Reducing Barriers to Career Entry for Latinos: An Examination of Pathways into Social Work
Keywords: Latinos, college completion, social work education
AbstractDemand for bilingual/bicultural social work practitioners presents a mutually beneficial opportunity for the social work profession and Latinos who are increasingly in positions to be employed as social workers (Acevedo, González, Santiago, & Vargas-Ramos, 2007; Ortíz-Hendricks, 2007). Uneven academic preparation, limited access to information about college, high tuition/opportunity costs and family obligations are among the barriers to higher education for Latinos (Arbona & Nora, 2007; Hurtado & Ponjuan, 2005; Ortíz et al., 2007). Using comparative methods, this article describes career pathway program models that address obstacles to successful entry into social work careers. These models also demonstrate the potential to reduce barriers to degree completion and career entry for Latinos. Salient program components include reduced tuition and tuition assistance, transportation assistance, child care, support in strengthening oral and written English skills, and access to networks of employers (Takahashi & Melendez, 2004). Implications for social work and social work education are also discussed.
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