The Geriatric Social Work Education Consortium (GSWEC) is a 21 year old collaborative of eight Southern California Schools of Social Work and twelve top community organizations, including Partners in Care Foundation, its founder and historical convener. This workforce development initiative combines didactic learning and practice interventions to prepare master’s degree level social work students in the Southern California area for careers serving diverse, socially complex populations, older adults and their families.
Over the past 21 years, GSWEC has graduated 752 students, and training site agencies now support 50 master’s level students a year. The program has operated without outside funding for the last 16 years, but increasing needs for geriatric social workers outpace our capacity to train them.
In 2021, Partners secured funding from the UniHealth Foundation to expand GSWEC over the next three years, which will dramatically increase the number of student placements through revised program offerings and expanded placements.
The workforce development initiative will increase the number of graduates entering the field of geriatric social work through:
- Earlier targeting of students – Implement a robust and modernized media and in-person outreach campaign at our eight partner universities,to include first-year MSW and bachelor’s level students with new opportunities before the second-year internship.
- Additional Field Placements – Increase the number of placed interns from 50 to 100 by adding new partner agencies and supporting existing agencies to increase the number of placements they can offer.
- Field instructor support – Develop training and best practices for field instructors to train GSWEC students for virtual and telephonic work during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, and conduct full curriculum review to update in the changing environment.
- Alumni Association Support. Engage GSWEC graduates through continuing education and networking activities to strengthen retention in the field and strengthen their leadership skills to further build this field of specialty social work practice.
- Program Administration – Revise Partners’ current GSWEC staffing to include a GSWEC Project Director who will implement the expansion program.