'Politics is Social Work with Power': Training Social Workers for Elected Office

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Training social workers for leadership roles in electoral campaigns and political offices increases the profession's effectiveness in promoting public policy that reflects our professional values and commitment to social justice. This research describes and evaluates an educational experience in the US that prepares social work practitioners and students to run for elected office; to work in leadership positions at the local, state, and federal levels; and serve as effective advocates for social change. Participants' plans for future political engagement before and after the training were compared. Following the training, participants are more likely to plan to be politically active in general. Their intentions to work on campaigns, run for office, and engage with elected officials increased. These results can inform education in other social work settings.


At the time of article submission Shannon Lane was affiliated with Adelphi University.