Private family foundation Accelerate The Future has established a new scholarship at Salem State University aimed at increasing the racial and ethnic diversity of practitioners in the field. Through a gift of $400,000, the Accelerate The Future Scholarship will prepare Master of Social Work (MSW) students for successful careers in community-based organizations throughout the Commonwealth.
The Accelerate The Future Scholarship will provide $20,000 in aid to 20 MSW students, minimizing debt and encouraging future practitioners to work in the public system, which is currently seeing a decline in social workers and an increase in support service requests after the global effects of the pandemic.
“This scholarship fund has provided crucial financial incentives to attract and retain students who are committed to working with individuals who identify with historically marginalized populations and in underserved communities,” says Lisa Johnson, interim dean of the School of Social Work. “It will focus on students taking 15-18 credits per semester with the intention of finishing the program within two years.”
The first public social work program in Massachusetts, the Salem State School of Social Work’s mission is to educate social workers for practice as clinical practitioners, leaders and change agents in an evolving society, working closely with students to find the best fit for field training that provides practical experience and matches their career goals.
“The ability to graduate with a master’s degree and owe close to nothing is something unheard of for an immigrant, brown girl like me. This scholarship grants me the ability to build generational wealth for my family and the power to live out my dream working with marginalized communities, helping to change the stigma around mental health. I am so thankful to Accelerate The Future for such a magnificent opportunity,” said Francisca Daniels ’20, ’23G, of Lynn.
“Accelerate The Future strives to provide steadfast support to the people and organizations that provide solutions in the communities they serve,” says Ross Lohr, managing director of Accelerate The Future. “We are excited to partner with Salem State on accelerating the health and human services workforce needs, in turn providing increased access to public health services—particularly for those in underserved Gateway communities.”
Graduates of Salem State’s MSW program go on to work in settings including health and behavioral health clinics, community-based hospitals and organizations, mainstream and therapeutic schools, child and family services, community practices, hospice agencies, and with older adult service providers.