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Collaborative master of social work program to arrive at JCC in the fall

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A master’s degree program in social work will finally arrive at Jefferson Community College in the fall.

The Greater Rochester Collaborative Master of Social Work program, an effort between SUNY Brockport and Nazareth College, Rochester, will provide a continued pathway for those pursuing a behavioral health career or a pathway for people interested in switching to that career. This is the first time it will be offered at an extension site.

Douglas M. Scheidt, SUNY Brockport’s dean of the School of Education and Human Services, said the 36-credit program will be for people who have a bachelor’s degree in social work and will take two years to complete. A 60-credit, four-year program will be offered in 2014 for people who have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than social work. Both avenues will be part-time study with two classes per semester, tailored for the working adult.

“There’s probably a backlog of a few graduated classes,” Mr. Scheidt said.

Jill M. Pippen, JCC’s dean of continuing education, said that’s because a behavioral health career education track starts with a two-year associate degree in human services from JCC, and those students can move on to the accelerated bachelor’s degree in social work program, offered at JCC through Keuka College, Keuka Park.

“Working with our partner, the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization, we identified this as a need in our area,” she said. “FDRHPO isolated a community need.”

Tracy L. Leonard, regional recruitment project manager for the Health Planning Organization, said it has been working on bringing a master’s degree in social work program to the area for five years. She said it was important to find a program that allowed adults to work while attending graduate classes, and ideally having them stay and practice in the north country.

The graduate degree will help social workers become licensed to practice in New York.

“The community, in return, has to feel like they have easier access to behavioral health,” she said.

Virginia V. David, Nazareth social work department chairwoman, said she hopes the collaborative program will address wait times for children and adults who seek guidance from local licensed professional social workers.

Mr. Scheidt said a class should have a minimum of 15 students and maximum of 22.

Because JCC is an extension site of the program, all participants will have to attend one course on either the home campus at Brockport or Nazareth. Mr. Scheidt said that class will be worked out, possibly on Saturdays, to make it easier for students.

JCC will host two informational sessions on the program from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. June 13 and July 15 at the campus’s Extended Learning Center.

For more information about the degree, visit SUNY Brockport’s website at www.brockport.edu/grcmsw.

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