Monday, July 4, 2011

Social Service Workers Offer Important Guidance To Communities

Are you compassionate? Do you have an interest in working with the disadvantaged? Do you rally for women and children's rights? Are you prepared to change the lives of others for the better? If you answered yes to any of these questions, a career as a Social Service Worker may be for you. These professionals work in shelters, community centres, group homes and advocacy coalitions with populations that include: seniors, assaulted women and children, people with mental illness and developmental disabilities, youth and the homeless or under housed. In their positions, Social Service Workers offer guidance and counseling to people in crisis, obtain government funds for clients, arrange foster homes for children, and begin legal action in cases of child abuse. Some specific duties of these professionals include: contacting each client after being assigned a number of cases to determine the scopes of the situation, counseling and providing resources to meet clients' needs, maintaining meticulous notes for documentation purposes, working with other agencies to provide the best services, and more.

In the U.S., the employment of Social Service Workers is expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations through 2018. Now is a great time to enter the field. To do that, you must attend a post-secondary institution such as Centennial College in Toronto, Ont., which offers a two-year Social Service Worker program that reflects upon how values and ideologies contribute to the construction of social problems and prescribed solutions.

To apply, students must present at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. Students must also have completed the compulsory English 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent. Non-academic requirements such as a program admission session and English proficiency are also considered. As the Social Service Worker program has a field placement component during which students obtain “real-life” experiences, a criminal reference check might be required. Certain criminal convictions may disallow placement in an agency and program completion may not be possible.

Centennial College's School of Social Work offers its students interactive learning opportunities, including experiences in assessing communities, developing and writing funding proposals, social action plans as well as simulated client interviews and assessments. Students also engage in a dynamic learning process with exposure to group labs, guest speakers, experiential learning, collaborative learning and inter-professional opportunities with other students. Specific courses within the program include: Power, Privilege and Oppression (examines the social, political and economic forces that contribute to the oppression and marginality of particular groups within society, and why certain groups are more likely to be clients of social services agencies); Social Service Work with Groups (allows students to explore and become familiar with the group-process, what happens in groups and why); Social Policy (examines how Canada's economic and political structures influence the creation of people's needs); and more.

In-school learning is rounded out by two supported, intensive field placements. Direct work in the field provides the student with the opportunity to experience an entry-level social service placement in a learning environment where application and integration of the philosophy, function and procedure of the social service system takes place.

Centennial College Social Service Worker Program

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