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Community Outreach Worker


Description

In today's society it is evident many people are struggling. Whether it is homelessness, poverty, family issues or substance abuse, there are people in our communities who need assistance. It is the job of community service workers to help those in need.

Community service workers recognize that very few people have had an ideal life, and work to help those people change, adjust, and make something good and positive emerge from a troubled and difficult situation. Community service can happen in a number of different ways, on many levels. Through their work with government agencies, hospitals, group homes, school boards, correctional facilities, and private practices, these hard working people can have a profoundly important impact on those in need.

Depending on their training and area of interest, community service workers provide assistance through group, individual, and family counseling and therapy, or by assisting social workers in evaluating the adequacy of child care, investigating reports of child or spousal abuse, assessing situations and recommending things like legal aid, mental heath assessments, and financial assistance programs. Sometimes, they work with correctional facilities and non-profit organizations, supervising volunteers who are currently under treatment with social services, developing prevention and intervention programs to address problems like family violence, homelessness, and racism.

Community service is not an easy job. Each facet, from working with abused children to assisting developmentally delayed individuals function in group homes, brings its own challenges and rewards. A community service worker must be emotionally stable, compassionate, and willing to fight for their clients.
 
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Building on Purdue's mission to provide greater access to affordable, world-class education, Purdue University Globaldelivers a fully personalized online experience that's tailored to working adults.

Programs Offered:
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  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
$15,420
 
Median Salary:
$23,370
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
$37,550

  Interests and Skills  
Interested in a career in community service? Community service workers must be mature, patient, sensitive and non-judgmental, as well as resourceful, emotionally stable, and flexible when it comes to hours, workplace, and client behavior. These individuals have a genuine desire to help all people, and are willing to come up with creative, innovative solutions for each individual client. Community service workers have an interest in activism, and are articulate, as they are often speaking on behalf of marginalized people.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Interview clients to learn background information
  • Assess and investigate eligibility for social benefits
  • Meet with clients regularly, giving support and discussing any difficulties or problems
  • Refer clients to other social services
  • Provide assistance to clients living in group homes and halfway houses and supervise their activities
  • Run various kinds of workshops and social service programs under the supervision of social workers or health care professionals
  • Assist in evaluating the treatment programs by monitoring clients' behavioral changes
  • Communicate client information with other social service agencies
  • There is no typical day for a community service worker. This is because there are so many kinds of workers, with so many kinds of clients. But one thing is common in the daily life of any community service worker: they will spend hours caring. Each day brings new clients with new challenges to overcome, and each social worker will spend part of each day assessing, sympathizing, listening, advising, and analyzing children, adults, families, and situations, looking for the best solutions to the problems. Community service workers will work with other social service workers and health care practitioners, who all aim to help others in their times of need.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Community service workers find themselves in a number of work environments. Depending on their area of expertise and interest, a community service worker might be employed in the public or private sector, working as a member of a health care team in a hospital or a mental health clinic, in a correctional facility, within a school board system providing counseling to students and teachers, shelters, group homes, or welfare offices. Their working conditions depend on where they work. They will spend time with clients in offices, writing reports and analyzing assessments, but they may also need to travel, meeting with clients in their homes or correctional facilities, to other agency offices, in order to meet with other social services workers, or to community centers to host seminars and workshops. They work long hours, and often are on call weekends, evenings, and holidays. They usually work under the supervision of licensed social workers.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Some community service workers may choose to go back to school, and become licensed social workers. They may choose to move on from social work, and get into health care, law, or recreation programming. A former community service worker may choose to teach workshops, or train to be a private counselor for families and individuals.
 

  Educational Paths  
Unlike social workers, who usually require a four-year bachelor's degree in social work from a university, community service workers are generally only required to have obtained a college diploma in community service. Depending on where you go to school, you may choose to specialize in one area, such as child and youth work, or mental health work.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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