Wellness WORKs! is a local partnership between Stanislaus State, San Joaquin County Mental Health Services, and the county’s Human Services Agency. Since 2000, the university has provided one-week and three-week holistic courses with the goal of moving participants from welfare to wellness to work.

To date, the program has served more than 10,000 welfare recipients. For those participating, short-term goals are to foster positive self-esteem, improve self-care, and enhance personal empowerment and well-being. Long-term goals include supporting re-entry into the work world, increasing success as employed citizens, and improving their lives.

Research undertaken by Dr. Carolyn T. Martin, associate professor in the School of Nursing, and her students focuses on the experiences of program participants, instructors, and students. The research seeks to understand the effects of the community-based welfare-to-wellness-to-work program through rigorous data collection and evaluation, providing a solid basis for program improvement and new programs that may be offered in the future.

“Participants leave the program better prepared to develop, sustain, and complete long-term vocational plans,” says Wellness WORKs! Assistant Director Heidi Britt.