1. Ideas, Theories, and Technological Advances that Affected Human Services
The field of human services has been experiencing several changes for the last ten years. First of all, the quality of life has significantly improved; globalization influenced all the spheres of our lives giving opportunities to some people and challenging others; many innovation have been introduced lately. Legislation is changing and is becoming more loyal. Standards in legislation area, such as equal employment opportunity, healthcare, wages, occupational safety and health, become more focused on human needs. Growing healthcare costs led to growing demand for specialists in this field.
Modernization of information systems of human services plays a significant role in the development of human services field. New technologies offer more opportunities for human service delivery. However, human services often face challenges connected with human service funding policy. Technologies aimed at arranging databases had a substantial impact on human services because it simplified the work of human services workers to the great extent due to the ability to structure data. The availability of the Internet had immensely increased the speed of information transfer. Contemporary technologies allow using complete data due to web entries, graphical interfaces, geo-coding, and mapping are now common tools in human services. Technologies that were introduced help lower costs and improve the quality of information (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009).
2. Funding Issues in the Human Services
Traditionally, the largest part of human services is financed by the government. Smorol (2011) stated that human services funding was significantly affected by the economic decline of 2008-2009. As Federal and State budgets were cut, budget deficits are expected for the next several years. An essential increase in private funding is forecasted for the next ten years. In accordance with the research conducted by Smorol (2011), almost 60% of human service nonprofit organizations got less of state government financing. The same situation occurred to municipal and Federal funding: financing was cut by 49% and 31% accordingly.
As financing nonprofits have always been a challenge for these organizations, human services agencies turned to private funding. For this reason, Foster, Kim & Christiansen (2009) developed ten financing strategies (models) for nonprofit organizations depending on their profile. Models are classified by the sign of the dominant funder, namely: individual donations, single person’s contributions, or few contributors’ donations. Also, there corporate funding exists together with mix of funders. Funding are classified in accordance with type and quantity of funding sources (Foster, Kim & Christiansen, 2009).
3. Employment Trends in Human Services
In accordance with Bureau of Labor Statistics (2009), the employment in the human services field was projected to increase. The demand will increase not only because of emergence of new working places, but at the expense of replacement positions as well. The demand for such professions as arbitrators and mediators will increase significantly as companies need resolving disputable issues out of court. Also, affected by globalization processes, the demand for international human resources is increasing together with human resources information systems demand (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009). Taking into account changes in legislation, an increase in demand for labor relations experts, training staff, and mental healthcare personnel is predicted (Green, 2008).
In accordance with Bureau of Labor Statistics (2009), there are several opportunities in the human services field. Those who have decided to choose the carrier of a social worker or a counselor must know that about 54% of jobs in human services are referred to healthcare and social assistance while about 30% of social workers are employed by the government. The demand for social workers is expected to increase by approximately 16% until 2018. More than 20% growth is expected for the jobs in healthcare (medical and public health social workers; mental health and substance abuse social workers – the growth for workers employed in this field is forecasted on the level of 22%). Bureau of Labor Statistics (2009) has projected the employment rate in the field to grow faster than the average.
Edgecombe Community College (2009) forecasts emergence of new programs in human service field, such as, more services for mentally impaired, elderly, and people with disabilities. Much attention will be paid to the development of day care service centers. Rural areas are very promising from employment perspective. Public sector is traditionally generating more job openings (“ Human Services Workers”, 2009).
4. Education and Training Opportunities in the Human Services
Bureau of Labor Statistics (2009) reported that for the most jobs in human services a bachelor degree is required for entry positions while master degree is required only for some of them.
All of the States, including District of Columbia, have certification, licensure, and registration requirements while regulations may vary depending on the State (“ Human Services Workers”, 2009).
Usually, a degree in psychology or sociology is required to be qualified for a social worker. MSW (master degree in social work) is required when applying for a position in health or school field, for example, some clinical work. For supervisory, staff training or administrative position a doctorate degree (DSW or Ph. D.) is a mandatory requirement of the employer. Usually, for teaching positions and research appointments DSW and Ph. D. are required (“ Human Services Workers”, 2009).
In accordance with Edgecombe Community College (2009) research, there was education available for the field. Thus, 468 bachelor’s programs and 196 master’s program’s were accredited in 2009 by the Council on Social Work Education. Also, 74 doctoral programs were listed by the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in the U. S. Programs for bachelors include various courses in social field, such as, values of social work, communication in culturally diverse environment, ethics, social research methods, etc. These programs aim to prepare the following professionals: counselors, group social workers, caseworkers, and mental health assistants. While bachelors’ programs require 400 hours, masters’ programs include 900 hours and more of internship or supervisory instruction. A part-time education is available. A bachelor’s degree may not be required for the entry, while courses in social work, sociology, economics, psychology, or political science are necessary (“ Human Services Workers”, 2009).
