The School of Social Work understands that the goal of most students is to secure employment as a licensed social worker upon graduation, and that of most placement agencies is to hire employees who are educated, and well trained. Thus, there are times when internship agencies will offer paid employment positions to student interns who have not yet completed their internship. While the activities of the professional and student are not incompatible, there is a difference between the goals of educational development and those of employment.
To ensure continuing educational development, the School of Social Work has adopted these policies and procedures for when students are offered employment at their internship agency prior to completion of their internship. Note that this policy must only be followed if the employment will start during the internship. If a student has an opportunity to become employed at their internship placement agency after the placement begins, they may only accept the offer of employment upon approval of the Director of Internship Education and when the following guidelines are met:
The student submits a proposal which outlines the job responsibilities, internship tasks, and the way in which they will be delineated if the student accepts the offer of employment (see Request for Employment at Internship form).
- A letter from the agency executive or designee must provide written approval and commitment to the proposal
- The student’s employment must be in a different program or department than the program/department in which they are interning.
- The agency must agree that the student can complete the requirements of the internship (minimum hours, concentration competencies, etc.), even though she or he has become an employee of the agency. This may necessitate lighter caseloads, a longer probationary or orientation period, planned and varied assignments for educational purposes, and additional hours above the normal workweek to achieve the internship requirements.
- There must be a qualified MSW from an accredited school of social work, with two years of post-graduate experience, to serve as the practicum instructor. This must be someone other than the person who will supervise the student’s work as a paid employee to ensure, in part, that the practicum instructor is free to focus on the educational aspects of the internship rather than on workload issue. The practicum instructor must provide individual practicum instruction for the equivalent of 1.5 hours per week.
- The student’s proposed practicum instructor and employment supervisor must be different people.
- The student must have completed at least (one semester or one quarter) of the internship at the agency; received a minimum level of Satisfactory on all practicum education goals and outcomes; and the practicum instructor must have documented this performance prior to the acceptance of paid employment.
- The student’s assigned Faculty Practicum Liaison agrees that this plan is an appropriate course of action.
Upon receipt of an offer of employment, it is expected that the student will take the initiative to submit the proposal to the Director of Practicum Education and coordinate the approval of the appropriate agency personnel. These steps are to be followed:
- The student must first contact their assigned Faculty Practicum Liaison regarding submitting a “Request for Employment at Internship” form.
- 2. The student must sign and submit the “Request for Employment at Internship” form along with the Agency Letter of Approval and Proposal to the Director of Practicum Education (or designee). Submission of a proposal does not guarantee approval of the request.
- The Director of Practicum Education will review the request and may require a meeting with the student to discuss the proposal and any modifications that may be necessary.
- The Director or Practicum Education will notify the student within two weeks as to whether or not the proposal has been approved. a.) If the request is approved, the student will be permitted to coordinate their employment schedule with their supervisor. b.) If the application is denied, the director of practicum education will provide reasons for denial to the student. The student will have two weeks from the date of denial to address the areas of concern and resubmit the proposal to the director of practicum education.
- It will be the responsibility of the faculty practicum liaison to determine that the internship remains consistent with the School of Social Work’s educational objectives and the proposal by the student.
- Failure of the student to adhere to this procedure may result in termination of the student’s internship and scheduling of a Performance Review.
- If the student begins paid employment prior to the approval of the form, the student may not claim any practicum hours during the period where the internship and employment overlapped.