Tuesday, May 13, 2014

SJS: The Next Step to Reinvest in Social Work

This is a very well-written piece from Social Justice Solutions. I agree that the social work profession needs a serious reinvestment (and revamping) to better serve the needs of graduates who endure low pay and high student loan debt. Furthermore, the profession needs to better serve the needs of the disadvantaged both at the local and policy level.

The trouble is that it’s difficult to be a social worker. On the job we face high volume case loads, long hours, and crisis after crisis that leaves providers emotionally and physically exhausted. Unfortunately, these aren’t the only obstacles we face. Social workers are mental health practioners who are required to have a Masters level education and usually obtain licensure in their respective states. They work towards continuing education hours and often attend conferences and trainings for specializations. Despite this specialized skillset, social workers continue to make the list of the lowest paid professionals whether it is on Forbes, career-advice, or the Bureau of labor statistics. In addition, social workers graduate with an average of over $35,000 in student loan debt. The combination of low pay and high loan amount means that social workers are having trouble keeping their heads above water. While a few loan forgiveness programs exist, few offer real availability for jobs without relocating, or have starting salaries well below the average. Some areas are also excluded from any forgiveness or reimbursement programs that are available, despite high needs, or at risk populations.
Support the Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act by contacting your legislators today!

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