Contact: Brittney Dabney, Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing
The Tuskegee University Department of Social Work’s celebration of March as Social Work Month will feature a full one-day conference on Friday, March 13. The conference, taking place in the Kellogg Conference Center Ballroom, will connect hundreds of clinicians, including, professional social workers, nurses, psychologists and counselors, from across Alabama and Georgia. Participants will learn about leadership development, enhancing their social work professional knowledge and skills, and new approaches in an interprofessional clinical setting.
This year, the National Association of Social Workers will celebrate its 65th anniversary under the theme “Social Workers: Generation Strong,” highlighting the significant roles social workers have played in impacting the lives of generations.
“We know that social workers come from many generations, including the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Millennials and Generation Z,” explained Dr. April Jones, head of the Department of Social Work. “We’re the ones on the frontline who want to improve the lives of every single American, while making this world a better place.”
Jones noted the conference program will be twofold, allowing participants to see the social work profession through the lens of multiple generations while also providing them with resources and opportunities to gain new insights.
“We’re going to talk about how generations as a profession have evolved and how the generational cohorts in this profession today can pull together to stay strong in our work,” Jones continued.
As part of its conference outreach, the department has partnered with the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System in both Montgomery and Tuskegee to lead workshop discussions. Participants can attend sessions in child welfare, leadership and clinical tracks.
Brenna Cosby, a social worker with the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System and staff committee chairperson for the conference, said she’s excited about the VA’s first-time partnership with the university, as it affords all interprofessionals — including students — an opportunity to be at the table for their clients’ needs.
“Social work is a profession that has ultimately placed together so many different generations into one. What’s special about this profession is that we all get a chance to not only work together, but to make a positive difference in the lives of those we serve daily,” she said.
Senior Kelsey Brice of Jackson, Tennessee, a social work major says that Tuskegee’s program has grown her desire to work in the social work field after she graduates. Recently, Brice interned with the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System where she had a chance to work in the caregiver support program.
“My experience as an intern was a growing point for me. I was constantly challenged to come out of my comfort zone. Whether that was interacting with clients via phone or face-to-face, co-facilitating group therapy, individual psychosocial assessment, or individual counseling,” recalled Brice. “When completing my hours at the VA, it had fully transformed my views of myself as an individual and I left feeling more confident about myself and the path that I am on.”
Cosby and Jones agreed that the conference will also bridge gaps for students and provide them with first-hand experience and scenarios for developing beneficial relationships with their clients.
“This partnership is creating opportunities for Tuskegee social work students to engage, connect and network with social workers,” Jones added. “We want to show students that social workers are more than what the stereotype may say – social workers are health and mental care professionals, and they ultimately make a profound impact on millions.”
Recent research by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that social work is one of the fastest-growing professions in the United States, and it is expected to rise by at least 11 percent in the next decade.
Tuskegee’s Department of Social Work, based in the College of Arts and Sciences, offers a bachelor’s degree in social work, as well as options for students in other academic disciplines to double major or minor in social work. The department is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and is a member of the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors.
To learn more and register for the Social Work in an Interprofessional Setting: Generations Strong” conference, visit. Non-VA participants can register using the link https://www.tms.va.gov/SecureAuth35/.
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