HFNLC $100,000 Social Work Scholars Program

With studies reporting that about 45,000 northern Lake County residents will become newly insured as a result of the Affordable Care Act, Dominican is partnering with two organizations to help meet the increased demand that influx of insured people will place on health and social service providers.

Key to helping the county serve the newly insured population will be social workers. With the support of a $100,000 grant from the Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County, the Graduate School of Social Work and the University Center of Lake County are partnering to train more master’s level social workers to serve the county.

“Master’s level social workers play several key roles in healthcare. They help people navigate what is often a complex and disjointed system, and they provide clinical services,” said Ernest Vasseur, executive director of the HFNLC.

The grant, which was celebrated at a reception at UCLC on January 25, will provide scholarships for students enrolled in Dominican’s MSW program at UCLC. The number of scholarships is limited but each covers nearly the entire cost of the MSW program. They are targeted to help students already working in social services in Lake County increase their education.

The first two scholarship recipients, Maritza Trevino and Reginald Handy, both of Waukegan, were honored at the reception. Trevino is employed at the Lake County Health Department, and Handy works in substance abuse treatment at Waukegan-based behavioral health organization Nicasa. Both are second-year students in Dominican’s MSW program.

“These scholarships support promising social workers who are already committed to and employed in social service agencies in Lake County that serve high risk and high need residents,” said Charlie Stoops, MSW, PhD, dean of Dominican’s Graduate School of Social Work. “They will enable us to meet the increased need for bilingual and bicultural social work providers in Lake County.”

The UCLC was an active partner to Dominican in seeking out and writing the successful grant application to the HFNLC. In addition, Dominican will work closely with the agencies where scholarship recipients are employed to work out flexible schedules and experiential placements for students in a variety of service areas to meet requirements of the degree.

“We see ourselves as a conduit between our member schools and the local community,” said Hilary Ward Schnadt, PhD, associate dean for academic services and programs at UCLC. “We always look for ways to make the community aware of our members’ resources and our members aware of local needs.”

Dominican’s relationship with UCLC is deep, having been among the founding 12 institutions to offer programs at the center. In addition to social work, Dominican also offers programs from its School of Education and Graduate School of Library and Information Science at UCLC.

“Our mission to give compassionate service and participate in the creation of a more just and humane world is what brought us to Lake County,” said Dominican President Donna M. Carroll. “Our graduate programs particularly carry forward that mission forward, and we are pleased that this partnership will help us continue that tradition.”

Contact: GSSW - (708) 366-3463 - msw@dom.edu