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  • Writer's pictureNASW-IL Staff

From the Pen of the Executive Director: May 2019

Updated: Jul 23, 2019

Joel L. Rubin, MSW, ACSW, CAE NASW-Illinois Chapter Executive Director

In early April we culminated a busy Social Work Month full of events and trainings with our annual Advocacy Day in Springfield. Close to 900 attendees participated, with the major highlight of the event being a presentation by Governor J.B. Pritzker who outlined his fair tax plan, as well as other agenda items all aimed to strengthen the human services sector in the state and to support the social work workforce. Stay tuned to our website and legislative alerts as we enter the last several weeks of the legislative session in Springfield.

Following Advocacy Day, the chapter convened its biannual Social Work Workforce Initiative chaired by NASW-Illinois Chapter Board Member Kenna Johnson. This meeting brings together social work employers and leadership from the schools of social work statewide. An opening panel was comprised of the following: Goutham Menon, PhD, dean of the School of Social Work at Loyola University; Bharathi Jayaram, LCSW, RDDP, associate director of field education, The University of Chicago, SSA; and Sheila Yousuf-Abramson, LCSW, director of field education, Dominican University. They discussed what their respective schools are doing to make sure graduates are ready for the social work job market in 2019, their school’s expectation of employers, their idea/dream scenario for their graduates, as well as how they are preparing their students for salary negotiations. The April 12th meeting also discussed what we need to do to prepare students for attaining licensure, as well as the linkage between licensure and employments, and the best way for schools of social work and employers to track current trends in social work employment and how schools can best utilize employment trend data for addressing post-graduate employment challenges.

Related to the chapter’s workforce efforts is the recently released report on 2018 graduates from more than 100 MSW and BSW programs entitled, From Social Work Education to Social Work Practice: 2018 Survey of Social Work Graduates.

For those of who have read my “From the Pen of the Executive Director” over the years, I periodically share book titles that relate to social justice and policy issues that impact the social work profession. I would recommend Alex Kotlowitz’s recently published book, An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago. This is an incredibly powerful book about the impact of gun violence in Chicago. Throughout the book, social workers figure prominently, working with victims of violence and the impact of trauma on their lives. For many of our legacy members, you will remember Kotlowitz’s keynote presentation two days after 9/11 at our inaugural statewide conference.

Check back on the chapter homepage for results of last month’s board elections.

Congratulations to NASW-Illinois Chapter member Alicia Palmer who is recepient of the Natalie M. Ross Scholarship for Professional Development in Aging. Her award was used to attend the American Society on Aging (ASA) recent annual conference that took place in New Orleans from April 15 to 18, 2019.  

Looking ahead to the next several months, you may want to get a head start on your conference plans. The 2019 NASW-Illinois Chapter Statewide Conference will take place November 5–7, 2019, at The Westin North Shore in Wheeling, IL. Complete registration information can be found at

Lastly, best wishes to all of the 2019 BSW and MSW graduates! We welcome all of you to our profession and encourage to join us at

And as always as we enter the last seven months of the licensure cycle, more professional development and CEU events will be scheduled.

Joel L. Rubin, MSW, ACSW, CAE, has served as executive director of the 7,000 member Illinois Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) since October 1999. He has over twenty-five years of nonprofit management and fundraising experience including extensive work with boards of directors, committees and volunteers, and advocacy around a wide variety of social work, human service, and international political issues. Joel is a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Fellowship Leadership Program and a current adjunct professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Addams College of Social Work as well as Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work.

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