It is necessary to have 2 years or 3, 000 hours of clinical experience and supervisory work to obtain a license of a clinical social worker in most of the States. The requirements for the license vary in different States. Commonly, carrier advancement and certification require additional work experience or an advanced degree. Government and private practices are available for the social workers. Social workers having private practice are paid through health insurance or directly by the client. Government workers take part in formulation of government social policies (“ Human Services Workers”, 2009).
5. Necessary Knowledge and Skills to Succeed as Human Service Worker
It is known that human services workers often deal with various forms of violations, for instance, sexual, alcohol, mental, elderly, physical, and drug abuse. Their clients often endure different hardships, such as, unemployment, poverty, financial and health issues. The work of human service employees is connected with mental and emotional pressure, thus, he or she must possess certain qualities and knowledge to manage with constant challenges. Therefore, the following treats of character are necessary: flexibility, compassion, self-discipline, ability to listen and to hear, even-temper, enthusiasm, philanthropic, and willingness to help other people.
In addition, competent social workers are encouraged to possess ability to learn, gain knowledge, know the basement of time management, and possess elementary computer skills.
Social worker must carefully examine issues related the field of social welfare; directly interact with families, individuals, and groups of people; possess administrative and managerial skills; be competent in legal issues; possess analytical skills; accomplish advocacy on behalf of communities, families, and individuals (“ Human Services Workers”, 2009). Besides, personal treats of character and educational demands, human services worker is likely to possess the following skills: ability to understand the nature of human systems; understanding medically and socially oriented, psychologically-behavioral, medically-oriented, and educationally-oriented models; ability to identify and select appropriate interventions which are necessary for goal achievement; skills connected with planning, implementing, and evaluating interventions; ability to select interventions with regard to client’s values, ethical principles, goals, and life style; possess effective communication skills and be aware about peculiarities of interpersonal relations (“ Human Services Workers”, 2009).
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All of the skills mentioned above are required to succeed in the future as a human services worker.
6. Human Services Opportunities and Сhallenges
In accordance with Bureau of Labor Statistics (2009) human services job opportunities, like many processes in the USA, are tightly connected to the demographic situation in the USA. The increase is conditioned by the ageing process of the generation of baby boomers. Significant opportunities are predicted because of replacement (“ Human Services Workers”, 2009).
Also, Bureau of Labor Statistics (2009) reported the growth of family support workers’ and child advocates’ employment by approximately 12%. Due to the increased number of students’ enrollments, the demand for the school social workers will grow proportionally. Integration children with disabilities into general school will be emphasized. At the same time, the competition in some areas of school social work may become tougher because of limited opening options. Besides, the opportunities in private practice for the social personnel are forecasted for the next ten years. Rural areas are also offering more carrier opportunities for gerontologists and professionals in the substance abuse treatment.
However, there are several challenges in human services employment. With the development of new technologies and computerization and automating replaced many working places. Those workers who stayed are forced to prove their competence by means of evaluation performance. Thus, those workers or applicants, who fail to meet the requirements of contemporary labor environment, will fail to find a good job or will be replaced by more competent and skilled rivals. Also, specialists in labor relations, training staff in larger companies are likely to be affected by a strong tendency to downsizing, mergers and restructuring of corporations (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009).
More challenges are connected with human services agencies funding and human resources in the field.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2009). Social Workers. Retrieved from http://www. bls. gov/oco/ocos060. htm
Edgecombe Community College. (2009). Human Services Workers. Retrieved from
http://www. edgecombe. edu/academics/service/hmnserv/humanities/Human%20Services%20Workers. htm
Foster W. L., Kim P. & Christiansen B. (2009). Ten Nonprofit Funding Models. Standford Social Innovation Review. Retrieved from http://www. ssireview. org/articles/entry/ten_nonprofit_funding_models
Green, T. (2008 September 18). Department of Human Services Announces Changes to Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Services in the South Suburbs. Retrieved from http://www. dhs. state. il. us
Smorol, R.(2011 July 13). Financing Human Services: Philanthropy Finds a New Role. Retrieved from http://onphilanthropy. com/2011/financing-human-services-philanthropy-finds-a-new-role/