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Panels discuss international workforce support

By Rena Malai, News staff

Participants of the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance’s second annual symposium discussed strategies to develop and support the social service workforce internationally.

Speakers on the “Developing the Workforce” panel included, from left, moderator Ummuro Adano, senior principal technical adviser for Management Sciences for Health, USA; Robin Mama, chairwoman of NASW’s International Committee and a professor and dean at Monmouth University School of Social Work in New Jersey; and Zenuella Sugantha Thumbadoo (Zeni), deputy director of the National Association of Child Care Workers, South Africa.

About 365 attendees — including social work practitioners, educators, students and NASW members — took part in the symposium, either virtually or in person. NASW is part of the alliance’s steering committee, and the NASW Foundation is committed to efforts that work to strengthen social work globally.

Social worker Amy Bess, coordinator at the alliance, said the people who make up this workforce provide critical psychosocial support; advocate for laws, policies and programs that promote social justice and well-being; and they are researchers and educators.

“We’re here today to talk about the social service workforce; these are the people who are there when individuals, families and communities face challenges,” Bess said. “Social service workers promote people’s strengths and provide support that is … family-focused and community-based.”

NASW member Robin Mama, chairwoman of the NASW International Committee and a professor and dean at the Monmouth University School of Social Work in New Jersey, presented on one of three panels at the symposium. Mama’s panel was called “Developing the Workforce.” The other two panels focused on “Planning the Workforce” and “Supporting the Workforce.”

Mama spoke about education and training as part of workforce development. She gave an overview of three types of education programs offered for social services internationally; the implications; and faculty recruitment and retention study implications.

“All of these education programs — university, diploma and certificate — offer a range of educational opportunities to people who attend and participate,” Mama said.

From the July 2015 NASW News. NASW members can read the full story here.

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