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Long-running Social Service Worker program turns 30

TERRACE Not long after Northwest Community College (NWCC) was established in 1975, the school offered what was then called the Integrated Human Services program. More than 500 graduates and four name changes later, the Social Service Worker (SSW) program is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. For those keeping track, the long-running program went from Human Service Worker to Social Service Worker (SSW) to Integrated Human Services (IHS) and back to SSW. And while the names have changed, the program has consistently produced graduates ready and able to meet the industry demand locally and beyond. Though the majority of SSW graduates find work in the human services, program coordinator Karen Chrysler says their grads also have gone on to work in nursing, teaching, retail sales, politics and health care, contributing to the social and economic capital of the Northwest region. I think the program has been successful for so long because it serves diverse educational needs, Chrysler said. The program is a springboard for many students. They may not be sure what they wish to do and so they come to take the program for a year. Some go on to other occupations but they retain the knowledge, skills and attitudes of social service work, which benefit them in whatever field they choose. Chrysler says many graduates are working in mental health, child welfare and other areas of social work, others go on to pursue their studies in social work at UNBC and still others take the program for personal knowledge and growth. The program has been around long enough to be generational, Chrysler adds. That is, the sons and daughters of graduates are now coming to the program. NWCC President Denise Henning says the programs longevity is a sign of its success and its ability to adapt to the changing needs of the industries that seek its graduates. Northwest Community College is proud to celebrate the success and history of the Social Service Worker program and the many people who have contributed to this milestone, Henning said. To commemorate the SSW programs 30th anniversary, the College will host Points North, an alumni fundraiser social on Wednesday, April 27 at Waap Galtsap, the Terrace Campus longhouse. All grads are welcome and net proceeds go to the newly established SSW program student bursary. Contact Karen Chrysler at 250.638.5334 for information. Please consider donating to the NWCC Social Service Worker bursary. It's as easy as clicking this link! Fill in the one-page donation form and you'll be contacted to confirm your donation information and payment method. A valid income tax receipt will be issued to acknowledge contributions.

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