Workforce Back to Business Grant

Worcester County Economic Development Workforce Back to Business Grant


$500 one time grants provided in order to support workforce expenses incurred by small Worcester County Maryland businesses as they comply with guidelines in Maryland’s Roadmap to Recovery and the Maryland Strong Back to Business pledge to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  These grants are specifically intended for smaller Worcester County businesses that do not have resources to assist them in accessing larger federal and state assistance programs.

Examples of ELIGIBLE Workforce Expenses

  • New hire expenses, including training hours (supporting documentation would be payroll report or paystub and evidence of hire date after 3/13/20)
  • Employee Compensation outside of regular duties and specifically related to COVID-19 including training, extra cleaning/sanitizing, construction, converting to online business model by upgrading website or creating ecommerce solutions, installation (supporting documentation would be a payroll report or paystub annotating how the hours were used)
  • Contract Labor Expense related to COVID-19 including training, extra cleaning/sanitizing, construction, converting to online business model by upgrading website or creating ecommerce solutions, installation, etc (supporting documentation would be invoice from contractor)
  • Materials that support your workforce, including PPE in appropriate quantities to your business operations (supporting documentation would be receipts)
  • Materials to support physical distancing in your public-facing business such as plexiglass barrier, room divider, carryout window, floor markings/paint, COVID-19 signage (supporting documentation would be receipts and images of completed work)
  • Transportation expenses related to COVID-19 such as gas/drive time for delivery if delivery was not already part of your business model, bus passes for new hires and regular employees* this provision is specific to those businesses who are hiring regional workers to replace seasonal labor normally supplied by J1 students, but can also be used to support transportation expenses for employees reliant on public transportation (supporting documentation would be receipts and proof of address)

Examples of INELGIBLE Workforce Expenses

  • Rent or Mortgage
  • Utilities
  • Inventory
  • Regular Employee Compensation or Payroll

Business Eligibility

  • physical business located in a commercial, industrial or mixed use space
  • licensed to operate in Worcester County or the city/town where they are located
  • fewer than 10 full time employees or 20 part time employees or the equivalent (ie: a business that has 5 full time employees and10 part time employees will be considered equivalent to a business that has 10 full time employees or 20 part time employees) 
  • operational and actively conducting business in Worcester county on or before January 1, 2020
  • nonprofit/tax exempt organizations are not eligible
  • publicly traded companies and subsidiaries of publicly traded companies are not eligible
  • businesses must be able to certify that they suffered a financial impact of at least $500 in order to comply with new safety guidelines as a result of COVID-19 and that the loss was not reimbursed by insurance or another government assistance program
  • grants may be used for qualified expenses incurred retroactive to March 13, 2020

Application Process

  1. Click here to complete the online application for the WCED Workforce Back to Business Grant 

  2. Email signed Maryland Strong Back to Business Pledge to

  3. Applications will be accepted from June 5, 2020 through June 19, 2020 and qualified applicants will receive funds on a first come, first served basis. Applicants will be notified by July 1, 2020.

Nonprofit Organizations

While we recognize that COVID-19 has put an extraordinary strain on nonprofit organizations too, this particular grant fund is earmarked for businesses only.  The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore has engaged a fund specifically for the purpose of aiding lower shore nonprofit organizations in COVID-19 emergency relief and currently has another round of nonprofit funding available.  Please visit for more information on how to apply.