Today's Law As Amended


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AB-2058 CalWORKs: education incentives. (2015-2016)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) In California’s high-skill economy, it is very difficult to get a good, middle-class job without vocational education or a college degree, let alone a high school diploma.
(b) This is a significant barrier to socioeconomic mobility for California’s highly vulnerable CalWORKs recipients, because as many as 65 percent of CalWORKs recipients do not have a high school education.
(c) Research has consistently shown that postsecondary education boosts social mobility, particularly for those at the bottom of the income distribution scale, and that a parent’s level of education has positive effects on his or her child’s level of success into middle adulthood.
(d) California has the seventh largest federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families cash grant in the nation, and the second largest among the 10 largest states.
(e) Poverty remains a persistent problem.
(f) This act is intended to provide incentives for CalWORKs recipients to pursue education, thereby improving the opportunities and outcomes for adults and children in the CalWORKs program.

SEC. 2.

 Article 3.7 (commencing with Section 11340) is added to Chapter 2 of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

Article  3.7. CalWORKs Educational Opportunity and Attainment Program
11340.
 This article shall be known, and may be cited, as the CalWORKs Educational Opportunity and Attainment Program.
11341.
 (a) A CalWORKs recipient may apply to receive an education incentive grant in the following amounts:
(1) One hundred dollars ($100) per month for completion of a high school diploma or its equivalent.
(2) Two hundred dollars ($200) per month for completion of an associate’s degree or career technical education program.
(3) Three hundred dollars ($300) per month for completion of a bachelor’s degree.
(b) The amounts listed in subdivision (a) are not cumulative. A recipient shall receive, on an ongoing basis, the highest monthly bonus to which he or she is entitled.
(c) The amounts listed in subdivision (a) constitute ongoing adjustments to the recipient’s monthly cash grant.
11342.
 (a) When applying for an education incentive grant, a recipient shall submit evidence of completion of the educational program to the county. A recipient is not eligible unless all of the following criteria are satisfied:
(1) The recipient completed an educational program included in the recipient’s welfare-to-work plan approved by the county.
(2) The recipient completed an educational program offered by an accredited educational institution.
(3) The recipient completed the educational program while receiving CalWORKs assistance.
(b) Upon verification of completion of the educational program, the county shall certify that the recipient is eligible for an education incentive grant and shall ensure that the recipient’s monthly cash grant is increased as prescribed in Section 11341.
11343.
 (a) A CalWORKs recipient who is receiving an education incentive grant and then ceases to receive CalWORKs assistance shall not be eligible for the same education incentive grant if he or she begins receiving CalWORKs assistance in the future. The recipient is eligible, however, to receive a different education incentive grant if he or she attains a higher level of education while receiving CalWORKs assistance.
(b) A CalWORKs recipient is permanently ineligible for an education incentive grant under either of the following circumstances:
(1) The recipient has exhausted his or her CalWORKs benefits.
(2) The recipient has committed public assistance fraud, as described in Article 7 (commencing with Section 11475.2).
(c) A CalWORKs recipient shall not receive an education incentive grant in any month during which he or she is sanctioned.
SEC. 3.
 The sum of twenty million dollars ($20,000,000) is hereby appropriated from the General Fund to the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges to fund services provided under the CalWORKs Recipients Education Program (Article 5 (commencing with Section 79200) of Chapter 9 of Part 48 of Division 7 of Title 3 of the Education Code), including, but not limited to, education and career counseling services, employment development services, including job development staff positions, and workstudy positions.
SEC. 4.
 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.