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  • NASW-IL Staff

From the Pen of the Executive Director: September 2021

Joel L. Rubin, MSW, ACSW, CAE

NASW-Illinois Chapter Executive Director

What we hoped to be a more “open” summer of 2021 coming out of the pandemic has proved to be more challenging that we imagined. Additionally, the social work community is continuing to meet the challenges of returning to work in person, whether that is to an agency/organization setting or a school or hospital and mandated vaccinations. There are no simple answers to this new workforce challenge. We continue to adjust as per the guidance of the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), the Illinois Department of Public Health, and local jurisdictions. The national MyNASW Community has been host to a wide-ranging discussion on this issue between social workers across the country.

This summer has also seen an unfortunate rise in gun violence. Eduardo “Eddie” Bocanegra, senior director of READI Chicago, addressed these issues with the NASW-Illinois Chapter Board of Directors in August. READI Chicago is based on the belief that helping people heal from trauma and develop skills that create pathways to safety and opportunity has the potential to save lives now and to create greater opportunity and safety over the long-term. Investment in communities and local organizations is built into READI. The program is administered by Heartland Alliance and delivered through six community-based organizations in order to leverage pre-existing community ties and relationships while building local capacity. Find out more at

It was a very active summer in the chapter that included the following:

NASW-IL Chicago District Virtual Job Fair

On August 20, 2021, the NASW-IL Chicago District hosted its first ever virtual job fair. Seventeen employers from the Chicago area and around the state participated and over 60 job seekers registered. All of the employers who participated have posted job openings on the chapter’s job board. Many thanks to Chicago District Chair and board member Michael Mallory who helped bring this idea to fruition, and to Simone Law of the NASW-IL staff for handling the logistics for all participants. We look forward to this being perhaps an annual event in the life of the chapter.

2021 NASW-Illinois Chapter Statewide Awardees

Congratulations to this year's 2021 NASW-Illinois Chapter Statewide awardees:

  • Emerging Leader: Nathaniel Bossick, MSW, LCSW (Chicago District)

  • Social Worker of the Year: Rosanelly Garcia, MSW, LSW (Chicago District)

  • Lifetime Achievement: Andrew C. Teitelman, MA, LCSW, ACSW (Three Rivers District)

  • Public Citizen: Julie A. Pryde, MPH, MSW, LSW (East Central District)

Many thanks to this year’s Chapter Awards Committee: Grisel Rodríguez-Morales, Chair, LaTasha Roberson-Guifarro, and Michael Mallory.

Legislative Bill Signings

Governor Pritzker has signed into law many NASW-IL initiatives and legislation we have supported with other partners in Springfield in August. These include:

We thank our membership for responding to legislative alerts during the past session of the Illinois General Assembly to advocate on behalf of social work-related priorities. It truly makes a difference.

March for Voting Rights on August 28, 2021 – Washington, DC

NASW was an official partner in the August 28, 2021, March on For Voting Rights.

NASW-IL DEI and Ethics Committees

Our expanded NASW-Illinois Chapter Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee (NASW-IL DEIC) and Ethics Committees have been meeting regularly this past summer. We thank DEIC Chair Latesha Newson and new Ethics Chair Mary Garrison for their leadership and direction.

In other news…

It’s hard to believe that the fall 2021 Multistate NASW Conference will be taking place next month on October 21 & 22, 2021. Don't miss out on this event and register at

Stay safe this fall as we move through the challenges of the current cycle of this pandemic. And as always, thank you for your support of the association and profession with your membership!

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