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Eastern Gateway Community College adds social work major

STEUBENVILLE — Eastern Gateway Community College has added a new major — social work.

EGCC is now enrolling students in its recently approved associate degree of applied science in social work. Classes begin in the fall semester.

The program will provide a foundation for students to pursue a bachelor’s degree in social work at a four-year college, or immediately seek employment as an assistant to licensed social workers. Some states, such as Ohio, allow individuals with an associate degree in social work to be registered as a social work assistant.

“Social work is one of the most needed professions to address the needs of children, families, schools, victims of domestic violence, drug abuse, mental health and those involved with the criminal justice system,” said Thomas Graham, EGCC’s dean of liberal arts and business. “The degree is especially important at this time due to the COVID-19 situation affecting people and families who have the virus and front line workers who may be dealing with stress and mental health pressure. This is a great opportunity to be in a career of service to others.”

A social work assistant works with licensed social workers and other mental health care professionals to help with assessments, referrals, initial screening, case management, prevention services and in developing community programs.

“The true mission of a community college is to be responsive to the social, economic and health needs of their community, and at Eastern Gateway Community College we are always looking at how we can prepare our students to add value to their communities,” said John Crooks, EGCC’s vice president of academic affairs.

The program will include 30 semester hours of course work involving social service and social work skills, human behavioral theories, and analyzing social systems. Students must also complete a social service practicum which requires 200 clock hours of working with a licensed social worker in an applied social work setting. Students will also complete 21 semester hours of related courses in psychology, sociology and economics.

A criminal background check and drug test are required prior to registering for the practicum. The program will be offered at EGCC’s Steubenville and Youngstown campuses as well as online.

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