West Virginia Northern Community College

Celebrates Social Work Month

WHEELING, W. VA – West Virginia Northern Community College’s (WVNCC) is helping celebrate this year’s Social Work Month in March with the theme “Social Work Breaks Barriers,” to highlight how social workers have enriched our society by empowering people and communities to overcome hurdles that prevent them from living life to the fullest.

The annual Social Work Month campaign is a time to inform public, policymakers, and legislators about how social workers have always broken barriers when it comes to the services they provide in an array of sectors, including hospitals and mental health centers, federal, state, and local government, schools, community centers, and social service agencies.

People become social workers because they have a strong desire to help others and make society a better place. Social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 700,000 professional social workers are hard at work nationwide, but that number is expected to rise to almost 800,000 by 2030. 

Social work began more than a century ago. The profession can trace a large part of its origins to Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Star, who in 1889 opened Hull House in Chicago to provide social services to the area, which had a large immigrant population. Other social work pioneers include anti-lynching advocate and women’s rights activist Ida B. Wells and George Edmund Haynes, a social worker who was co-founder of the National Urban League.

In the 1960s, past NASW President Whitney M. Young Jr., worked in collaboration with President Johnson and other leaders during the turbulent Civil Rights era to break down the barrier of employment discrimination so Black people could get access to better paying jobs.

Social workers have helped drive significant, positive changes in our nation. Frances Perkins, the first female Labor Secretary during the Great Depression, and others helped secure benefits we continue to see used today, such as the 40-hour work week, minimum wage, and Social Security

We would like to acknowledge our appreciation of all of the agencies that help people in our community and are sorry we can’t recognize them all.  Here are just a few examples of local social workers or agencies who are continuing to break barriers today:

  • The Ohio, Brooke, Marshall, and Wetzel County Family Resource Networks employ social workers who work to improve services for children and families in their communities. They promote changes and support local partnerships to promote coordination of services, including those to advocate for children’s safety, healthy families, food pantries, blessings boxes, and community events.
  • Jobs & Hope West Virginia employs social workers to help with the state’s comprehensive response to the substance use disorder crisis through a statewide collaboration of agencies that provide West Virginians in recovery or who have been incarcerated the opportunity to obtain career training and secure meaningful employment.
  • The Greater Wheeling Coalition for the Homeless employs social workers dedicated to developing solutions to permanently end homelessness.
  • Youth Services System employs social worker who are committed to responding to the complex needs of youth at serious risk with their shelter, residential, community-based and professional services.
  • Northwood Health Systems, Healthways, and other comprehensive mental health agencies employ social workers who provide quality mental health care for children, adolescents, adults, and senior citizens with emotional problems, intellectual disabilities, mental illness, and drug and alcohol addiction.
  • WVNCC employs social workers as faculty and staff, who educate and train individuals to work in the field of social worker, or work with students with a variety of needs.

Each day, social workers break barriers in a plethora of innovative ways that help millions of Americans live their best lives. Social workers also work in politics and in communities to improve living conditions for all. During Social Work Month we urge you to educate yourselves about our amazing profession, thank the social workers in your lives, and help support the profession.

West Virginia Northern Community College’s mission is to educate and empower individuals to achieve academic and career goals, leading to a highly skilled, well-rounded, and accomplished workforce which successfully competes and adapts in a global economy. The College responds to the needs of the region it serves by offering a high-quality learning environment that is accessible, safe, and accommodating while nurturing teamwork and community service. Founded in 1972, WVNCC is comprised of three campuses located in New Martinsville, Weirton and Wheeling.