Job Fair Connects BSW Students with Agencies to Bridge Social Worker Shortage

Ohio – just like other states across the country – struggles with providing access to mental health services, as well as a shortage of social workers. In response to this situation, Kent State University’s College of Applied and Technical Studies last year launched its Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program, aimed at addressing these significant challenges with a concentration on rural social work – a recognized need in areas where many of the Kent State Regional Campuses are located.

As students in the BSW program are nearing the end of their second semester, faculty leaders helped prepare them for their next step by hosting social work job fairs simultaneously at the Ashtabula, Salem and Tuscarawas campuses on April 16.

Representatives from 36 agencies, from across 10 counties total, met with BSW students on each campus to discuss career paths, job options, internships and other available opportunities.

“One of our goals for this program has always been to not only educate students, but to have them go into their communities and make them better places,” according to program director and lecturer Matt Butler. “Seeing that there are so many organizations willing to take a chance on our students with jobs or potential internships shows that we're doing what we set out to do.  It was an outstanding event, and we were so excited to show off our students.”

Butler hosted and organized the Ashtabula job fair, while faculty members Heidi Migliore and Paige Shreve coordinated the Tuscarawas and Salem events, respectively.

According to Butler, the job fairs were meant to help connect students with local agencies and provide overviews of available job and/or internship opportunities. Students are each required to complete six hours of field experience as part of the program curriculum.

“Many students are planning their first internships in August, so this provides them a chance to network and get to know people from a wide array of potential sites,” Butler said.  “Many of the students had updated resumes and were able to make real connections with agencies that are actively looking for interns and employees right away.”

The job fair was also beneficial for the attending agencies.

“It allows local agencies to meet our students and find potential fits for their organizations,” Butler added. “Multiple organizations at all three campuses told our faculty that they were impressed by the quality of our students, their professionalism and their preparation for the workforce, even so early in the program. Many expressed high hope that our graduates will make a tangible difference in their employment gaps.

“We actually had six or seven committed agencies cancel at the last minute, mostly due to illness and staff shortages, which really underscores how important the program is in terms of workforce needs,” he continued. “Overall, the event was a huge success and highlights just how valuable this program is – and will be – throughout Northeast Ohio.”

Interested in learning more about a career in social work and the path to a degree in the Bachelor of Social Work program? Visit for more information.


POSTED: Thursday, April 18, 2024 08:25 AM
Updated: Thursday, April 18, 2024 08:30 AM
Kent State Regional Campuses Strategic Communications & Marketing