UA and Stark MHAR team to boost social work landscape of Stark County


The field of social work is growing, and The University of Akron is partnering with the Stark County community to ensure it has the providers it needs. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the field of social work has an above average expected growth rate of 11% between 2018 and 2028. This growth signals a growing need for providers and increased opportunities for social workers in settings such as hospitals, schools, nursing homes, mental health centers, addiction recovery programs, military and veteran’s services, correctional facilities, child welfare agencies and other community organizations.

With such great expectations, UA is now offering its accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) program at Stark Mental Health and Addiction Recovery (Stark MHAR) locations across the county.

According to UA MSW coordinators and licensed independent social workers Lisa Crites, MSW, and Rob Terry, MSSW, “Staff at the Stark MHAR reached out to UA’s Department of Social Work in 2018 expressing a desire to collaborate in expanding workforce development opportunities for social workers in their community.”

The partnership launched the fall semester of 2019.

“Students will benefit from this program by having the opportunity to increase their education at a conveniently located site in their local community. This advanced education will allow students to pursue upper level employment positions within the community organizations where they are already practicing,” said Crites and Terry in a shared statement.

As social workers develop and hone their skills with the MSW, community agencies will see benefits produced from having a more “highly educated and skilled workforce capable of meeting complex needs of the organization and the community,” said Crites and Terry.

Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the 60-credit MSW program is also offered at UA’s Akron, Lakewood and Wayne College campuses. It can be accomplished full-time in two years, or part-time over four years. It offers specializations and certifications in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Addiction, as well as a University Partnership Program which prepares interested MSW students for a career in child welfare.

Social work is a field dedicated to community involvement, and this community partnership represents that goal in optimistic ways. The UA and Stark MHAR partnership is one of far-reaching potential for both the MSW students themselves and the individuals they have the opportunity to impact.

Media contact: Cristine Boyd, 330-972-6476 or cboyd