The GAIN/calWORKs Program at Pierce College is suffering a major cut in finances, and by extension, the aid that they can offer to students involved in the welfare program is declining as well.
This program is implemented by the state of California, and it was created to assist students in different areas of need such as food stamps and Medi-Cal benefits, and it also provides an option of work-study employment.
On Thursday, May 12, Vanessa Lee of Neighborhood Services hosted a lecture to inform students who are currently registered or interested in the program that there will be drastic changes due to the budget cuts that are happening this fall.
“I am not going to pretend this is a happy discussion,” said Lee. “I am here to help you find ways to combat these changes.”
Lee started off the discussion with statistics of what is going to be cut. She informs that there will be an eight percent cut in cash aid, child care for children will be discontinued, and there will be a limit of seven doctor visits per year.
Cheryl Davis, who has been a student at Pierce since 2008, attended the discussion and has recently lost her job, looking to the GAIN/calWORKs program for assistance.
“This cut is crap,” said Davis. “This is why you need to stay in school and read the newspaper; go to the ASO meetings to see where your money is going.”
Davis shares her struggles of the past and informs that being in school has saved her life. Because of these cuts that are to be implemented July 1 of this year, she will no longer be able to attend school.
“School makes a difference,” said Davis. “I don’t want to leave and work a survival type job.”
At the end of the discussion, the 13 students in attendance felt informed and more prepared for the changes that are about to come.
Lee provided strategies for these students and assured them that the fight was not over. “Stay in school” was the the most prominent advice that underlined the discussion.
Abbey Kalein, GAIN/calWORKs program director at Pierce, was there throughout the lecture and offered the students more information afterwards.
Kalein opens her office to anyone who has questions about the program or has concerns about the future changes of the GAIN/calWORKs Program at Pierce.
The GAIN/calWORKs office is located on the second floor of the Student Services Building and is open Monday through Friday.