Contact Us

CalWORKs/GAIN
Bianca E. Barajas, Director
Student Services Building, Room 217
323-241-5477
323-241-5488
BarajaBE@lasc.edu

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CalWORKs/GAIN

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Welcome to the CalWORKS and GAIN Offices!

We at LASC want to do everything we can to make sure you have the opportunity to receive an excellent education regardless of where you are financially or academically. We are here to provide you the resources and support you may need so you can get the benefits that come with a college degree. CalWORKs stands for California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids, and it’s a program that gives cash aid and support to eligible students who live with a child or children. Greater Avenues for Independence, also known as GAIN, is a Los Angeles-based program that Los Angeles County uses to carry out CalWORKs benefits to those who receive TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).

Please note: Due to the coronavirus outbreak, all academic counseling at LASC will use Cranium Cafe, a meeting and collaboration platform designed specifically for student support.

Once on the ConexED page, students and faculty should use the "Login with Canvas" button. Staff should use the "Guest Registration" button

  • Students can access Cranium Cafe by clicking the online counseling button on each department's web page or the counseling and live chat button on the homepage of the student portal.  Students need to create an account, sign in, and can then begin chatting with counselors.
  • Counselors will be available on Cranium Cafe during their typical hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 1 pm. Fridays. Students will be able to meet with a counselor from any special programs they belong to or a general counselor of their choice. Students are strongly recommended to meet with counselors from their special programs.
  • Although counselors will be able to perform most functions remotely, there may be slight delays in completing some tasks such as document requests from other colleges. Please be patient. LASC Counselors are here to answer your questions and help you plan for academic success this Spring Semester and beyond. 
Video chat with CalWORKs on Cranium Cafe

 

CalWORKs stands for California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids, and it’s a program that gives cash aid and support to eligible students who live with a child or children. It’s a statewide program that also works through community colleges with its Welfare-to-Work program to help students with children who have little to no cash and need items like housing, food, clothing, or medical care, be able to go to college. The cash aid helps cover your expenses, and the College offers you internal employment and child care while you go to school and work.

If you already receive TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) benefits, you may have heard of CalWORKs. CalWORKs is a program that helps people who have a child or children and have a great need for financial assistance for basic necessities. CalWORKs’ Welfare-to-Work program supports those who also want to improve their professional job skills to gain financial independence.

We recommend meeting with one of our academic CalWORKs counselors to see if you meet the qualifications to get the extra funding and support services needed so you can learn specific professional skills for a new career. Our counselors will go over with you the guidelines, timelines, and other factors you will need to follow for the program, including enrolling in certain courses and employment training. This will give you the academic and professional training to continue your education, as well as the self-marketing skills to get the job you are looking for. If English is your second language (ESL), there are also short-term Vocational English as a Second Language (VESL) work training classes available that are absolutely free!

Be sure to talk with your academic CalWORKs counselor about what you are interested in as a career. And, if you’re not sure, let them know! They can help you match your interests and skills with many different career possibilities.

Contact our program staff:

Greater Avenues for Independence, also known as GAIN, is a Los Angeles-based program that Los Angeles County uses to carry out CalWORKs benefits to those who receive TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). If you were referred to us from the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS), you may already think of yourself as a GAIN student involved in the CalWORKs program.

The GAIN program started in Los Angeles in 1988 as a way to support individuals on welfare develop the skills needed to find meaningful employment. Today, if you live in Los Angeles County, GAIN is the program the County uses to enroll members for CalWORKs benefits. GAIN is a great resource, and wants to make sure everyone in its program has the education and the confidence to succeed both professionally and personally.

The GAIN program works with local businesses and employers to match their needs with your skills and interests.

We offer our services in English, Spanish, and seven (7) other languages.

Some of the CalWORKs/GAIN services we can help you with are:

  • Assistance with Books and Supplies
  • Child Care (on-campus)
  • Processing LA DPSS documents
  • Work-Study (on and off-campus)
  • Academic Career and Personal Counseling
  • Academic Tutoring
  • Advocacy on Your Behalf
  • Engaging Workshops
  • Referrals to Community Agencies
  • And much more!

Here are just a few of the benefits you’ll receive by being in the programs:

  • Cash Aid for things like housing, food, clothing, and healthcare
  • Extra financial aid to cover the cost of books and school supplies
  • Childcare Services to help take care of your children while going to school
  • On-campus employment for added income
  • Professional Employment Training to help prepare you for a great career
  • If English is your second language (ESL), there are Job-related English Classes
  • Employer/Student Match with local businesses to get you started in your career quickly and locally

Ask your CalWORKs/GAIN counselor about all of the benefits you’ll receive by being a part of our incredible program!

LASC is committed to CalWORKs and GAIN and affirms the principle that individuals have opportunities to develop their full potential, enhance their self-esteem and sense of identity while upholding open access to all. LASC strives to provide educational opportunities that enhance an individual’s self-esteem and sense of identity. In addition to the benefits of reducing tax expenditures for welfare and increasing tax income from employment of former welfare recipients, the program enables people to become independent and instills in them the confidence and skills they need in the job market.

We realize county, state, and federal financial aid and support services can be confusing to understand. We’re here to help you figure out what you need to do and how to complete the paperwork. Feel free to call us when we are open with any questions you have. If we’re not open, take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions to see if you can find your answer here.

What is CalWORKs?

California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids, also known as CalWORKs, is California’s Welfare Reform Program that replaced AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children). This program began from the Federal program called WORKs (Work Opportunities and Responsibility for Kids). The ‘Cal’ is for California. You can read more about CalWORKs from California’s Department of Social Services website here: https://www.cdss.ca.gov/CalWORKS .

How do I know if I qualify for CalWORKs?

If you qualify for or are receiving TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) benefits, you qualify for CalWORKs. Find out more here: https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/1229.

What is GAIN? How is it connected to CalWORKs?

Greater Avenues for Independence, also called GAIN, is Los Angeles County’s program that offers people benefits from the CalWORKs program. GAIN has specific guidelines, timelines, and other factors that must be followed in order to comply with Welfare-to-Work (WtW) laws. GAIN literally moves people from Welfare-to-Work through educational opportunities, job training, and career preparation while offering supportive services that also include childcare.

How do I, as a student at LASC, request to see a counselor?

Call us at 323-241-5477, or stop by the CalWORKs office in Room 217 of the Student Services Building, and ask for an appointment. We look forward to seeing you!

Can I apply for both financial aid and CalWORKs?

Yes! If you are getting TANF benefits, you will be referred to LASC’s Financial Aid Office so you can get a ‘fee waiver’ so you won’t have to pay tuition fees. You will be asked to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) where you may also qualify for additional cash aid that you won’t have to pay back. Ask your Financial Aid counselor or associate to go over everything you need to know to get the financial support you’ll need to go to college. And, don’t forget to take a look at all of our scholarships! Often, it’s money no one gets because no one completed the application.

How does CalWORKs contribute to the College? Is it taking college resources away from other students?

Funding for CalWORKs, called Maintenance of Efforts Funds, are given to all California community colleges to serve CalWORKs students so it doesn’t cause a financial burden on any college. CalWORKs helps the college by providing services that are needed but not generally offered by the college.