Columbia and CSWE Partner in Building Capacity to Address Financial Stability of Social Work Clients

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The Workplace Center at the Columbia School of Social Work (CSSW), in partnership with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), has been awarded funding by the New York Community Trust and the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation for a multiyear project to integrate career development and employment, financial literacy, and self-sufficiency competencies into the curricula for CSWE-accredited social work educational programs.

The project, titled “Renewing Opportunity: Preparing Social Workers to Build Policy, Programs, and Practice That Respond to the Economic Needs of Those They Serve,” seeks to enhance the ability of social workers to understand and respond to the needs of diverse client populations whose life circumstances undermine employment and financial well-being.

“One of the most important financial decisions individuals make in their lives is whether or not to enter the world of work,” said Dr. Sheila Akabas, director emeritus of the Workplace Center. “It is the responsibility of the social work profession to build capacity among social workers to promote economic stability through financial literacy and workforce participation at the individual, organizational, community, and systemic level.”

Dr, Lauren Gates, director of the Workplace Center and senior research scientist at CSSW, said: “The support of the New York Community Trust and the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation reflect an important awareness of the special assistance needs of populations that can contribute significantly to the economic well-being of our communities.

Dr. Darla Spence Coffey, president and chief executive officer of CSWE added that “CSWE is pleased to be a partner in this initiative. It will give accredited programs an opportunity to enrich their curricula with a competency-based approach to preparing professionals to work with diverse populations navigating special life circumstances.”

The Workplace Center at Columbia School of Social Work is a nationally recognized center of innovation and best practice with expertise in connecting people to the world of work. Founded in 1969, the Center is committed to the dissemination of best practice that promotes work as an opportunity and fundamental right for all. The Center has served as a knowledge bank for the academic and professional communities ever since.

The Council on Social Work Education is a nonprofit national association representing more than 2,500 individual members as well as graduate and undergraduate programs of professional social work education and is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the United States.

For more information on this new initiative, please contact Workplace Center Director Lauren Gates by email or phone: 212-851-2258.

Image: The Potomac Job Corps Center, U.S. Department of Labor (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).