SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Ann Gillespie’s plan to get more social workers into the employment pipeline quicker in Illinois passed the Senate Thursday.

Senate Bill 1888 would allow students who are completing their social work master’s degrees to sit for licensure exams in the final semester of the program, rather than having to wait to pursue a license after they have their degree in hand.

“We have a well-documented shortage of social workers in Illinois. Streamlining the process for obtaining a license will help these professionals more quickly find jobs in communities where their expertise is desperately needed,” said Gillespie, an Arlington Heights Democrat.

The legislation is an initiative of the National Association of Social Workers.

“This is such a critical bill to address the workforce shortages we are having throughout the state, but particularly in rural areas,” said Kyle Hillman, director of legislative affairs for the organization’s Illinois chapter. “If we can get social workers licensed quicker, we can get these practitioners into our agencies quicker to provide the needed mental health care in such demand.”

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