• NASW-IL Staff

From the Pen of the Executive Director: January 2020


Joel L. Rubin, MSW, ACSW, CAE

NASW-Illinois Chapter Executive Director


2020. Sounds futuristic and visionary. Let’s hope so.


If you are like me, you spent the past couple of weeks reading about our outgoing decade, which some have referred to as the “decade of disruption.” Here’s to a less disrupted and more mindful year and decade!


As I related in my November “From the Pen…” article, the NASW-Illinois Chapter has been awarded $50,000 from the Telligen Community Initiative to conduct a needs assessment of the social work workforce in Illinois that will match the shortage needs throughout the state. Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work will be serving as our research partner. We will be conducting four focus groups (which will be comprised of 10–12 participants) in key regional areas of Illinois with directors of field education and employers. The four groups will be meeting at the following dates and locations:

  • Wednesday, January 29, 2020 – Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work

  • Wednesday, February 5, 2020 – Aurora University School of Social Work, Aurora, IL

  • Wednesday, February 12, 2020 – University of Illinois School of Social Work, Urbana, IL

  • Thursday, February 27, 2020 – Southern Illinois University – Carbondale School of Social Work, Carbondale, IL

If you are an employer of social workers in any of the above regions and are interested in participating in these focus groups, please let me know.


Related to this, the chapter is co-sponsoring an event detailing the rollout of the report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine on “Integrating Social Care into the Delivery of Health Care: Moving Upstream to Improve the Nation’s Health.” On January 23, 2020, the NASW-Illinois Chapter, together with Rush University Medical Center and others, will be presenting a more detailed discussion and strategizing around this national report which will have important implications for social work workforce issues. This event will be available for the entire membership to view.

A great way to start the year and the new decade is to consider the importance of leadership in your professional association. The NASW-Illinois Chapter’s Call for Leadership is posted on our website. Complete information can found here. All board positions submissions are due by March 1, 2020.


This March represents the first Social Work Month of the new decade. During Social Work Month 2020, the National Association of Social Workers will celebrate the profession with the, “Social Work: Generations Strong!” campaign. As we enter a new decade, the campaign will spotlight social workers from various generations, use new tools to educate the public about the invaluable work that social workers do, and encourage social workers to uplift the profession by joining organizations that benefit social work. NASW is celebrating its 65th anniversary in 2020, and Social Work Month is a great opportunity to remind social workers of the important work NASW has been doing for decades and the need to join.


Here in Illinois, we want to put an additional spin on the “Social Work: Generations Strong,” campaign. At the chapter’s statewide conference last November, I met a range of social workers whose children and grandchildren are also working in the profession. We would like to acknowledge this unique phenomena by recognizing mother/daughter, father/son duos. Contact me if you’d like to be featured.


Once again, through the generosity of Natalie Ross, the NASW-Illinois Chapter will be offering the Natalie M. Ross Scholarship for Professional Development in Aging. The scholarship is intended to support a National Association of Social Workers, Illinois Chapter (NASW-IL) member and Illinois resident, who, while not working in the field of aging, is interested in exploring the field and the opportunities it presents for social workers. The award will be used to support the recipient’s attendance at the Annual American Society on Aging’s (ASA) Aging in America Conference, which will take place this year, March 24–27, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia. To find out more about the scholarship, click here.


Best wishes for the new year. Please join us in making our profession and association strong for the coming year and decade.

NASW-Illinois Chapter
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