Macro social work focuses on changing larger systems. Macro social work is an important part of our professional history:
• Social work pioneer Jane Addams was one of the first women to receive a Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded in 1931. Known best for establishing settlement houses in Chicago for immigrants in the early 1900s, Addams was a dedicated community organizer and peace activist.
• Frances Perkins, a social worker, was the first woman to be appointed to the cabinet of a U.S. President. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Secretary of Labor, Perkins drafted much of the New Deal legislation in the 1940s.
I identify myself as a macro social worker but I also respect and appreciate the work of social workers with a micro focus. I don’t always feel the same respect and appreciation is returned to macro practitioners when in fact we complement each other. There is no need for internal competition. I believe that in order for the social work profession to not only survive, but thrive, social workers need to value all aspects of social work equally.
I have shared in past blogs that I was strongly encouraged to complete a micro internship although I was 100% certain I would never do clinical work. I feel fortunate that my field supervisor promoted therapy as an opportunity for me to expand my career options and challenge myself professionally. Unfortunately many students are being discouraged from pursuing macro social work entirely. We can change that.
I have been a part of various multi-disciplinary teams and because of those experiences believe wholeheartedly that we also need more macro social workers in business and corporate arenas helping to promote community relations and create healthy work environments.
One way that social workers can promote macro social work as a career is for more schools of social work to hire more macro professors, offer more macro courses, and secure more macro field placements. I do not want to take anything away from clinical work – this should be in addition to, not instead of. The career outlook for macro social work is bright. A macro concentration prepares students for careers in:
-Human Services Management
-Advocacy and Policy Development
-Corporate Social Responsibility
-Fundraising and Development
-Program Development and Management
United we stand and divided we fall. It’s time to come together and stay together.
What are you doing to promote macro social work?
Nicki Sanders is an experienced trainer, group facilitator, and program manager. She has packaged her Masters of Social Work degree and over 15 years of work experience into Packaged For Success, a training and professional development company. Packaged For Success provides career coaching to college students, entry-level job hunters, and experienced employees seeking a promotion. Packaged For Success also offers communication and productivity improvement training for employees and supervisors and provides consultation on building sustainable, impactful, socially responsible community programs.
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