Brookdale Community College: Preparing the Next Generation of Social Workers
“The Brookdale Pre-Social Work program is unique in the level of support one receives from faculty and fellow students, coupled with educational opportunity in the classroom, as well as in the field.” – Elizabeth Barone, Brookdale A.S. 2021 graduate.
The Human Services, A.S., Pre-Social Work Option at Brookdale Community College prepares students to transfer to a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program at a 4-year school. The required coursework is designed to help students understand human and social systems and the ethics and values that guide human services practitioners in general and social workers in particular.
Our partnership with the National Association of Social Workers, (NASW-NJ) helps to connect our students with their professional organization before they enter a BSW program. This offers our students additional grounding in the social work profession. They have opportunities to learn about the Code of Ethics, career options in Social Work, professional identity, and the social work licensing process, not to mention opportunities to network with professional social workers.
This fall, NASW-NJ will be providing our students with five guest speakers from the social work field—from clinical practice to administration to grant writing—to help expand students’ knowledge of the profession. Our students also have free access to NASW-NJ programs, allowing faculty the opportunity to incorporate NASW-NJ webinars, programs, and conferences into their curriculum.
Students have used their Brookdale experience to springboard into BSW programs at both public and private colleges and universities. “My experience in Brookdale’s Human Services Program provided and continued to create the most profound experiences, relationships, and opportunities,” said Jade Longo, Brookdale graduate, class of 2019. “This program evolved all aspects of my life, both professionally and personally. I can only hope others continue to utilize it for all of what it encompasses,” continued Longo, who is graduating from Rutgers University BSW class of 2021 and starting her MSW in the online advanced standing program this fall.
Students at Brookdale learn through a combination of classroom work and fieldwork, spending 285 hours in human services positions at hospitals, mental health centers, social service agencies, substance-abuse counseling sites, and other facilities. “Our students gain unparalleled experience in the field at the associate’s level. They graduate Brookdale armed with the skills and knowledge—as well as the resume—needed to be successful in entry-level positions or transfer to strong four-year universities,” said Sara Barnett Burrill, Ed.M., MS, MA, assistant professor, department of psychology. Burrill also noted the program’s flexibility—there is an opportunity to obtain an A.S. degree in pre-social work through a newly added evening schedule option, and plans are being developed so students, both locally and from across the nation, can soon earn their entire Brookdale pre-social work degree online, using our remote live format.
Elizabeth Barone, a Brookdale A.S. 2021 graduate who will enter the Rutgers School of Social Work this fall, said, “I feel confident that I will always be able to draw from what I learned in the Brookdale program to further my education and career in Human Services.” She added, “the Pre-Social Work program at Brookdale has well prepared me for the continuation of my degree at Rutgers, and also provided me with excellent tools and experiences in the field through my internships”
Accredited through the Council for Standards in Human Services Education (CSHSE), Brookdale’s graduates leave with a broad perspective on local to global issues that affect the people they serve. Our faculty is both full-time and part-time and uses updated technological and methodological approaches to educational delivery and client services.
“When I decided to return to school at 27 years old, after just getting sober and ten years of destruction, Brookdale welcomed me with open arms, no judgment, just unconditional support,” said James Price, 2018 graduate of Brookdale. “The social work program is beyond spectacular. Brookdale’s professors are the best in the country. Professors Burrill, Greco, Frank—these women saved my life. Brookdale is the best decision I ever made.” Price graduate from Rutgers University this spring and will be pursuing his master’s degree in the fall.
Brookdale currently offers articulation agreements with Rutgers, Monmouth, Georgian Court and Stockton Universities, and the University of Delaware. Students who matriculate from Brookdale to the Social Work Bachelor’s Programs at Rutgers and Monmouth can also qualify for advanced standing in the M.S.W. Degree Programs to complete the master’s degree in one additional year.