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  • NASW-IL Staff

From the Pen of the Executive Director: March 2021

Joel L. Rubin, MSW, ACSW, CAE

NASW-Illinois Chapter Executive Director

Happy Social Work Month!

This year’s social work month theme, “Social Workers are Essential,” coincides with the release of the chapter’s study of the social work workforce here in Illinois. The summary report, “An Evaluation of the Illinois Social Work Workforce: Challenges and Opportunities,” was funded by the Telligen Community Initiative and represents a culmination of work conducted during 2020. The report calls on the state of Illinois to help Illinois support its most vulnerable citizens in need of services by making the following recommendations to the state:

  • Promote the social work profession as a key component of the state’s mental health workforce

  • Expand the pipeline of qualified and diverse individuals to enter the social work profession through higher education tuition support

  • Work with employers and state agencies to promote a diverse human service, health, and mental health workforce by hiring social workers as organizational leaders who reflect the consumers of human services

  • Support employers to provide incentives to reflect the important role that social work can play in strengthening services in rural Illinois.

To read the full report, click here.

Starting this month, we will be discussing the findings and recommendations of the report with stakeholders across the state in order to begin work on strengthening the social work workforce by addressing challenges and barriers and creating opportunities to diversify the profession. If your organization or school is interested in participating in these discussions, please contact the chapter.

I personally would like to thank the many social work employers and social work school leadership who participated in our focus groups last year throughout the state of Illinois as well as individual students and social workers who participated in the online surveys. I also want to thank Philip Hong, PhD, and. Rana Hong, PhD, our research partners at Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work.

The chapter’s calendar during Social Work Month and beyond is full of activity. Please make sure to join us on April 8, 2021, for our Virtual Advocacy Day, as well as reserving October 21–22, 2021, for the 2021 NASW Chapters Virtual Conference. If you are interested in presenting for this year’s conference, please review our Call for Presenters.

Enjoy the month, get vaccinated, and stay safe!

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