Friday, March 12, 2010

OASAS Commissioner recognizes March as Professional Social Work Month

Karen Carpenter-Palumbo sent the following email message out on 03/04/10 in recognition of March as Professional Social Work Month.


In recognition of March as National Professional Social Work Month, I want to acknowledge and thank all of the dedicated social workers in our state, particularly those who are part of our Profession of Choice, the addictions services field.

One of the OASAS five major strategic goals, or Destinations, for the addictions field is Talent Management, with a focus on becoming a profession of choice for attracting, selecting, retaining, motivating and developing its talent. New York's addictions workforce includes more than 35,000 paid and volunteer workers, including nearly 7,400 OASAS-certified prevention and treatment professionals.

The U.S. Department of Labor projects that the social work profession will increase nationally at a rate of 16 percent over the next 10 years. It also projects that the mental health and substance abuse social workers profession will grow by almost 20 percent over the next decade, in part due to recent changes in legislation and criminal justice policy which redirect substance abusers into treatment rather than prison. As this trend grows, demand will strengthen for treatment programs and social workers to assist persons with substance use disorders on the road to recovery.

To meet the anticipated demand and attract even more social workers to our system we are working with schools of social work throughout the state to encourage inclusion of addictions content in their curriculum. Currently, 10 different schools of social work in New York offer OASAS-approved coursework that may be applied toward credentialing education requirements. These schools play an important part in attracting talent into our service delivery system by encouraging social workers to pursue OASAS’ professional credentials, including the CASAC, CASAC Trainee or CPP.

We are also actively engaged in promoting field placements for students in our OASAS-certified programs. In 2009, OASAS conducted a survey to assess the level of interest in acquiring or utilizing social work interns. Nearly 60 percent of OASAS providers responded favorably, indicating that they would be willing to accept both undergraduate and graduate level social work students. Given this interest and the projected workforce shortages in the years ahead, OASAS will need to expand its involvement with the New York State Association of Deans of Schools of Social Work as a way to connect the social work schools with the growing need for skilled entry-level professionals.

For more information on National Professional Social Work Month, as well as a number of other important observances this month, visit our Web site.

I would also like to encourage you to let others know about the tremendous rewards of working in the addictions profession and help us bring more social workers into our field. Again, thank you to all of the dedicated social workers of New York who help us reach the 2.5 million New Yorkers suffering from alcohol, drug and gambling addiction. Your work is invaluable and appreciated each and every day.


Karen M. Carpenter-Palumbo

GCASA, once again, is a pioneer and on the cutting edge having provided field placements for Social Work, Counseling, and Human Services services for well over a decade.

There was an article on this blod detailing GCASA's committment to professional education on 01/27/10, the staff who function as field instructors on 01/28/10.

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