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Obama says he wants more young people to become social workers

President Obama greets graduates. Photo courtesy of

President Obama greets graduates. Photo courtesy of

President Obama on Monday announced more initiatives to reduce student loan debt, including expanding a program that puts a cap on how much students spend each month to repay loans.

In this National Public Radio report, Obama said enabling more young people to go into college is important because the nation needs more social workers and other professions.

“We want more young people to start their own businesses, we want more young people to be come teachers and nurses and social workers,” he said. “We want young people to be in the position to pursue their dreams.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States. Think you want to become a social worker? Find out more about the profession at National Association of Social Workers’ Be A Social Worker website.


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  1. It’s great that President Obama is acknowledging social workers, but the social work field needs to do a better job in recruiting and retaining high quality students. Despite the increasing need for social workers, there is a decreasing incentive to go into the social work field. In this economy, why would anyone take out tens of thousands in loans knowing that with social work wages they would struggle financially for the rest of their lives?

    Loan forgiveness is a start. Federal title protection laws to prevent non-social workers from referring to themselves as such is crucial in stopping the artificial social work surplus that is driving our wages down!

    As social workers, we are suppose to be agents for change. NASW, help lead us to make these improvements within our profession!

  2. The comment above is true. I have struggled most of my life as a social worker making 18,000 a year to 21,000 a year, 24 hours on call, seven days a week, traveling 8 counties. If I got paid an hour what I actually worked, it may have helped some but my experience is, it is always salary. Seems like we are just suppose to accept that we volunteer ourselves just because it is the nature of the job. Social workers are not a dime a dozen. I remember an attorney telling me this. I am sure other social workers have or had better income. It depends where you live, what population you work with and your specialty. With that said, I am glad I became a social worker. NASW, we do need your help!

  3. I have been a social worker for 40 years in various settings including family service agencies, hospitals, home care settings with the elderly and disabled and hospice settings. Received my masters in 1973 and have recently retired. I have very much enjoyed it and feel i have made a significance difference in many people lives, but worked very hard with long hours with poor reimbursement with little change in income even with changes in settings. I would not have been able to survive and continue as a social worker without my spouses salary. it has been very sad and frustrating for me to see that nurses in various settings and mental health counselors etc with significant less training make significant higher salaries and appear in general to earn more respect as a profession than social workers. This was not the case 20-30 years ago. NASW along with us as individual social workers needs to find a way “promote “social workers more and “sell” their value especially the extensive training we all receive in systems theory, family dynamics, advocacy, interviewing skills, etc etc. We are a special group but I unfortunately feel many times we are not recognized for our value and the salaries/reimbursement therefore remains sadly very low. Thank you NASW for setting this as a priority for the near future.

  4. We serve in a valuable and much needed profession. I think its fabulous that Obama is giving us this much deserved recognition.

  5. I was a social worker 25 years ago making about 18,000 annually. I attended law school, got a law degree and a license. Today, I am still a social worker, but I can represent clients in court, make a lot more money and I like what I do.

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