CalWORKs Welfare-to-Work Program

The Welfare-to-Work (WTW) Program is a comprehensive Employment and Training Program designed to promote self-sufficiency. CalWORKs recipients are assessed to determine the best course of action, whether it is immediate placement into a job, placement into an education or training program, or both.

CalWORKs recipients who are not exempt must participate in the Welfare-to-Work Program. All Welfare-to-Work participants receive an orientation to the program and appraisal of their education and employment background, followed by the development of a WTW plan designed to assist individuals with obtaining employment. WTW participants may be eligible to supportive services such as child care and transportation services. .

Participation Requirements:

Unless exempt, CalWORKs recipients must participate in the WTW Program for a minimum number of hours each week:

Number of Work Eligible Adults in the Family Assistance Unit (AU)Required Weekly Participation Hours
(effective 1/1/13)
Single-adult with a child under 6 years old


Single-adult with no children under 6 years old


Two-parent families


Who is eligible for Welfare-to-Work services?

The CalWORKs Welfare-to-Work Program is open to anyone receiving CalWORKs cash aid. Anyone receiving CalWORKs cash aid must participate in the Welfare-to-Work program unless that person is exempt. Individuals are exempt when they have a good reason for not participating, such as being ill or incapacitated or are caring for an incapacitated person.

What do I have to do if I’m in the Welfare-to-Work Program?

When you apply for CalWORKs cash aid, we will determine if you meet a Welfare-to-Work requirement. If you do, then we will assess your education and work history. You may be scheduled for a two-week Job Club where you will learn basic job search skills, resume writing, Consumer Credit information, and other topics related to preparing you for the job market. If you do not have a job after completing Job Club, you will be scheduled for two weeks of Job Search. You may also have a more in-depth assessment to help you remove any barriers that may be preventing you from finding and keeping a job.

What if I need child care or transportation so I can go to work or just need help looking for a job?

Support services for placement into a job include training to uncover the “hidden” job market, preparation of a resume, and support in looking for a job. Most expenses, such as the cost of transportation, are paid by the Welfare-to-Work Program. Upon approval of CalWORKs, if you are required to participate in the Welfare-to-Work Program and have at least one child under 13 years of age, you will be authorized to choose a child care provider for your child(ren) and may be eligible to receive 12-months of child care. Expenses for child care can be paid unless you choose a provider that charges higher rates than we can pay. Once placed in a job, you will receive additional help with work supplies and continued help with transportation and child care.

What about education and training programs?

The Welfare-to-Work Program can assign you to, and pay for, an approved education or training program that prepares the participant to get a specific job. The Welfare-to-Work Program can pay for the cost of approved education or training program, books and supplies, transportation, and child care costs. Once the training is completed, additional support is made available to you to find a job in that field.

What happens after I get a job?

When you start working, you may still be eligible to receive CalWORKs cash aid.  The first $550 of your gross earned income is not counted, and 50% of the remaining gross income is also exempt as income. If you continue to receive CalWORKs cash aid, you may also be eligible for transportation, child care and other supportive services to help you advance in your job. If you are otherwise eligible, child care supportive services can continue for 24 months and beyond. Contact your CalWORKs or Welfare-to-Work worker and they can provide resources available to help you achieve your employment goals. We want to provide you with the tools necessary to attain your goal – providing for your family.

What happens when I am working and no longer eligible for CalWORKs?

You may continue to be eligible for Job Retention services for up to four months each time you go off of aid due to being employed. Job retention services may include supportive services, mentoring, education services, adult basic education or English-as-a-second-language in addition to child care and transportation. You can also receive services through the One-Stop Centers.

For general information about Contra Costa County’s Welfare-to-Work program, please call:
1 (866) 663-3225