Special Populations Collaborative

Effective Practices for Single Parents & Displaced Homemakers

Chaffey College – CalWORKs Mentoring Program

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Title: CalWORKs Mentoring Program

College: Chaffey College

5885 Haven Avenue, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91737

College Contact: Kathy Dutton, Director of Economic Development

909-941-2730 or Kathy.Dutton@chaffey.edu

Target population: Students eligible for/participating in CalWORKs

Goals: To build student self-confidence and work readiness skills.

Description: Chaffey College’s CalWORKs Mentoring Program pairs students with business/industry mentors that match their career interests. Often, economically disadvantaged students (who can also be single parents or displaced homemakers) don’t see themselves as potentially successful. The program recruits mentors, who are often CEO’s or individuals with positions of authority, and matches them with students who have an interest in similar occupational areas.

The mentors help students develop career pathways, network with other business/industry professionals, enhance communication and other workplace skills, and encourage success at school, home and work. Mentors and students are encouraged to hold weekly meetings and attend professional meetings and other business/industry functions so that the student is exposed to a wide range of career opportunities and contacts.

Staffing: Economic Development Division and CalWORKs staff members share placement tasks, with the hope that staffing will become more formalized during the next school year.

Facilities, equipment, materials: Office space

Costs, funding source: When the program began in 2001, funding from a Region 9 Collaborative mini-grant provided for the development of a mentor database and staff resources to assist students. Currently, the program operates using Workforce Development grants and CalWORKs funds.

Outreach and marketing: A program brochure has been developed to promote the program. The Director of Economic Development routinely markets the program at business/industry and community events, and CalWORKs students are encouraged to participate in a mentorship as part of their 32-hour “work-activities” Self-Initiated Program requirement.

Evidence of effectiveness: Originally, the program was expected to take place over one semester but student and mentor demand for on-going placements has kept program services in place for four years. Many mentor/student professional relationships have continued beyond the 32-hour requirement. Former mentors willingly re-enroll as mentors to new students.

Students in mentorships are less likely to drop out of college courses because they don’t want to disappoint their mentor, and there is a noticeable “professional awareness of self” as they gain confidence in their ability to succeed in the workplace. As one example, a mentor/student relationship at the Leroy Hanes Center for Children and Family resulted in the creation of a job position for the student upon completion of the mentorship. The former student now promotes the Center at community meetings and public events – a skill that was developed through her mentoring experience.

As a result of the program’s success, the college has begun to explore expanding the program into local high schools, using CalWORKs students that have completed a mentorship to then mentor a high school student in turn.

Suggestions for replication: Relationships have to be built and maintained in a productive manner – between the college and the student, between the college and employer, and between the employer and the student.