Workforce Development Stipend and Scholarship Programs
The workforce development and scholarship programs at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work offer MSW students the opportunity to specialize in an area of practice where there is a high need for qualified social workers. Students receive a financial incentive in the form of a stipend or scholarship that requires workforce development responsibilities during the MSW program and after graduation. Stipend/scholarship recipients benefit from specialized curriculum and practicum placements.
How It Works
Students can apply to workforce development stipend/scholarship programs from an area(s) of focus based on their interests. Stipend/scholarship programs differ in length, funding, requirements and competitive application processes. Read below for a brief description of each stipend/scholarship program, including corresponding information sheets.
Please keep in mind that these programs rely on the availability of external funding every year.
Geriatric Social Work Education Consortium (GSWEC)
The Geriatric Social Work Education Consortium (GSWEC) is a group of schools of social work and social and human service agencies that are dedicated to serving older adults in various settings, such as primary care medical offices, health and wellness programs, case management services, adult day social programs, long-term care ombudsman services, in-home services, and information and referral services. These agencies provide professional clinical social work services to older adults to help them maintain their health and well-being in the community as they adapt to circumstances associated with aging. They use a person-centered approach and focus on what is important to the older adult when identifying services and creating service recommendations.
GSWEC offers two stipend programs for students interested in working with older adults. This year, first-year MSW students have the option of receiving a stipend of $1,000. Second-year MSW students can also receive a stipend ranging from $4,000 to $8,000.
This initiative aims to strengthen geriatric social work education, increase social workers’ competency in the area of aging, and introduce students to an emerging, high-growth field within social work. To participate, students must maintain good academic standing (including practicum placement) and complete a practicum placement with a GSWEC-affiliated agency in the Los Angeles area.
Students who are selected for a GSWEC stipend and practicum placement participate in three all-day didactic trainings throughout the school year, and work with their practicum instructor to develop a macro project that benefits the older adults in the agency where the student is placed. All these opportunities enhance MSW graduate employment opportunities.
To be considered for a GSWEC stipend, students must complete an application, demonstrate an interest in primarily serving adults, age 55 and older and their families/caregivers, and interview with practicum instructors at GSWEC placement sites. While the goal is for stipend recipients to work with the geriatric population after graduation, there is no mandatory "employment-payback" requirement. The GSWEC stipend is funded by a regional alliance of Southern California graduate schools of social work and leading agencies serving older adults.
Please carefully review the GSWEC Student Practicum Guide for more details. You can also view additional information about GSWEC practicum agencies.
Click on this link to access the GSWEC application, which is due no later than February 22, 2023, at 5:00 PM PST. For more information, please contact Associate Professor Kelley Macmillan.
Next Generation Partnership Project
This one-year year stipend of $10,000 is available to second year MSW students, including from the Virtual Academic Center (VAC), who graduate in the spring (ideally) or summer semester and who are committed to providing integrated behavioral health services focused on the needs of children, adolescents, and transitional age youth (CATAY) in high need communities. Recipients of this stipend must complete qualified field placements serving CATAY clients and must be from the Department of Adult Mental Health and Wellness (AMHW) or the Department of Children, Youth and Families (CYF). They must participate in a series of specialized training sessions, maintain good academic standing (including field education), and pass specific elective courses along with other stipend requirements.
Although the goal is for stipend recipients to work with the target population upon graduation, there is no mandated “employment-payback” requirement. This stipend is funded by a federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration through its Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Program.
- Please carefully review the Next Generation Partnership Project Information Sheet for more details.
- Applications will be accepted between February 27, 2023 and May 5, 2023. However, a different timeline might be adopted for students from the VAC. Please note that while applications are due on May 6, the selection process includes accepting students who best fit the criteria and requirements of the stipend program and may therefore extend throughout the summer. Click on this link to access the Next Generation Partnership Project Application.
- Campus-based students: for more information, please contact Associate Teaching Professor Umeka Franklin.
- VAC students: for more information, please contact Assistant Teaching Professor Jenebah Lewis.
This one-year scholarship of $30,000 is available annually to 22 students enrolled in the MSW program at the campus-based and Virtual Academic Center (VAC) who will graduate in the spring or summer semesters of their last year. The scholarship is funded by a federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) through its Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) program.
The scholarship will be awarded to students who are committed to providing behavioral health/primary care services in medically underserved communities (MUCs) in Southern California and throughout the United States. To be eligible, recipients must complete qualified practicum placements that offer direct practice in integrated health/behavioral health settings. Additionally, students must meet the federal definition of a student from a disadvantaged background, which includes being economically, educationally, or environmentally disadvantaged. Those selected for the PCP will receive training in integrated behavioral health/primary care internships and will be expected to seek employment in behavioral health/primary care settings with a focus on MUCs upon graduation.
