When the social work program launched at Missouri Southern at the start of the 2015-16 school year, it was with fewer than 20 students. In its second full year, the program has more than doubled in size.

“We have 33 students who came in this August,” said Dr. Renee White, department chair. “There’s been a lot of word of mouth around campus about it, as well as by people in the community who have social work degrees and are excited to share the news.”

Another factor helping to bolster the new degree is the job potential. According to the National Association of Social Workers, employment it expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations. That is, in part, due to the growing elderly population and the aging Baby Boom generation.

White said she hopes to see the program continue to flourish at Missouri Southern. “Social work is an up-and-coming profession,” said White. “Regionally, there are some rural areas that are very much in need of social workers.”