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Social Work Program offers scholarships, guaranteed job placement

Students in Austin Peays Social Work Program have the opportunity to obtain not only a scholarship this fall but also the guarantee of a future job with the Tennessee Department of Childrens Services (DCS).

The Tennessee Child Welfare Worker Certification Stipend/Tuition Program will provide $16,000 in stipends to APSU social work students this fall.
Students in Austin Peay's Social Work Program have the opportunity to obtain not only a scholarship this fall but also the guarantee of a future job with the Tennessee Department of Children's Services (DCS).

The Tennessee Child Welfare Worker Certification Stipend/Tuition Program will provide $16,000 in stipends to APSU social work students this fall.

Students chosen for the scholarship will be required to complete two child welfare classes and serve an internship with DCS. In return, they will receive the stipend, as well as status as a certified child welfare worker and a guaranteed job at DCS.

The news comes hot on the heels of DCS's announcement of plans to boost the starting salaries of front-line caseworkers, from about $22,500 to nearly $29,000 by 2007. APSU social work students who earn certified child welfare worker status before graduation can begin work at DCS at the Case Worker II level, which amounts to a $4,000 raise. By 2007, the starting pay of these students could be as much as $33,000.

Glenn Carter, director of APSU's Social Work Program, called the changes “the best thing that's happened to social work” in his 27 years in the field. He credits new state DCS Commissioner Viola Miller, calling her a “dynamo” with a true appreciation for the social work field.

In addition, Austin Peay is part of a consortium of 13 schools with accredited social work programs that will provide $16 million in training for DCS workers across
the state beginning this fall. APSU will train DCS workers in the seven-county Mid-Cumberland area, which includes Montgomery, Stewart, Robertson, Houston, Dickson,
Cheatham and Humphreys counties.

“Instead of social workers in these counties being sent to Nashville for training, we will send the training to them or offer it at Austin Peay,” says Carter, who chairs the social work consortium.

Austin Peay's Social Work Program has experienced an enrollment boom, and Carter expects serious competition for the stipend/tuition program slots. He says 29 social work students are completing their internships with DCS this year, and next year's group will be 46 strong—the largest ever.

Students interested in applying for the scholarship must be juniors accepted into the Social Work Program. Requirements include a 3.0 GPA in social work and a 2.5 overall, as well as letters of recommendation, completion of essay questions and interviews to be scheduled at a later date.

The deadline to apply for The Tennessee Child Welfare Worker Certification Stipend/Tuition Program is Sept. 15.

For a scholarship application or more information, telephone Carter at (931) 221-7515, or e-mail carterg@apsu.edu.
—Rebecca Mackey