As the population ages and mental health needs expand, FSCJ’s Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Human Services provides students the opportunity to pursue higher education in a rapidly growing field.
FSCJ’s Human Services program fully prepares them to assist some of the most vulnerable populations in our society, from children to the elderly. The program offers a wide array of rigorous courses led by professors who are passionate about their subjects. Course offerings range from case management to basic counseling anchored in mental health, social problems and group dynamics. Upon completion, graduates are ready for careers such as community health counseling, child advocacy and substance abuse counseling.
After conducting a regional workforce assessment in 2010, the College recognized an unmet need for human services professionals. FSCJ was in a unique position to fill that void, because no other Region 8 institution offered a B.S. in Human Services at that time. South Campus President Dr. Margarita Cabral-Maly worked with several faculty members, including Dr. Neal Henning, to develop 20 courses needed for 60 credits. With the help of local agencies such as Hubbard House and Clara White Mission, they developed a program to address the HUS needs of community residents.
According to Associate Dean Dave Garner, the program’s enrollment has grown to more than 200 students, compared to just 13 students when it first began. Graduates from the program are able to take on entry-level positions at the Council on Aging, Gateway Community Services, Hubbard House and other agencies providing mental health and family services to community residents. Students interested in furthering their education are prepared for master’s degree programs in counselling, psychology, social work and sociology.
The Human Services program also provides internship opportunities at agencies including Daniel, Northeast Florida Community Action Agency and the Department of Children and Families. Current Human Services student and DCF intern Sharon Hoose says she is proud of the work she has both witnessed and assisted with as part of the child investigators team. “Helping families receive the training and wellness help they need to remain a family unit has been very rewarding and has helped to fulfill my lifetime goals,” Sharon said.
Sharon also feels confident in the College’s ability to adequately train its Human Services students before working in this field. “It is important to the staff and College to assure that we are sending out students that are trained well, are empathetic to the needs of the people they serve and thorough enough to be sure they are given all the assistance possible to assure a successful change in their lives,” she said.
As the program rapidly grows, the College is currently working to add a capstone course to the Human Services curriculum. It would allow students to conduct research and participate in alternative classroom assessments.