Please keep in mind that this program is a federally funded program and awarded annually.
- Please carefully review the Primary Care Project Information Sheet for more details.
- Visit the Primary Care Project page for program details, goals, qualification, and application process and timeline.
- Applications for cohort 4 will be accepted between January 9, 2023 and May 1, 2023. Priority consideration will be given to applications received by March 6, 2023. The selection process may extend into the summer and will be based on the students who best fit the criteria and requirements of the scholarship program.
- If you have any questions about the Primary Care Project application process, you can reach out to Keisha Lee, administrative support, Workforce Development Stipend/Scholarship Programs.
Public Child Welfare
Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (LA DCFS)
This one-year stipend of $18,500 is awarded to on-campus (OCP) MSW students – VAC students are not eligible – in the last two semesters of their program (4 or 6-semesters) prior to graduation in the spring semester. Stipend recipients must demonstrate a commitment to pursue a career in the field of public child welfare at LA DCFS. Students must be in the Children, Youth and Families (CYF) Department, participate in specialized training sessions, maintain good academic standing (including in field education), and must pass a public child welfare elective course along with other stipend requirements. During the stipend program, all students will be placed at a DCFS regional office during the last two semesters of their MSW program.
In exchange for the stipend, students agree to work for a minimum of one calendar year at LA County DCFS after graduation while receiving full compensation and benefits. This is a federally-funded stipend program under the Title IV-E provision of the Social Security Act designed to improve the field of public child welfare with MSW professionals committed to a career serving this population.
- Please carefully review the LA DCFS Public Child Welfare Stipend Information Sheet for more details.
- Applications are due by May 26, 2023 by 5:00 PM (PT). Click on this link to access the LA DCFS Public Child Welfare Stipend Application.
- For more information, please contact Assistant Teaching Professor Audrey Shelby.
Public Mental Health
A stipend of $18,500 is available to second-year MSW students, including from the Virtual Academic Center (VAC), who complete their degree between September 1, 2022 and August 31, 2023 and are interested in public mental health. The goal of the program is to increase the mental health workforce that serves communities and consumers who have been historically underserved due to geographic location, cultural and linguistic barriers, or intensive and difficult to recruit mental health programs. Students awarded a stipend will need to commit to one-year of employment post-MSW in a clinical capacity at an agency either directly operated or contracted by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LAC DMH).
The objective of the program is to recruit students with experience in the public mental health service delivery system through their MSW practicum training, and who have the linguistic capacities to serve clients in multiple languages such as Arabic, Armenian, Cambodian, Farsi, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin, additional Chinese dialects, and American Sign Language.
Interested students need to apply directly to the Phillips Graduate Institute of Campbellsville University who is administering the stipend. Students can begin to complete and submit applications starting February 22, 2023. Applications submitted after March 22, 2023 will not be processed.
Students first need to review the stipend program website of Phillips Graduate Institute before attempting to complete the application. The information on this website will assist students in preparing for what is included in the application.
The application will take at least thirty minutes to complete and must be submitted once a student starts filling it out.
Students are encouraged to prepare the required essays in advance of beginning the online application. There are three essays with seven separate fill-in sections. Each section needs to be completed and is limited to 200 characters. The three essays and seven sections are:
1. What is your professional interest, commitment and vision of a) working within public mental health and b) working with the specialized populations serviced by the stipend program of the LAC DMH delivery system?
2. Describe your a) personal background, b) work experience, and c) individual strengths that will help you integrate and apply knowledge to work in public mental health settings.
3. Describe your clinical experience providing services a) in-person and b) via telehealth, and include the settings in which the services were provided.
PLEASE NOTE WHEN COMPLETING YOUR APPLICATION: One necessary clarification is the limitation on the length of the essays and of other sections where information is requested of students. The application states that sections in Part 2 are limited to 50 characters and that the seven sections of the three essays are limited to 200 characters. We want students to read that as 200 words, not characters. We know that 200 words is still few, but we want students to be specific when responding to what is requested. Points will not be deducted if a student provides more than the limited words, but the scorer will not read beyond the limited words.
Questions about the stipend program can be submitted to Phillips Graduate Institute.
Christina (Tina) Paddock, LCSW, associate professor of social work practicum education, is the LAC DMH Stipend Coordinator for USC Social Work. Please only reach out to her if your questions are not answered by reviewing the application website or by contacting Phillips Graduate Institute.