The Winonan

Social Work program launches Master’s Degree

Skye Smiley, Features Reporter

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As 29 percent of the United States population reaches the age of 55 years or older, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the need for social workers to accommodate for the growth of this age demographic is rapidly rising.   

In response to this growth, Winona State University’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences in Rochester, Minnesota will be offering a new Master’s program for social work.

The program was developed by Arlen Carey and Jessica Tye, both of whom are professors at the Winona State campus in Rochester. They wanted a program that would train social workers in the field and help address the increased need for the career in Minnesota with our own aging population.

The program in this region offers two main things: a hybrid delivery and a clinical concentration. The program is organized to be delivered online with two development labs that take place on campus, over the weekend each semester. The 42 credits and 500 hours of practicum in the field can be completed by advanced standing students who already have their degree, in as little as one year, but offers the flexibility to complete the program at a pace suited to each individual graduate.

Jessie Morgan, a senior graduating with her bachelor of social work this spring said, “it offers different [full-and-part time] tracks, which is comparable to other schools and so nice for working people.”

The flexibility allows students to choose how much of their clinical experience they are completing at one time and gives them more of a choice in how they receive their degree.

Now that the program is offered in a hybrid format, it makes it possible for graduates to be in their placement on a more regular basis during the weekdays.

Placements in the program will be specifically placed in agencies such as the Mayo Clinic, Family Service Rochester, Rochester Public Schools and more, which are all agencies that are in need of social workers and will be best suited to provide students with learning experiences that will prepare them for the work they are entering into. A social worker that wants to be placed in the school system has that option.

Andrea Kraus, a social work student, spoke about the Master’s program.

“When I found out that they were offering social work with an emphasis on trauma, I was sold.”

The program will begin accepting applications in the fall of 2019 from undergraduates with a bachelor of social work degree during the spring semester of 2019 and is expected to expand in the fall of 2020 for students who are not yet under a bachelor of social work degree.

Anna Conley, a graduating social work student, gave a bit of advice to students who are unsure about going into social work.

“I love the program.” Conley said. “If [the master’s program] is anything like the current one, then I may consider applying.”

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Social Work program launches Master’s Degree