The Welfare-to-Work (WTW) program is designed to assist CalWORKs family members to obtain or prepare for employment. Current CalWORKs rules ensure that individuals who work are better off financially than if they do not work.
Unless exempt, recipients of CalWORKs are required to participate in Welfare-to-Work activities as a condition of receiving aid.
CalWORKs recipients who are not required to participate in Welfare-to-Work activities may volunteer to take part in the program.
All Welfare-to-Work participants receive an orientation to the program and an appraisal of their education and employment background.
Initially, most individuals receive job search services (assistance in finding a job).
Additional employment-related services are provided based on an individual's education and work history. Individuals may be assigned to:
- Unpaid work experience/preparation.
- Vocational training placements.
- Adult education or community college programs.
- Subsidized employment placements.
- Job search services.
WTW Employment plans are individualized to meet the needs of each participant, while meeting the requirements of the WTW program. Recent rule changes have created a WTW 24-month time clock during which there is increased flexibility in the options of activities available. When the 24 months are exhausted, participation must meet stricter federal requirements.
Adults in one-parent families must spend at least 20 or 30 hours per week in Welfare-to-Work activities, depending on the age of the children in the family. The minimum participation requirement for two-parent families is 35 hours per week. Exempt volunteers may meet different requirements.
Program participants may be eligible for help with child care, transportation, and work-related or training-related expenses for any approved WTW activity. Mental Health and Substance Abuse treatment services are also available.
After recipients find work and earn enough to become ineligible to CalWORKs, a variety of services, including supportive services, are available for up to 6 months to assist them in transitioning to employment and self-sufficiency.
- What is the difference between CalWORKs and Welfare-to-Work?
Welfare-to-Work is just one part of the CalWORKs Program. Welfare-to-Work focuses specifically on assisting you in finding and keeping employment.
- What are Welfare-to-Work Supportive Services?
Individuals who are attending approved Welfare-to-Work activities may receive child care, transportation expense, and other services necessary for you to attend the required meetings, employment and other activities.
- What if I am unable to participate?
If you are unable to participate in Welfare-to-Work, you may meet an exemption reason. There are specific exemption reasons and other rules that may apply, so ask the county about your situation. The county will explain the requirements, will inform you what additional information is necessary, and will explain your options.
- Can I receive Welfare-to-Work services if I am exempt?
Yes. Although many CalWORKs recipients are exempt from participating in the Welfare-to-Work Program, Welfare-to-Work services can help you look for work and develop skills to help you become self-sufficient.
- Can I get CalWORKs and still go to college or vocational training?
Yes, education and vocational training may be approved Welfare-to-Work activities, depending on the individual’s needs. There are certain time limits and other rules about education, so ask the county about your situation.
- What is a Self-Initiated Program (SIP)?
A SIP is an education component in which you are enrolled prior to attending your Welfare-to-Work Appraisal. When your education or training meets the Welfare-to-Work program requirements, you may be allowed to continue in your Self-Initiated Program. Your worker will inform you what additional information is necessary.
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