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 field 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)
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.
Coast to Coast 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 behavioral health services focused on prevention, treatment and recovery from Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and other Substance Use Disorders (SUD) in high need and high demand areas in Los Angeles and elsewhere in the US. Recipients of this stipend must complete qualified field placements serving OUD/SUD 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 Opiod Workforce Expansion Program (OWEP).
- Please carefully review the Coast to Coast Project Information Sheet for more details.
- Applications will be accepted between March 8, 2021 and April 30, 2021. However, a different timeline might be adopted for students from the VAC. Please note that while applications are due on April 30, 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 Coast to Coast Project Application.
- Campus-based students: for more information, please contact Clinical Associate Professor Umeka Franklin at email@example.com.
- VAC students: for more information, please contact Clinical Associate Professor Danielle Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This one-year year scholarship of $30,000 is available annually to 22 campus-based and Virtual Academic Center (VAC) MSW students who will graduate in the spring or summer semesters and who are committed to providing primary care services in medically underserved communities (MUCs) in southern California and throughout the United States. Recipients of this scholarship must complete qualified field placements and be from either the Adult Mental Health and Wellness (AMHW) or the Children, Youth and Families (CYF) department. They must meet the federal definition of a student from a disadvantaged background, which includes under-represented minorities (URMs), first-generation students, and those considered educationally, environmentally, or economically disadvantaged. The student MUST apply for the FAFSA to be considered. Students selected for the PCP will receive integrated behavioral health training in primary care internships and will commit to seeking employment in 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.
The goals of the PCP are:
- Recruiting, increasing, and retaining MSW students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are committed to working in primary care settings;
- Improving education and preparation of MSW interns from disadvantaged backgrounds to work in primary care settings;
- Increasing the number and capacity of primary care agencies offering MSW internships; and
- Supporting participants to gain employment in primary care/integrated behavioral health settings.
This scholarship is funded by a federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration through its Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) program.
- For students graduating spring or summer 2023, please carefully review the Primary Care Project Information Sheet 2022-23, Third Cohort for more details.
- For Third Cohort students graduating in spring or summer of 2023, the PCP application will remain open through May 31, 2022. Click this link to access the Primary Care Project Application (please see the attached application survey template).
- Questions regarding the HRSA application status can be sent to Ms. Keisha Lee, Administrative Support, Workforce Development Stipend/Scholarship Program, via email@example.com. Applicants will receive notice of award by email summer 2022.
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 August 13, 2021 by 5:00 PM (PT). Click on this link to access the LA DCFS Public Child Welfare Stipend Application.
- For more information, please contact Clinical Associate Professor Debra Waters-Roman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH)
This one-year stipend program of $18,500 has been suspended until further notice. If this program is funded, then students in LACDMH directly operated or contracted LACDMH field placements will be eligible to apply.