Friday, April 22, 2011

SWT: Transitioning Social Work Leaders

In March/April 2011 Issue of Social Work Today, social workers gathered in Washington, DC, for the 2010 Social Work Congress, where they identified leadership development as a key priority for the profession as it moves into the next decade. More importantly, the profession needs more input and involvement from young social workers (especially under 40). This will help improve the profession's image and outreach.
And, according to several “30 under 30” participants, the presence of younger faces is needed to help social work tackle the myriad challenges it faces. Social work is not unique from other professions in experiencing a leadership gap as large numbers of older, experienced workers retire. But for social work, this gap comes at a time when an economic slowdown, changes in the political landscape, and competition from other professions are threatening the future of human services. The demand for services is increasing while resources are shrinking. Low salaries and misperceptions about the nature of social work are keeping many people away from the profession

The article also lists five strategies to prepare social work students for leadership:
  • Prepare students to deal with the day-to-day realities of social work
  • Get students involved in professional organizations
  • Connect students with professional mentors
  • Give students tools needed to make the case for social work
  • Nurture leadership at all levels of social work education

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