Wednesday, March 23, 2011

AOL: Labor Talks in Full Roar Again, But It's Not the Same

With so much backlash against labor unions in the public sector, I came across AOL articles on why organized labor is more important now than ever. But the question remains, can unions survive in this volatile political climate?
In the bitter aftermath of a showdown with Wisconsin's governor, and as other states move to weaken public employee bargaining rights, unions and their allies dare to hope they can turn rage into revival. This could be a make-or-break moment for a movement that brought the nation the 40-hour week, overtime pay, upward mobility, a storied century of brawls, progressivism and corruption -- and now a struggle to stay relevant in the modern age.

Meanwhile, the second article discusses why the public sector union movement in Wisconsin matters for the rest of the nation. Workers' rights is a national social justice issue. Do you agree?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Krugman: The Forgotten Millions

I found this New York Times article by famous economist and columnist, Paul Krugman, on the unemployed in America. He usually publishes thought-provoking pieces. I agree with him -- why isn't this country creating jobs to lower the unemployment rate? I will go one step further -- does business want to create jobs and hire workers?
So one-sixth of America’s workers — all those who can’t find any job or are stuck with part-time work when they want a full-time job — have, in effect, been abandoned.

It might not be so bad if the jobless could expect to find new employment fairly soon. But unemployment has become a trap, one that’s very difficult to escape. There are almost five times as many unemployed workers as there are job openings; the average unemployed worker has been jobless for 37 weeks, a post-World War II record.

In short, we’re well on the way to creating a permanent underclass of the jobless. Why doesn’t Washington care?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

U-M SSW's 90th Anniversary

Since March is National Social Work Month, I want to highlight the 90th anniversary of the University of Michigan School of Social Work. This is a special moment because the social work program has been ranked among the top three in the past thirty years. Founded in 1921, the School’s total endowment totals over $37 million. The school is also encouraging alumni and current students to participate in community service activities and submit alumni their memories, photos, and video diaries.
The 90th anniversary is an appropriate time to reflect and look ahead as well because it is only 10 years to the School’s 100th Anniversary. We are using this 90th celebration as a way to plan programs which imagine the futures of social work – future students, future faculty, future interventions foci, future methods, future problems.

I feel very excited to take part in this memorable event. In 10 years, the school will celebrate its 100th anniversary. I believe my social work education will make a difference in my ability to help others and promote social justice for all.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Review: Getting Your MSW (2006)

Getting Your MSW: How to Survive and Thrive in a Social Work Program (2006), by Karen Sowers and Bruce Thyer (a U-M social work alum!), is a comprehensive survival guidebook for prospective and current students who are interested in graduate social work (MSW) programs. The authors are social work professors at Florida State University. It helps orient students to the field of social work in general, the organization of social work education, state licensure requirements, and major professional social work organizations in the United States. In addition, the text is user-friendly to all audiences. The authors use open and honest language. There are nine chapters:

  • Chapter 1: Selecting the Right MSW Program
  • Chapter 2: What Schools Want to Know and How Best to Apply
  • Chapter 3: Strategies for Support and Survival
  • Chapter 4: Getting Started in Graduate School
  • Chapter 5: Understanding the Social Work Curriculum and Internship
  • Chapter 6: School Services
  • Chapter 7: Becoming Licensed and Earning Other Credentials
  • Chapter 8: Finding a Job after Graduation
  • Appendix: Professional Social Work Organizations

The chapters are short and straightforward with important advice, information and references. If you have been away from school for a while, I highly recommend this Getting Your MSW because it will help you become more acclimated to school. The book is generic in a sense that it is applicable to any social work program. Students can also use this guidebook as a supplement to their school's student handbook procedures.

However, if you are looking for more in-depth information about the field of social work as a whole (e.g., statistics, commentary, personal interviews), this is not the right text for that kind of research. The authors do not engage in controversial debates about the advantages and disadvantages of the profession. This is more of a general reference overview for readers who are new to social work and want to gain a better understanding of the admissions and graduate school process.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mother Jones: It's the Inequality, Stupid

A friend referred this damning Mother Jones article on the unequal distribution of wealth in the United States. Have this country truly fallen to such low levels? People's incomes are falling, but companies are making record profits. Where are people's morals? Greed is one of the seven deadly cardinal sins. What happened to checks and balances? No one is looking out for the working people's interests, especially with the nationwide attack against public sector unions.

I posted sample data illustrations below:

Read the article for more charts and tables. We are living through the worst period of income inequality in modern history. If the United States continues on this downward spiral, this country will eventually self-destruct.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Urban Institute: 13 Ways of Looking at Poverty

The Urban Institute recently published a fact sheet, 13 Ways of Looking at Poverty. Overall, I thought the information was concise and dead-on accurate. America, we are retrogressing to Great Depression economic levels. This is not good for the future of this nation.
This factsheet presents a quick overview of recent cross-cutting Urban Institute research on poverty, including 13 key points on poverty's effects on immigration, health care, children, infants with depressed mothers, employment, assets, and neighborhoods.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Social Work Month 2011 Theme

The 2011 theme for Social Work Month is Social Workers Change Futures. There are nearly 640,000 professional social workers in the United States who have dedicated their careers to either helping people transform their lives, or improving environments that make such progress possible.
# Social Workers champion access, equality and fairness.

# Social Workers improve the fabric of society by being advocates for people who need help addressing serious life challenges and exploring their options.

# The Social Work profession was established more than 100 years ago to provide as many people as possible with the tools and support they need to overcome adversity (poverty, illness, addiction, abuse, discrimination, etc.) and reach their full potential.

# The Social Work profession also works to change systems and customs that limit the ability of vulnerable individuals and groups to lead fulfilling and productive lives.
# The nation’s Schools of Social Work promote social work education as a way for socially conscious people to make a significant difference in the world through service and leadership.

# Every day, Social Workers witness the best and worst of human nature. A Social Worker’s success is often defined by the opportunities people enjoy thanks to their intervention.

# Social Workers believe they have a responsibility to effect positive change for the future.

You can find more information, including the toolkit, here.