A Holistic Continuing Education Approach for Social Services Development: Promoting Partnerships Between Universities and Social Service Agencies

  • Andrea De Ott Fordham University
Keywords: education, clinical supervision, program development, continuing education, universities, , social service agencies, partnerships, skills development, training


This article proposes that a dynamic, two-way collaboration between social service agencies and universities would advance the cause of social service and its impact on those most at risk. I believe this alliance would provide mutual benefit: student interns gain real-world job skills to prepare them for a career, while social service professionals gain improved access to continuing education. We cannot have graduate students in internships without supervisors, and we cannot become supervisors without continuing our education—education whose access’ limiting factors could be mitigated by university resources. This collaboration creates a sustainable healing cycle where the more knowledgeable and capable the practicing social worker or psychotherapist becomes, the more effective they are at treating patients and, by extension, providing productive mentoring for interns. To exemplify success of this idea, I reflect on my own experience creating training programs for an agency with several community clinics in suburban New York.