“The increased longevity and diversity of our population as a whole, and the movement of the baby boomer generation into its senior years, is creating significant demand for professionals with knowledge and expertise in aging”
– Ministry of Training, Colleges & Universities 2007, Queens Printer for Ontario
The Social Service Worker Program at St. Clair College was established in recognition of the need to educate and train professionals to provide frontline services and supports to older adults and their families. Students are prepared with the foundational knowledge and core skills required to work in the diverse and challenging field of eldercare. As our population ages, new and emerging job opportunities in the field of gerontology are on the horizon. Graduates may work in a range of settings that provide services to seniors such as retirement and long term care facilities, health and recreation programs, private home support services, adult day programs, dementia programs, elder abuse services, seniors’ centres, and entrepreneurial initiatives.
The program falls within the scope of practice of the profession of Social Service Work, governed by the Social Work and Social Services Act (1998). The program promotes the values, ethics, practice and conduct standards for Social Service Work set out in the Ontario College of Social Work and Social Service Worker’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. Students who successfully complete the Social Service Worker Gerontology diploma and the block field placement are eligible for registration with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) and may then use the title of Registered Social Service Worker.
First offered at the Chatham Campus, September 2014.
A two year diploma program (full-time).
Program content includes Social Service worker training in interpersonal communication, case management, interviewing, group work intervention, diversity, advocacy, social justice, and community practice.
A number of specialized courses are also offered such as Activation and Restorative Care, Recreation, Leisure and Therapeutic Program Planning, Dementia Care, Adult Development, Death, Dying, Grief and Bereavement, and Volunteer Management.
Students are introduced to many social service and community based agencies focused on seniors during their time at the college to better understand the needs of seniors and well as increase their chances of eventual employment in the field.
Social service worker students are in a unique position to understand and respond to the increasing problem of loneliness and isolation in the senior population as a focus of SSW practice is on social functioning.
Future pathways to success – on completion, students may gain advanced standing toward a Bachelor of Social Work, a Bachelor in Gerontology, a Bachelor in Disabilities Studies, or an Honours Therapeutic Recreation Degree at specific universities.
Due to it’s popularity, the program is also now being offered to international students in Toronto by St. Clair College.
Placement sites have included Alzheimer Society of Chatham-Kent, Meadowpark, Village on the Ridge, Copper Terrace, Residence on the Thames, Riverview Gardens, St. Andrew’s Residence, Sydenham Residence, Victorian Order of Nurses, Eden Villa, Canadian Mental Health Association, The Active Lifestyle Centre, Chatham Kent Hospice, New Beginnings, Park St. Place, Salvation Army, and Community Living (Chatham and Wallaceburg).
Chatham Campus has recently undergone an expansion consisting of additional study space, a student recreation centre, and more meeting space.
“I decided to return to school after being a stay at home Mom for 6 years. I took a risk choosing the SSW-G program knowing little about the profession. Within the first couple of weeks I felt like I had finally found where I belonged. The instructors are passionate about our community and helping our Seniors live their best life. We have a strong group of individuals about to graduate and put our skills to good use!”
– Jami Weening
2nd year SSWG student
“The Social Service Worker – Gerontology program at St. Clair College has been highly informative in providing me with the skills and tools needed to gain immediate employment or becoming the basis and building blocks for future academic endeavours. The program faculty are extremely knowledgeable providing a learning experience which is very engaging in a smaller class environment; a true premium learning format! I found the program to be designed for success if you are willing to commit the required energy and effort. This was easily the most productive 2 years of my life.”
– Dayton Martin
2nd year SSWG student