 p.m. PST
Applications DueJuly 10, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. PST
Award AnnouncementSeptember 2023*
Contract Processing4-6 months*
Estimated Program Start DateEarly 2024*
Grant Term12 months


The CWDB reserves the right to change dates listed on this webpage, the Cal-E-Grants website, and/or the RFA.

Funding Source Information

HIRE funds are supported by the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) in alignment with AB-178.

Per AB-178, HIRE includes $50 million for encumbrance or expenditure until June 30, 2027. Funds may be used for one or a combination of eligible direct services, supportive services, and needs-related payments to support individuals’ reentry and subsequent job search. Funds may also be utilized for job readiness activities that serve as bridge activities that lead to enrollment and completion of training programs, such as obtaining a driver’s license or housing.

See the RFA for more information about HIRE funds.

Creating a Cal-E-Grants Account

To access the HIRE application, applicants must have a Cal-E-Grants account. Take the following steps to create a new Cal E-Grants account:

  1. Navigate to Cal-E-Grants.
  2. Select Log In in the top right hand corner of the page.
  3. Click on the Sign Up button and create account.
  4. Select Sign Up and then check email to receive username and instructions to log in.

If a Cal-E-Grants account exists for the organization (check under Already have an account?) the primary account holder may add a new user. Refer to Manage Users for more information.

Once logged in, select the Apply button in the right-hand corner of the page to begin your application.

Weekly Questions & Answers (Q&A)

HIRE Q&A (July 7, 2023)

All questions about the HIRE program will be addressed in a Q&A document weekly throughout the application period. The Weekly Q&A will be posted on this webpage beginning Friday, May 26, 2023. Interested applicants are encouraged to search the Q&A document to locate answers to frequently asked or previously asked questions prior to submitting a new question. The CWDB will not include duplicative questions.

Questions must be received each Tuesday by 2:00 p.m. (PST) to be included in that Friday’s weekly posting. Questions received after 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday will be included in the following week’s Q&A.

The last Q&A posting will be Friday, July 7, and questions must be received by Monday, July 3, at 3:00 p.m. to receive an answer. Questions submitted after the deadline will not be included or answered in the Q&A.

Please email questions to Solicitations@cwdb.ca.gov and include HIRE Question in the subject line. 

Cal E-Grants Resources

HIRE Evaluation

Up to $750,000 will be awarded to an organization that will work in partnership with the CWDB Research and Evaluation (R&E) Team to evaluate the progress and impact of HIRE. The evaluation is expected to include the use of both qualitative and quantitative methods. The evaluation will focus on HIRE’s abilities to meet its primary objectives.  The evaluation will also identify best and promising practices to communicate to the CWDB and to workforce service providers throughout the state.

Organizations interested in applying should follow instructions set forth in the HIRE Evaluation RFA and the HIRE Evaluation Application Attachments.

HIRE Evaluation Questions & Answers (Q&A)

HIRE Award Announcement

HIRE Award Announcement 2023