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Stipends

Workforce Development and Stipend Programs

Overview
The workforce development and stipend 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 that requires workforce development responsibilities during the MSW program and after graduation. Stipend recipients benefit from specialized curriculum and field placements.

How It Works
Students can apply to a stipend program(s) from an area(s) of focus based on their interests. Stipend programs differ in length, funding, requirements, and competitive application processes. Read below for a brief description of each stipend program, including corresponding information sheets.

Please keep in mind that these programs rely on the availability of external funding every year.

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Public Child Welfare

Public Child Welfare

Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)/University Consortium for Children and Families (UCCF)
This two-year stipend of $37,000 is available to full-time, on-the-ground (OTG) MSW students who want to pursue a career in the field of public child welfare in Los Angeles County. Students must be from the Department of Children, Youth and Families (CYF), participate in a specialized stipend seminar series, maintain good academic standing (including in field education), and must pass a public child welfare elective course along with other stipend requirements. Students’ first year field placement is at a community-based organization working with families involved or at risk of being involved with the public child welfare system. There are two different field placement options for the second year. One option is to be placed in a local DCFS regional office providing direct services to children and families. The other option is to participate in a concurrent field placement with DCFS and SHIELDS for Families, a community-based agency.

In exchange for the stipend, students agree to work for a minimum of two calendar years 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.

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Public Mental Health

Public Mental Health

CalSWEC Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH), Mental Health Services Act (MHSA)
This one-year stipend of $18,500 is available to second year MSW students, including from the Virtual Academic Center (VAC), who graduate in the spring semester and who want to pursue a career in the field of public mental health in California. This initiative trains students to work with severely emotionally disturbed children, transition-age youth, severely and persistently mentally ill adults, or older adults with persistent or new onset mental illness. Students must be from either the Department of Children, Youth and Families (CYF) or the Department of Adult Mental Health and Wellness (AMHW). They must participate in a specialized stipend seminar series, maintain good academic standing (including field education), and pass specific elective courses along with other stipend requirements. The field placement during the program must be with a county mental health agency or an agency contracted by a county mental health agency in California.

In exchange for the stipend, recipients agree to work for a minimum of one calendar year at a county department of mental health in California or one of its contracted agencies while receiving full compensation and benefits. This stipend program is offered through a collaborative effort between the California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC) headquartered at UC Berkeley and MSW programs throughout the state while being funded by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). This stipend program is designed to improve the field of public mental health with MSW professionals committed to a career serving this population.

Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH)
This one-year stipend of $18,500 is available to second year MSW students, including from the Virtual Academic Center (VAC), who graduate in the spring semester and who want to pursue a career in the field of public mental health in Los Angeles County. This initiative trains students to use evidence-based practices, provide services for persons with mental illnesses and substance abuse, and use the recovery model. Students can be from any of the three MSW departments. They must participate in a specialized stipend seminar series, maintain good academic standing (including field education), and pass specific elective courses along with other stipend requirements. The field placement during the program must be at a LACDMH-operated or LACDMH-contracted mental health agency.

In exchange for the stipend, recipients agree to work for a minimum of one calendar year at a LACDMH-operated or LACDMH-contracted mental health agency with underserved populations and/or in a high needs area of Los Angeles County while receiving full compensation and benefits. This stipend program is designed to improve the field of public mental health with MSW professionals committed to a career serving this population in Los Angeles County.

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Geriatric Social Work

Geriatric Social Work Education Consortium (GSWEC)
This one-year stipend of $4,000 to $8,000 is available to second year MSW students, including from the Virtual Academic Center (VAC), who graduate in the spring semester and who want to pursue a career in the field of aging. This initiative aims to strengthen geriatric social work education, increase social workers’ competency in the area of aging, and expose students to an emerging, high-growth field within social work. Students must be from the Department of Adult Mental Health and Wellness (AMHW) or Social Change and Innovation (SCI), maintain good academic standing (including field placement), and complete a field placement in geriatric social work in the Los Angeles area.

Although the goal is for stipend recipients to work with the geriatric population upon graduation, there is no mandated “employment-payback” requirement. This stipend is funded by GSWEC, a regional alliance of Southern California graduate schools of social work and leading agencies serving seniors.

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Integrated and Inter-Professional Behavioral Health

West Coast Project
This one-year year stipend of $10,000 is available to second year MSW students graduating, including from the Virtual Academic Center (VAC), who graduate in the spring semester and who are committed to providing improved integrated and inter-professional behavioral health services to vulnerable populations across the lifespan, including in rural and medically underserved areas in the west coast states of California, Oregon, Washington or Alaska. Recipients of this stipend must reside and complete qualified field placements in one of the four aforementioned states 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 specialized stipend seminar series, 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.

Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA), Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH)
This one-year stipend of $5,000 is available to second year students graduating in the spring semester who are interested in training for leadership roles in clinical services, research, training and the organization of health services for adolescents and young adults, including those with special health care needs. Students must be from the Department of Children, Youth and Families (CYF), complete field placement at CHLA in adolescent medicine, attend weekly didactic sessions and interdisciplinary practice clinics, complete four leadership trainings and a scholarly project to advance the field of adolescent and youth adult health 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 program is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB).