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County Praises CalWORKs Participants’ Determination at 21st Annual Achievement Awards Ceremony

Ten Clients Recognized for Overcoming Adversity; One Employer and Three Community Partners Acknowledged for Supporting Clients

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – Today, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors honored ten CalWORKs participants for their personal, educational, and employment accomplishments toward self-sufficiency.

This recognition, a part of the 21st Annual CalWORKs Achievement Awards Ceremony, acknowledges participants’ outstanding efforts to overcome adversity and achieve independence with the help of the employment program training. Individuals recognized today attained permanent full-time employment after developing relevant employment skills.

“The CalWORKs participants we are honoring today are an outstanding example of what can be achieved with individual determination and community support,” said Supervisor Dave Cortese President of the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors and Chair of the Board’s Children, Seniors and Families Committee. “They have benefited from their own efforts, the roadmap CalWORKs has provided, and the doors that employers and organizations have opened to them.”

The individual CalWORKs participants recognized today were: Robert Krueger, Tovie Lugo, Juanita Castillo, Marlo Ellis, Gary Abrahamson, YenHoung Nguyen, Stefani Medland, Iran Reyes, Leonila Gomez and Neda Noori.

This year, Creative Security received the CalWORKs Employer of the Year Award for its outstanding support of the CalWORKs Program. The company, which provides law-enforcement based security services for small local businesses to multi-national corporations, partnered with CalWORKs Employment Connection Center to offer transitional subsidized and permanent employment opportunities for qualified CalWORKs participants.

“I am truly inspired by the resilience of our honorees, and those in the community who step up to help,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor George Shirakawa, Vicepresident of the Board of Supervisors and Vice Chair of the Board’s Children, Seniors and Families Committee. “The individuals we are recognizing today exemplify that it is possible to overcome adversity and transform one’s life.”

“We are very grateful to local employers and community partners that have directly helped our CalWORKs clients achieve their goals of financial stability,” said Santa Clara County Interim Social Services Director Luke Leung. “It is very rewarding to witness how these remarkable individuals overcome hardship and take full advantage of the guidance and support they receive along the way.”

The Board of Supervisors also recognized the unique and longstanding partnership of local Alternative Payment Providers with the 2011 Community Partner of the Year Award: Community Child Care Council of Santa Clara (more commonly referred to as “Four Cs”), Choices for Children, and Professional Association of Child Education Alternative Payment Program (known as “Pace-APP”).

The 2011 Community Partners of the Year supported clients in their goals and helped them to achieve self-sufficiency for themselves and their family. CalWORKs parents can choose from licensed center-based programs, licensed family-run childcare homes or licensed-exempt settings such as the home of a relative. CalWORKs childcare workers provide families with crucial assistance, often accommodating long hours, weekends, and irregular work hours.

The Alternative Payment Program (APP) provides childcare subsidies and supportive services to families throughout the state. 4C’s, Choices for Children and PACEAPP are the local agencies, which coordinate the infrastructure of childcare in Santa Clara County Social Services staff and the APPs coordinate the reimbursement process on behalf of families. This arrangement means that, depending on how long the family has received childcare, the client’s case can be transferred from the county to a non-profit organization to maintain childcare services.


Currently, there are approximately 15,979 families on public assistance and 7,449 CalWORKs Employment Services clients. This past year the program’s Employment Connection placed 500 clients. CalWORKs families who are eligible to participate in CalWORKs Employment Services develop a plan for successful entrance into the work force. Members of these households may receive educational and vocational training, job placement, along with support services such as childcare, transportation, counseling and substance abuse prevention classes. All of these services help families build and maintain lives on their own, outside the realm of public assistance.

Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Marina Hinestrosa, Office of Public Affairs (408) 299-5119; Denise Boland, Social Services Agency (408) 491-6605 and (408) 491-6600
Posted: December 13, 2011