College of Community and Public Service

School of Social Work Student Supports Jobs in our Community

Date: March 12, 2014

The School of Social Work partners with a variety of organizations to provide meaningful learning experiences through 9-12 month internships for our MSW students to become capable and employed social workers.  Through these internship experiences, our students are able to begin making an impact on individuals, families, and communities during their social work education.  One such partnership is with Goodwill Industries.  As described by MSW intern Brittni Taylor, “Goodwill seeks to change lives and communities through the power of work.”  
 
Goodwill helps a variety of citizens in the community assess their current barriers to employment whether it is inexperience in the employment field, a disability, a criminal history, a substance use disorder, or a mental illness. Goodwill serves a variety of at risk populations particularly youth, individuals working towards re-integration, and homeless Veterans.
 
Through her internship Brittni has learned to use motivational interviewing techniques, and client centered approaches to help individuals recognize their own risks and barriers to employment. She has learned to engage with participants to find their perspectives on their needs and utilize that to develop a plan for them to be successful in obtaining and maintaining employment. Participants are linked to resources within the community and referred to needed services.
 
Brittni describes what she has gained from this partnership: “As an MSW candidate working with people from different disciplines my most promising experience is gaining respect from colleagues and clients in my ability to effectively communicate and understand sensitive issues our participants face that are not always understood by or revealed to other colleagues from different disciplines. I am able to provide a different lens of support and encouragement to our participants in their efforts to gain or maintain employment. I am able to recognize that the problem is multifaceted and can see the whole person. I love that I can be that vessel/liaison to support the participant and the Goodwill team when challenges occur.  I have a great understanding of my values and how they may impact my ability to work with individuals whose values may differ.  It is really helpful in advocating for the needs of others especially when they need support in obtaining and maintaining a job and they are not starting at a level playing field due to barriers faced.”

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