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Mississippi Academic Pathways scholarship announced to help train more social workers

MAP scholarship
Photo by SuperTalk Mississippi News

More help is on the way for the state’s most at-risk children, the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services (MDCPS) claimed as it highlighted its recently unveiled Mississippi Academic Pathways (MAP) program on Wednesday at the state capitol.

MAP is an initiative by MDCPS and eight Mississippi universities to train more social workers to help meet the needs of struggling families, especially children, in need of healthcare, financial assistance, and resources in a state that lacks the necessary amount of qualified personnel in the field.

A program will not cost the state any additional money, according to Sen. Brice Wiggins, MAP leverages federal funding to benefit college students working to obtain a degree in social work. MAP provides students  the chance to experience the day-to-day affairs of social work to have them best prepared to enter the workforce.

“This program helps current social work students get the education and the first-hand experience they need to hit the ground running,” MDCPS Commissioner Andrea Sanders said. “It also provides a tremendous resource for the department to identify the best and brightest people to enter the field in an already understaffed sector. Simply put, it means more resources for more children.”

Social work undergraduate and graduate students enrolled full-time or part-time who are preparing to complete their field placement with MDCPS are eligible to apply for a scholarship. MDCPS employees looking to advance their education can also apply.

Those who receive a scholarship are required to work for MDCPS for at least one year following graduation. Scholarship recipients may receive at least one semester’s worth of tuition for the final semester of the bachelor’s program. Master’s program scholarship recipients may receive at least two semesters’ worth of tuition.

“I love how diverse everything is. You can do so many things,” Madelyn Medlin, a MAP recipient earning her master’s degree in the program at Ole Miss, said. “Knowing I can make a difference in helping kids in this state is really empowering and I want to empower those same kids. This state does care. You just have to find those people that care.”

Since the program’s inception in 2023, $1.5 million in scholarships have been allocated to 112 students.

Universities participating in the partnership are:

  • Alcorn State
  • Delta State
  • Jackson State
  • Mississippi State (Starkville)
  • Mississippi State (Meridian)
  • Mississippi Valley State
  • Ole Miss
  • Southern Miss

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