Counties Needing MSWs Could Find Relief in Rural Stipend Program

CalSWEC’s new Rural Stipend Program (RSP) is intended to mitigate the challenge of attracting social workers to and retaining them in rural, remote counties.

Specifically, the purpose of the RSP is to:

  • Address the lack of MSWs in child welfare in the rural/remote counties with few or no MSWs.
  • Develop recruitment and screening strategies to identify graduate students with a commitment to provide public child welfare services in rural and remote communities.
  • Retain MSW graduates in public child welfare agencies in rural and remote counties.

The first wave of the RSP is set to begin in fall 2015 and focus on counties where few, if any, CalSWEC MSWs have beem hired. The counties are Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Modoc, Mono, Sierra, Siskiyou, and Trinity, pictured in orange in the map at right.

Recruitment , Screening, and Selection

The rigorous recruitment, screening, and selection of the RSP candidates are viewed as key to social worker retention in the state’s rural, remote locations. Under the RSP, graduate students expressing a desire to practice social work in rural and remote communities will be recruited and identified by designated schools’ project coordinator and field staff from the full time Title IV-E MSW candidate pool.

For each of the two years in school, the student will receive the full-time stipend amount of $18,500, similar to CalSWEC's Title IV-E MSW Program, and up to an additional $2,500 for travel/technology support.


Besides meeting Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) curriculum requirements, the RSP social work content will be specialized with the delivery of CalSWEC Child Welfare competencies and the focus on needs and service modalities specific to rural/remote social work practice.

Given the characteristics of the RSP, courses will be delivered using flexible modes that may utilize a mix of distance education technology, in-person, or a hybrid model of course delivery. Additionally, field placements may be done using distance modality. 

When the students complete the MSW program, ideally their employment obligation will be in the county where they interned.

For more information:

Donna Thoresonthored@berkeley.eduWorkforce Development Coordinator