Training Social Workers for Political Engagement: Exploring Regional Differences in the United States

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Social workers are challenged by the profession’s Code of Ethics to engage in social and political action to create social change, and social work education is challenged by our Code and accreditation standards to prepare students for this challenge. Social policy instructors often need to adapt teaching methods in order to account for differences in the political and social context within which they are teaching. This study uses the Civic Participation Model [CPM] to assess the regional differences in a political social work training offered in two strikingly different locations in the Eastern and Western United States. This paper describes a case example of an adaptation of a political social work training to a new context that varies significantly in a number of ways from the one in which it was created, including geography, ideology, density, and political structure. Outcomes are discussed, and the article proposes research questions for a larger follow-up study of political social work trainings in a series of diverse geographic areas of the country.