CalWORKs Program Changes Lives at San Bernardino Valley College

CalWORKs Department

By promoting educational achievement and providing students with the tools they need to succeed, the San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC) CalWORKs Program has helped countless students transition into rewarding careers.

CalWORKs (California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids) is a program that gives cash aid to eligible families in the State of California. SBVC’s CalWORKs office assists students receiving CalWORKs with everything from educational counseling to book loans to parking permit vouchers. The department, managed by Shalita Tillman, has a permanent staff of five, though it provides services to more than 350 qualified CalWORKs students every fiscal year. And the number continues to grow.

"The objective of the CalWORKs program is to provide supportive services and resources to assist students with obtaining self-sufficiency," she said. "The team gives 150 percent of their sincere commitment to the CalWORKs program each and every day. We are always excited to see the program growing, because it means we can assist more students with achieving their educational and career goals."

Tillman enjoys being a member of the CalWORKs team because she gets to help students locate meaningful—and often life-changing—opportunities within the local community.

"The most common feedback we receive from CalWORKs students is, 'I don't know what I would have done without the CalWORKs program; thank you!'" Tillman said.

Many CalWORKs students have transitioned from the program to gain outside employment, and several have ended up finding jobs at SBVC. Gabby Padilla, a financial aid specialist, found out all of the benefits available to CalWORKs students when she first enrolled, and while networking with other departments, "fell in love with the process of financial aid." Another CalWORKs alumna is Rocio Delgado, who works for the financial aid department as a financial aid specialist.Rocio Delgado

Rocio Delgado participated in SBVC’s CalWORKs program as a student, and now works as a financial aid specialist in the college’s financial aid office.

"When people think about CalWORKs, they almost want to hide it from people. They don't want others to know they were part of the county system," Padilla says. "I believe that it's important for them to see the program for what it is, and that it changes lives. Go into the program and give it your all. You are going to see a difference in your life. Take everything you learn and apply it, and it will be life changing."

Gabriela Padilla Gabby Padilla, a financial aid specialist at SBVC, participated in the college’s CalWORKs program as a student.

SBVC’s CalWORKs department has five permanent staff members: Shalita Tillman, Manager; Bonnie Cruz, Secretary; Leslie Gregory, Counselor; Patricia Valenzuela, Student Services Technician II; Anita Hernandez, Job Developer, professional expert, Omar Castro, three student workers, and one Inland Empire Job Corps intern.