Why Your Organization Should Enlist an MSW Intern
Tis the season for expounding the virtues of professional social workers. Social work is one of the fastest growing careers in the United States. As of 2017, over 650,000 individuals hold social work degrees. Committed to creating positive change, these individuals go to work everyday to address disadvantage through service delivery and advocacy, while simultaneously influencing broader social issues affecting our most vulnerable citizens. During the fall of 2016, I enrolled in the Advanced Standing Program at Columbia University’s School of Social Work with the desire to contribute to this positive impact.
As a Master of Social Work (MSW) intern at the Council on Accreditation, and in honor of National Professional Social Work Month, I would like to share six ways your organization can benefit from having an MSW intern:
Human dignity and social justice are at the forefront of a social worker’s practice, and a social work intern can imbue these values into your culture. Also, observing the practical implementation of the values and tenets of the practice of social work can inform an MSW student’s professional journey.
Any new hire provides a fresh perspective, but a social work intern brings a unique strength-based approach. An MSW student is trained to hone in on strengths and potential areas for growth, thus bringing a solution-based outlook to their work at your organization.
Get More Done
An MSW student will often be required to complete course assignments tailored to your organization. Interns utilize your data to identify areas for intervention and improvement. They help you complete work that is essential to fulfilling your organizational goals.
Access to University Research and Resources
MSW students have access to their university’s research and resources. The benefits of their entrée to these resources is shared with the organization providing placement. As leading research centers, universities connect students with emerging practices and the latest intervention methods. School-accessed knowledge in combination with existing organizational approaches strengthens the work being done by your MSW intern.
Staff members who become field instructors for MSW interns are offered an opportunity to widen their professional network by connecting with others fulfilling this role elsewhere through Seminar In Field Instruction, or SIFI. Provided by the MSW student’s university, SIFI is a series of trainings that provide teaching techniques and supervision skills. These seminars also allow them to connect and form lasting relationships with other professionals from organizations in their community. Extra perk! Active supervisors may also be able to access campus facilities such as the gym and library!
New Advocates for Your Organization
After obtaining an internship at an organization, MSW students are eager to share the good news with their peers often through social media and definitely in the classroom. This exposes organizations to a new network and to social work students enthusiastic about learning more about their community and about opportunities for future employment. Your organization’s name will be recognized among students who are committed to social justice and advocacy. As social activism is becoming a more prominent part of today’s mainstream culture, organizations can use this exposure to help spread their messages and share their missions.
Learn more about accredited social work programs near your neck of the woods. Start reaping the benefits of having an MSW intern at your organization!
Okay Your Turn!
Are you an MSW intern or have you worked with one at your organization? If so, please leave a comment below telling us about your experience.