Need for community workers
I made a career change from ER nursing to social work in 1996. I wanted to make the move from working in a hospital to working in the community. I went back to university and specialized in addiction studies.
Name: Ruth Joanne Goodyear
Years of experience: 20 plus
Occupation: Community Service Worker Instructor, Herzing College
Q: How did you get started in your industry?
A: I made a career change from ER nursing to social work in 1996. I wanted to make the move from working in a hospital to working in the community. I went back to university and specialized in addiction studies. I worked five years in the addiction field before I went into private SW practice, where I worked in women-specific treatment. Three years ago, I got an opportunity to teach the CSW program — and I’ve been teaching ever since.
Q: Describe the ideal qualities a person should have to succeed in your industry?
A: A person should be compassionate — genuinely caring for people; non-judgmental; flexible and creative; have a passion for life and a positive attitude; be professional and resilient; be a team player, as well as being a team leader; have a current and clear criminal records check; and have good oral and written English communication skills.
Q: What kind of background, either educational or other, best suits someone starting out in your industry?
A: A CSW diploma combined with job placement (internship) as well as volunteer experience.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Working at Herzing College, I love the educational environment. It is lively, friendly, as well as challenging. I love the autonomy of my job, as well as the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of my students, as they grow and develop professionally and personally.
Q: What are the most challenging aspects of your industry?
A: The increasing need for community service workers. There is an increasing shortage of educated community service workers and an increasing number of marginalized groups, such as the homeless, mentally ill, and an aging population. Domestic violence is on the rise and minority groups need culturally competent workers.
Q: For newcomers to the industry, what tips would you offer them on getting started?
A: Come to Herzing College for the complete package; hands-on-training, professional development; experiential and collaborative learning, as well as networking and community involvement through practical experience (two-month internship).
Q: What kind of local associations/organizations/volunteer activities would you recommend for people just starting out?
A: Herzing College has a partnership with the Salvation Army where many of our students find their internships. Many of our CSW graduates have been hired by the SA. I think that’s an amazing start to their career.