Heather Thorp, Program Director in the Department of Social Work, recently shared the economic impact of Social Work students serving in their field placements. The study reflects the following counties in North Carolina: Alexander, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cleveland, Davidson, Forsyth, Gaston, Henderson, Iredell, Johnson (TN), Mecklenburg, Mitchell, Orange, Randolph, Rowan, Surry, Wake, Watauga and Wilkes.
During the 2015-2016 academic year, 78 Master of Social Work (MSW) students were in the field for 480 hours resulting in $499,075 worth of service and economic impact. Additionally, 86 Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) students were in the field for 440 hours for one semester resulting in $274,340 worth of service and economic impact. The combined impact of BSW and MSW students was $773,415.
These students served in over 100 different agencies and addressed topics such as aging, substance abuse, child protective services, mental health, domestic violence and veterans affairs. Although these field experiences reflect a major monetary impact to our region in a short-term capacity, the influence to our region in the long-term is immeasurable. Many of our Social Work students go on to become employees, leaders and professors that stay right here in North Carolina.