SEMO students learn about Grand Challenges for Social Work
3/24/2017

Southeast Missouri State University  students Kiana Samuel, Paul Bell, Landon Cook
and Cara Willtake are among those taking on the Grand Challenges.

Two Center for Social Development (CSD) staff members hit the road in March to join Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) social work students in educating service providers about the Grand Challenges for Social Work facing their region.

Annie Grier, project manager for Smart Decarceration Initiative, and Lissa Johnson, CSD director of administration and Grand Challenges staff member, spoke at the March 8 continuing education workshop "The 12 Grand Challenges and How They Affect SE Missouri," hosted by SEMO and students in the SW323 Practice III course.

Grier and Johnson presented an overview of the Grand Challenges and expanded on two Grand Challenges: "Promote smart decarceration," and "Build financial capability and assets for all."

"There are many decarceration challenges unique to rural areas that remain understudied and unaddressed," Grier said. "The workshop participants were eager to find solutions that work for their community."

SEMO has integrated the Grand Challenges into its social work curriculum and is a CSD partner in teaching Financial Capability & Asset Building.

Students in the workshop plan to take their research and policy recommendations to Missouri legislators for Student Advocacy Day on April 5, Johnson said. Specifically, they plan to talk to legislators about implementing a state-level Earned Income Tax Credit.