Alabama A&M University, in partnership with the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship (AOA), has made history by establishing a non-traditional career path for those seeking to enter the field of social work.
The school’s newly-established program is the nation’s first among HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) to offer students a master’s degree registered apprenticeship.
A news release says that upon completion of the apprenticeship program, students will have credentials that demonstrate mastery in the field: a TCM (Targeted Case Management) Certificate from the Alabama Department of Mental Health, Alabama State Board Licensure, a master’s degree in Social Work (MSW), as well as a completion certificate from the AOA
documenting their on-the-job training.
As an additional benefit, the cost of tuition and training during the program are covered. Combined with Alabama’s Last Dollar Scholarship policy, the apprentice’s costs for books and tuition are covered by the employer. Given this, it is highly likely that students have the possibility of completing the entire program without any out-of-pocket expenses.
While this is a significant opportunity for students, the program also stands to benefit employers as well.
Alabama has seen a spike in the demand for social workers, which workforce experts say will only increase over time. In a competitive job market, providing this program establishes a pipeline of qualified social workers while assuring they have mastered the competencies behind the credentials. The program ultimately reduces recruitment and retention costs for the employer and provides them new employees with the skills and experience they need to be productive.
The historic program demonstrates the AOA and Alabama A&M’s commitment to providing educational opportunities and economic benefits to the state and underserved populations. The partnership serves to meet the demand for qualified social workers in the state and creates a long-lasting pipeline of qualified professionals in our state who will continue to meet the needs of the citizenry.