Article

Occupational Social Work

Elizabeth Ann Danto

in Social Work

ISBN: 9780195389678
Published online May 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0094
Occupational Social Work

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Occupational social work is the practice specialization in which programs and interventions are targeted specifically to the population of the workplace. Like all other fields of practice, occupational social work is bound by the National Association of Social Workers’ Code of Ethics and the association’s Guidelines for Culturally Competent Practice. But in terms of opportunities for innovative research, intervention, and program development for the future, occupational social work is as boundless as the global economy. Arguably the profession’s youngest practice domain, occupational (also called “industrial”) social work may look like other specializations in social work, all designed to remedy gaps in human and social needs, except for the unique focus of its client population: people in the workplace as a functional community, including employees, job seekers, labor union members, and retirees. Today’s occupational social workers are challenged to meet the social welfare needs of workers and work organizations on multiple levels of practice and to fulfill multiple roles, often in innovative but fairly small service delivery models. Occupational social workers are expected to comply with ethical practice standards and to be familiar with fundamentals of social policy (such as employment, unemployment, and marginal or underemployment); the cultural value of “work” (or its absence) within ideological frameworks and human development; the structure of work-based social service programs; the significance of substance abuse, mental illness, gender, race, national origin, sexual orientation, and ability as workplace variables; and the historic centrality of work organizations and labor unions in the lives of clients and their families. This article contains information selected from the professional literature as well as allied social and behavioral sciences, social research and administration, and social welfare policy, including government resources. Program descriptions and treatment interventions are drawn from select clinical arenas, specialized journals, and web-based sources. Because occupational social work is international in scope, non-American sources are included if they are available in English.

Article.  8137 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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