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School of Social Work receives funding for rural training and student stipends

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A four-year, $1.9 million dollar grant has been awarded to the School of Social Work by the Health Resources and Services Administration. This grant includes giving students striving for a Master of Social Work a stipend per student, as well as enhance training in rural areas of social work.

Amy Benton, associate professor in the School of Social Work, said the college plans to hire a grant coordinator in the near future and reach out to the school’s community partners, eventually attracting new partners to increase community ties.

Benton also believes that this opportunity may give some students who have not considered the choice of potentially working on a master’s degree in the next four years to take this route.

“This is just going to further our abilities to be graduating successful, confident social workers,” Benton said.

Along with the learning experiences expected to come with this opportunity, the School of Social Work is hopeful that the grant will bring recognition to Texas State by other universities, as well as high school students in search of a college.

“I think it might attract more people who want to work in those specific locations – work in schools, homeless service agencies and medical settings,” Benton said.

Students in the department, as well as staff members and linked community resources, will directly benefit from this grant by enhancing their knowledge on how to handle a variety of situations that may arise in their career.

In addition to funding or master students, the School of Social Work will use the grant to increase the number of social workers prepared to provide trauma-informed, culturally sensitive, evidence-based behavioral health prevention and intervention practices at schools, hospitals, clinics and homeless-serving agency settings,

With this grant, the social work department hopes to increase experience opportunities for graduate students by implementing learning modules to expand the students’ knowledge and attending more in-person workshops.

Although the grant has a face value of $1.9 million, the school is limited to $480,000 to spend per project year, $300,000 going toward student stipends, which leaves relatively $180,000 per year to spend on other projects.Projects may include training sessions for faculty and hiring community agencies to come in to teach a workshop to the students regarding common social work situations.

Furthermore, one of the department’s goals is to reach out to more rural surrounding regions that may have people that need help, but are unable to receive it due to his or her location, by supplying more knowledgeable social workers.

Jose Coll, director of the School of Social Work, said it was an honor that Benton and her colleagues had the energy to apply for it.

“This is the third time that the School of Social Work actually has received the HRSA grant in various forms,” Coll said.

The School of Social Work highly encourages undergraduates to look into this opportunity, especially if they are considering obtaining a MSW. Applicants will compete based on their qualifications and interviews, as well as specific pre-requisite courses, in order to receive stipends.

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