Chair: Jodi Frey, PhD, LCSW-C, CEAP
Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org or (410) 706-3607
The Social Work in the Workplace and Employee Assistance Sub-specialization (SWW-EA; formerly, Employee Assistance Program Sub-specialization) is recognized as a global leader in the preparation of social workers to enter and provide leadership to the workplace in Employee Assistance (EA) and related fields of workplace social work. Workplaces continue to report rapid growth in the demand for social work and human services in the workplace, including but not limited to workplace behavioral health and worker well-being. Workplace social workers provide a wide array of organizational or direct practice or clinical services and more mezzo and macro consultation and services for employers, employees and their family members.
The University of Maryland School of Social Work (UMSSW) program is strong as it is the oldest and largest MSW program in the world focused on the intersection of social work, employee assistance, and broader workplace behavioral health and well-being. We prepare graduates to understand and practice within work settings that incorporate holistic well-being perspectives of employees, family members and work environments to advocate for, develop and implement innovative, ethical and just policies and practices.
SWW-EA embraces a strengths-based approach to focus on prevention, assessment, short-term counseling and resilience related to mental health and substance use and misuse, personal concerns that can affect productivity and work performance, services to support work/life integration and well-being, crisis intervention, and stress management. Additionally, social workers in the workplace collaborate with diverse work organizations to assess organizational culture and change, and to develop and implement policies, consult with managers and other workplace leaders, including human resource management. The range of what social workers in the workplace can offer to employers is endless. For example, we partner with workplace leaders to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, and also work with individuals and departments to address complex problems affecting employees such as opioid use, suicide, violence, and trauma. Social workers fill a critical role in the workplace, supporting the employer’s most valuable asset, their employees.
The Social Work in the Workplace and Employee Assistance (SWW-EA) Sub-specialization is offered within two specializations: the UMSSW’s Behavioral Health Specialization and Organizational Leadership.
Behavioral Health/Social Work in the Workplace and Employee Assistance
The SWW-EA Sub-specialization within Behavioral Health offers students the opportunity to select either a Clinical (or Clinical/macro) or MACRO (or MACRO/clinical) concentration. Classroom learning and field placements focus on employee assistance programs (EAPs), work/life integration, mental health, and substance use in the workplace. Faculty members and field instructors are recognized experts in the EA and related social work in the workplace fields. Our graduates join a rapidly expanding group of social workers in the workplace and EA professionals who are well qualified to develop and manage programs in private and public settings. Employment opportunities exist at all corporate and government levels, as well as internationally.
Coursework for Students Taking Sub-specialization within Behavioral Health
Completing the sub-specialization does not add any time to a student’s academic plan and can easily be accomplished within the two years of the MSW program. To graduate with the sub-specialization, students must complete all coursework required for the Behavioral Health specialization for their chosen concentration (MACRO or CLINICAL). All SWW-EA students take SOWK 725, “Work, Well-Being and Social Policy” for their advanced policy course in place of Behavioral Health and Social Policy. Students will also take SWOA 736, “Administering Employee Assistance Programs” as one of their advanced methods courses in the fall semester. Students who pursue a primary or secondary CLINICAL (CLINICAL, CLINICAL/macro, or MACRO/clinical) concentration also take SWCL 705, “Clinical Social Work with Addictive Behavior Patterns”. While SWCL 705 is not required for MACRO students, it is strongly recommended. Advising with Dr. Frey is available to discuss course plans.
Organizational Leadership/Social Work in the Workplace and Employee Assistance
The SWW-EA Sub-specialization within Organizational Leadership offers students the opportunity to complete a MACRO concentration. Classroom learning and field placements focus leadership roles in diverse workplaces, including roles such as human resources, organizational development and consulting, program evaluation, workplace policy, equal employment, unions, and more. Faculty members and field instructors are recognized experts in the social work in the workplace field and broader workplace health and well-being fields. Our graduates join a rapidly expanding group of social workers in the workplace and also in Employee Assistance professionals who are well qualified to develop and manage programs in private and public settings. Employment opportunities exist at all corporate and government levels, as well as internationally.
Coursework for Students Taking Sub-specialization within Organizational Leadership
Completing the sub-specialization does not add any time to a student’s academic plan and can easily be accomplished within the two years of the MSW program. To graduate with the sub-specialization, students must complete all coursework required for the Organizational Leadership specialization and all students in this specialization will have a MACRO concentration. SWW-EA students take SOWK 725, “Work, Well-Being and Social Policy” for their advanced policy course. Students will also take SWOA 736, “Administering Employee Assistance Programs” as one of their advanced methods courses in the fall semester. While not required, students are encouraged to take SWCL 705, “Clinical Social Work with Addictive Behavior Patterns” as an elective given the strong emphasis on substance use within the social work in the workplace and employee assistance fields. Advising with Dr. Frey and Dr. Hopkins are available to discuss course plans.
Required Advising for All Students
All students will complete their advanced field placement within and approved organization, focused on SWW-EA (including adult behavioral health placements and workplace leadership approved by Dr. Frey and others involved in the various programs). Placements are approved by Dr. Frey and the Office of Field Education. Students are required to meet with Dr. Frey for a face-to-face advising session PRIOR to submitting their application for advanced field placement. This can be done online. Please email Dr. Frey at email@example.com before the end of the fall semester to schedule this required appointment. Be prepared to discuss your interest in the field and interest in possible field placements during this meeting.
For Additional Information about Social Work in the Workplace and Employee Assistance
Do you work in Employee Assistance or related social work in the workplace field?
Are you an alumnus of the University of Maryland School of Social Work?
Do you value the importance of Networking with other Employee Assistance Social Workers in the Workplace?
YES? Then please join our online Networking Group. Our group offers University of Maryland School of Social Work alumni the opportunity to network with other alumni who are working in the EAP and related social workers in the workplace field. Currently, we have a private group on Facebook that you can request to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/UMEAPAlum/. In the future, we will also create a LinkedIn group as an alternative to the Facebook group. We regularly post employment and training opportunities and provide an online meeting space where alumni can converse and share updates and best practices.