Project Network addressing need for social workers

Project NetworkStaff at the UNO Grace Abbott School of Social Work are quickly ramping up a program to train more social workers in rural areas of Nebraska.  They received notice in September that they are the recipients of a three-year, $1.3 million award from the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) to train social workers to work with children and young adults with dual diagnosis of both mental illness and developmental disabilities.

The new program, called Project Network, will train 85 Master of Social Work students.  Participating students will complete a concurrent practicum (over two semesters) and additional online training and discussion groups.  In exchange, they receive a $10,000 stipend to help with the cost of their education. 

“So far, the reaction from students has been great,” says project coordinator Susan Feyen-Reay.  “And we’ve received a lot of consumer support as well.  Families with children with developmental disabilities see a great deal of need for individuals who can work with kids with both mental illness and developmental disabilities.”

Project Network’s rural focus is important as well.  Of the 767 licensed clinical social workers in Nebraska, just 172 (22%) work outside of Omaha and Lincoln.  By focusing on students attending UNO’s MSW program on the UNK campus, Project Network will increase the number of licensed social workers in rural parts of the state in a few short years.

“Not only has reaction from our current student population been great, Project Network has increased interest in the MSW program generally, especially from potential students in the program in Kearney,” says project director Peter Szto.

Interested students, faculty, community providers and families are welcome to attend the Project Network Kick Off Luncheon for more information.

When: December 12, 12:00 pm-1:30 pm

Where: UNO Community Engagement Center (6001 Dodge Street, Room 201 & 205)

RSVP to Susan Feyen at sfeyenreay@unomaha.edu