KU-RACC Joint Program Rolls Out First Cohort of Graduates
KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Kutztown University graduated its first cohort of students from its Bachelor of Social Work program through its partnership with Reading Area Community College (RACC) in May 2020. Students who earn an Associate in Arts in social work at RACC can earn a Bachelor of Social Work from KU in two years in an accelerated program available on the RACC campus.
"The Kutztown-RACC cohort enabled me to obtain my BSW in two years while working full time," said Elisa Foreback, a Kutztown, Pa. native. "This was so important to me as I am an adult learner with a family. Without this program, earning my BSW while working full-time would have taken me many more years. The cohort model made for an enriching learning experience. I am extremely grateful for the program and the experience I had being involved with it."
Through a two-year agreement, bilingual students who apply for this accelerated program in social work could apply for an internship at Service Access & Management, Inc. (SAM Inc.). The internship includes a stipend of $2,500 and employment upon graduation upon successful completion of the program.
"Earning my BSW through the RACC/Kutztown cohort afforded me a rewarding career that now supports my entire family," said Ashleigh Mills, a Hamburg, Pa. native. "This achievement would not have been attainable without the existence of such an amazing program."
The joint program was created in June 2018. The program is specifically designed to be both low-cost and of high quality for adult, bilingual learners, who may also be working with full-time jobs and/or families, at community college rates.
"Being a part of the first cohort through RACC and Kutztown University provided me with the best opportunity in furthering my education, completing it close to home. I will be forever thankful; without it, I might have taken longer to achieve my goal or may have never even attempted," Maria Lopez said, a Reading, Pa. native. "This program allowed me to have the accessibility of doing it without the added barriers of transportation, childcare and time management especially as a mother of three, young kids. Our professors were always supportive and even though this was all new to everyone, including the administrators, they all wanted us to succeed, and we did. It was an honor to have participated and to have gone through this process with incredible classmates. With each Friday class, we became a support system, a family; I wish them all the best and hope to work with them again one day."
KU and RACC work to make this program accessible to learners within the Berks County community so they may be able to support their families and be able to work on their degree at the same time.
"Having the opportunity to support students at RACC to secure their Bachelor of Social Work degree has been rewarding as the students come from diverse backgrounds and are eager and willing to learn," said Dr. Mary Rita Weller, assistant professor in KU's Department of Social Work. "RACC social work students discussed their challenges with trying to navigate classes outside of the RACC campus to achieve their lifelong dreams of becoming a BSW graduate. Last spring, six students graduated. In spring 2021, there will be another nine BSW students expected to graduate through the KU-RACC cohort. With 15 more BSW graduates, the various human service organizations throughout Berks County will have additional professionals to support their initiatives and meet their challenges. BSW graduates went on to secure full-time employment as social workers at local school districts, aging services, medical, mental health and children and youth services."
Learn more about the accelerated program online.