The purpose of this phenomenology study was to determine the best practices that CalWORKs students utilize to be successful in the community college. This objective was achieved by identifying successes and challenges that current CalWORKs students in the community college have experienced while managing the responsibilities of college, parenting, and work. Obtaining higher education is a key for these students to have the ability to become self-sufficient and leave poverty behind. To understand the significance of the study 15 CalWORKs students from Los Angeles Pierce College were interviewed. The face-to-face interviews consisted of eight semi-structured questions that were created from the four research questions that guided the study. The data collected from these interviews was rich on personal experiences and past recollections of student’s challenges, and success that juggle parenthood, school, and requirements, and regulations of the CalWORKs program. The main conclusions of the study yielded 26 themes that answered four research questions. The researcher found out that the CalWORKs students have a lot of resilience and strength to accomplish their objective to leave poverty behind, by attaining higher education. These students firmly believe that through education they can break the cycle of poverty, and improve the lives of their kids and themselves. The data collected in the study is believed to contribute to providing best practices to future CalWORKs students.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (Program); Community college students -- California -- Los Angeles; Success

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Madjidi, Farzin;