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Information for Students and Employers

The Intensive Weekend program is specifically designed for students employed in the social and human services. The structure of the program enables students to build on acquired knowledge and skills and to apply on the job what they learn in the classroom and in field, enhancing their contribution to the organization as they complete their MSW education.

Benefits for employing agencies

The ability to pursue MSW education contributes to staff development and retention. Because students are able to remain in the employ of the agency while in school, they continue to contribute to the work of the agency as they enhance their knowledge base and practice skills. The nature of the Intensive Weekend program encourages students to apply what they have learned during the weekend to their work on Monday. The program also encourages student involvement in field education projects that may contribute to the overall needs and goals of the agency. Projects address a gap in services or an area that the agency may wish to further develop. Overall, the agency, employees and clients benefit from increased professionalization and the continuity of skilled social service staff, who tend to stay on the job as they further their education.

Benefits for students

The Intensive Weekend program permits students to complete requirements for the MSW while remaining employed full time, without losing the salary and benefits of full time employment. The program is completed in approximately 3 years, as opposed to four years in part time study (students with a BSW complete requirements for their MSW in just under two years).  Weekly field education requirements are often prohibitive in traditional MSW study for full time professionals.  Field hours in the Intensive Weekend program are manageable: there are fewer hours each week and field is extended year-round throughout MSW study.  The rhythm of classes and the ability to concentrate on one subject matter at a time is conducive to managing academics and professional life. The course schedule and active learning format, in concert with the pursuit of studies with a cohort of similarly employed students, makes classroom learning an enriching experience and encourages students to apply what they have learned in field and on the job. 

The Importance of Supervisor and Agency Support

Agency support for employee professional education is criticaland students are encouraged to consult with their supervisor and agency leadership as they begin to develop plans for their education and field work. 

Employing agencies can support their employee in the pursuit of their MSW by providing an opportunity for a workplace-based field placement at the agency.  If that is not possible, they can work with the employee to create a flexible schedule to permit field hours at another location. Some agencies are able to provide educational release time or partial reassignment of duties for the purposes of field education. 

Some agencies are able to provide tuition or other financial assistance in support their employees' educational goals. Agencies may require post completion commitments from their employees commensurate with the extent of support provided while the student is in school. Such work agreements and any other personnel matters as they may relate to the employee’s participation in the program are at the discretion of the employer, pursuant to the policies of individual agencies.  

We welcome students and their employing agencies to our growing family of Intensive Weekend stakeholders committed to workforce development and professionalization across the human services!  

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