About CalWORKs

California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Program was established in 1997 as part of California's response to the 1996 federal welfare reform legislation. The CalWORKs program is designed to assist students who are receiving CalWORKs services through the county and state programs of CalWORKs/GAIN or Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) by providing a variety of support services and resources. 

Our goal is to assist CalWORKs students to achieve self-sufficiency through employment and education. If you are a recipient of the CalWORKs/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) with minor children or expecting, and are attending or planning to attend College of the Desert, you may be eligible to receive support services.​

College of the Desert supportive services include an ongoing joint case management with the county GAIN program, academic counseling, first priority registration, gas cards, educational supplies, work study, workshops and more.

CalWORKs students have the opportunity to participate in our work study program. The Desert Community College District CalWORKs Work Study Program is state funded by the welfare reform program. It is designed to stimulate and promote employment of eligible students by providing work opportunities, both, on and off campus, and provide an additional source of income within the requirements of the CalWORKs program.

Work study programs enhance your skills and experience to successfully compete in the job market.

Benefits include:

•Valuable work experience, including on-the-job skills and ethics
•Wages do not affect your monthly cash aid amount
•Work study hours can be counted towards Welfare-to-Work requirements

College of the Desert College’s work study allows CalWORKs students the opportunity to obtain employment on-campus or off-campus for up to 20 hours per week. Hours and employment are dependent on funding, employer needs, and student availability.

Work study is a time-limited program and provides an additional source of income within the requirements of the CalWORKs program. All work study positions are temporary subsidized positions.

Work study placements are not guaranteed to continue to the next term. Continuing employment depends on a student's grades, cash aid status, and performance evaluation.

Eligibility Requirements:

    • Provide a current Welfare to Work (WTW) GAIN contract
    • Maintain enrollment in 1.0 or more units each term
    • Maintain a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA
    • Maintain eligibility for the CalWORKs program
    • Receive CalWORKs (cash aid) through a county Welfare department in California

If you are a CalWORKs/TANF recipient (receiving cash aid for yourself and a child) and you want to join CalWORKs at College of the Desert, please visit How to Join CalWORKs​ for more information.