Download the SonomaWORKS Client Handbook
All SonomaWORKS clients receive this Client Handbook. It includes an overview of the program.
SonomaWORKS and You
Working Toward a Better Future
Who Must Participate?
Who is Exempt?
What to Expect
Hours of Required Participation
Welfare to Work Plan
Good Reasons for Not Participating
What Happens if You Do Not Participate
What You Can Do if You Do Not Agree
Hours of Required Participation
Your SonomaWORKS counselor will determine how many hours you are required to participate, as determined by the definitions below:
One-Parent Families (with a child under 6 years old): If you are the adult in a one-parent SonomaWORKS family with a child under 6 years of age and you are not exempt, you are required to participate in the program 20 hours per week. If you are in the 24-Month Time Clock (within the CalWORKs 48-month limit for cash aid) period then you are not required to meet core requirements. Once your 24-Month Time Clock has been exhausted then you are required to do 20 hours per week of core activities.
One-Parent Families (with no child under 6 years old): If you are the adult in a one-parent SonomaWORKS family with no child(ren) under 6 years old, you are required to participate in the program 30 hours per week. If you are in the 24-Month Time Clock (within the CalWORKs 48-month limit for cash aid) period then you are not required to meet core requirements. Once your 24-Month Time Clock has been exhausted then you are required to do 20 hours of core and 10 hours per week of non-core activities.
Two-Parent Families: If you are an adult in a two-parent SonomaWORKS family, and are not exempt, you and/or the other parent will have to participate in your assigned SonomaWORKS activities for at least 35 hours per week. If you are in the 24-Month Time Clock (within the CalWORKs 48-month time limit for cash aid) period then you are not required to meet core requirements. Once your 24-Month Time Clock has been exhausted then you are required to do 30 hours of core activities and 5 hours of non-core activities.
Note: The hours of participation requirements do not apply if you are participating in the Cal-Learn Program.
Participating in More Than One Activity at a Time
: You may be scheduled to participate in more than one activity at the same time if it is consistent with your Welfare to Work Plan and the activities can be scheduled together. The time inthese activities are added together to meet your participation requirement.
SonomaWORKS offers many activities. It is not likely you will participate in every activity. You and your counselor will select your activities based on your needs, interest, skills and abilities,work history and schedule.
The following activities meet the definition of core activities:
- Community Service: Is an opportunity to learn basic skills, enhance existing job skills and provide a needed service to your community. You will gain job training and experience while developing community contacts and meeting prospective employers. Community Service is available to individuals living in remote areas of Sonoma County who are unable to attend other activities.
- Job Search & Job Readiness Assistance: Normally includes a 4-week program, Job Search & Job Readiness will help you learn job seeking and interviewing skills, understand employer expectations, and learn skills designed to enhance an individual’s capacity to move toward self-sufficiency.
- Self-Employment: SonomaWORKS may allow participants who are self-employed a short period of time (no more than three to six months) to develop their business and earn a wage (after expenses are allowed) equal to minimum wage multipliedby the number of hours the participant is required to meet. If after the short period of time, minimum requirements are not met, you must participate in other work activities.
- Unsubsidized Employment: Includes paid employment where the wage is not subsidized.
- Vocational Training: Includes, classes offered by colleges, community colleges, adult schools, regional occupation centers or programs, and private schools. Training is limited to 12 months. After attending 12 months of vocational training, any additional vocational training is considered a non-core activity.
- Work-Study: Work experience that takes place on a job site, which provides wages, college financial assistance or college credits.
The following activities meet the definition of non-core activities:
- Adult Basic Education: Includes reading, writing, arithmetic, high school proficiency, GED, English as a Second Language (ESL).
- Education Directly Related to Employment: Education directly related to and needed to obtain or retain employment.
- Job Skills Training Directly Related to Employment: Includes training or education for job skills required by an employer.
- Vocational Training: After attending 12 months of vocational training, any additional vocational training is considered a non-core activity.
- Mental Health, Substance Abuse or Domestic Violence Services: Services are available on-site for SonomaWORKS participants and, in some cases, their families, if necessary to obtain and retain employment.
- Reappraisal: If you have not found a job after finishing all Welfare to Work Plan activities, you will see your counselor for a reappraisal. At the reappraisal, you and your counselor will determine if special circumstances prevented you from reaching your goal. If so, your plan will be extended or changed.
Your Employment & Training Counselor can answer any questions about the hours you are required to participate and what activities you will need to meet the “core activities” requirement.
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