The St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce and St. Johns County launched a matching grants program for businesses to become a Certified Autism Center (CAC) with the hopes of making the county a Certified Autism Destination.

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 issues. The certification will make a positive impact and attract more diverse visitors to the area as an inclusive community.

“This is a way to open your tourism and hospitality business to new markets and be better positioned to accommodate guests with neuro differences,” said Isabelle Renault, the Chamber’s President & CEO. “With one in 36 children diagnosed with autism, the certification will also benefit our local families. We are pleased to partner with the County to provide the matching grants on a first-come, first-served basis,” she said.

“Once you become a Certified Autism Center, you will be featured as a certified organization on, which was developed by IBCCES as a credible resource to help autistic individuals and their families and friends connect with trained and certified destinations, attractions, and related options. This international recognition is in the fastest-growing market in the travel industry,” said Meredith Tekin, President of the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). IBCCES will provide the certification for the Autism Certification Initiative, working closely with local businesses that are interested in applying.

The grant application is now live on the Chamber’s website, Any business or not-for-profit in the tourism and hospitality industry is urged to apply, however, there are certain requirements the business must meet to be eligible. The business must be in the tourism or hospitality industry, have a St. Johns County address, have been open at least one year, and are seeking training/certification for their public-facing staff.

“St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to opportunities and grants for members and the community. We strive to educate business owners and employees about many topics within our region and outside of St. Johns County. With this grant opportunity, the Chamber and St. Johns County will better serve a diverse group of people,” said Renault. For more information about the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce, visit or call 904.829.5681.


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Jamie Johnson

(904) 829-5681