social_workersThe National Association of Social Workers is one of the largest membership organizations that is set up to help those who fight for the common and basic rights of humans, the social workers. It has been working to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards and to advance sound social policies.

The NASW has around 132,000 members. To help regulate the vast amount of manpower, the NASW is broken up into chapters. With a total of 55 chapters, all states have at least one chapter. Each chapter has a board of directors that develops unique programs to better serve its members and to facilitate participation by its members.

All of the members of the NASW benefit from their general practice of enhancing professional development. The members are offered benefits that lead to opportunities that reward important credentials for working in the field.

The NASW’s Credentialing Center provides the programs in which members and non-members can participate and learn. The Center establishes and promotes NASW Professional Credentials, Advanced Practice Specialty Credentials, and the Continuing Education Portal. These embody the message of the NASW: to enhance your professional career in social work. Credentialing allows the social working careerist to differentiate themselves from those who take social work less seriously.

Another focus of the NASW is advocacy. Much like The Borgen Project, the NASW believes that affecting policy change is one of the best ways to initiate change for the better. Social workers have sought to ensure that all people have equal access to the resources and opportunities that allow them to meet their basic needs. So it is important to advocate legislation that will benefit the community and also benefit those social workers looking to help that same community.

The NASW keeps their advocacy work organized through their Policy Agenda. This Policy Agenda prioritizes which legislation the NASW will support when legislation cycles roll around. Some of the issues that the NASW would consider key right now are: Medicare Reimbursement, Affordable Care Act Integration, Student Loan forgiveness, Child Welfare and several more.

The NASW has even tried to expand its influence past American borders. With a combined effort from USAID and other key stakeholders, the NASW held a conference in Africa in order to improve the working conditions of social workers in Africa in order to help fight off the HIV/AIDS virus. The NASW also helped with Tanzania’s social worker community, trying to strengthen and unite the social workers under the Tanzanian Social Worker Association.

With righteous causes and enticing benefits, the NASW is assembling a work force that is capable of making big changes to how efficiently social workers can function in our society. The NASW is fighting for the greater good. So put the NASW on your reading list, right up there with The Borgen Project.

Erik Nelson

Sources: USAID,
Photo: California University of Pennsylvania