Due to the wide variety of responsibilities and roles that fall under macro social work, social workers in this field can work in many different settings, including but not limited to political advocacy groups, universities and other research institutions, non-profits and volunteer organizations, and government think tanks.
Specific macro social work roles include but are not limited to policy advocates and analysts, community and human services specialists, program development specialists, and research associates and analysts.
However, unlike micro social work (sometimes referred to as direct practice or clinical social work), macro social work does not focus on assessing and addressing people’s problems through one-on-one or even small group assessments, diagnosis, counseling, and treatment.
Instead, macro social workers typically help individuals indirectly through one or a combination of the following: Macro social workers can take on a wide variety of roles that involve some or all of the core tasks described above.
The work settings that employ community and human services specialists may be comprised of a mix of micro and macro social workers.
For example, a state government’s public health department may have direct practice social workers providing individual services to people in need of disability services, and macro social workers who provide program development guidance, organizational support, and policy interpretation where/when needed.“[S]ome of the specific things we do to develop and implement law and policy reform strategies include identifying and researching systemic trends impacting our clients, conducting background literature reviews, investigating agency and placement procedures and conditions through record reviews, site visits and interviews with residents, monitoring compliance with settlements by reviewing records, following up with our staff to see how client services have improved or not, and meeting with providers to raise concerns,” Ms. Social work policy advocates and analysts can work at nonprofit organizations, including humans rights groups, think tanks, and pro-bono law firms.They often are part of an interdisciplinary team, and can interact with other human services organizations to effect social and legislative change. Warner explained to Online MSWPrograms.com, “[My colleagues and I at The Legal Aid Society] also participate in many citywide initiatives and coalitions, provide internal and external trainings, developing testimony for city council hearings, and write letters to the governor.” Social workers who are community and human services specialists may work in government public health and/or human services departments, housing and relief aid agencies, and organizations that provide education, resource navigation, and other support services to veterans, immigrants, the homeless, people struggling with disabilities or addictions, and other vulnerable populations within the community.However, there are strategies that social work students and even practicing clinical social workers can implement to enter macro social work.The following section contains advice from practicing macro social workers on potential ways to explore and craft a viable career in macro social work.“What draws me into social work is that I feel it has a very applied piece to it,” Kevin Shafer, Ph D, who works as an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Brigham Young University, told Online MSWPrograms.com, “I feel that my studies might actually get applied in clinical or macro settings and might help people.” Dr.Shafer believes that the field of social work research is distinct from other disciplines because of its practical significance and its adherence to the mission of improving the well-being of individuals and families within their communities.I have also co-developed and administered quality assurance tools to measure vendor performance, which makes their services more efficient and beneficial to clientele.” Program development specialists typically design, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness of human and social services programs.They can work at universities, government public health departments, community health centers, social services agencies, human rights groups, and other organizations that address social problems at the local, state, national, and international levels.Karamoko Andrews, LMSW, who works as a Public Health Social Work Consultant for New York City Human Resources Administration’s Department of Social Services, explained to Online how he provides guidance, support, and systems advising to staff members and contracted vendors of New York City’s We CARE program.“[We CARE] assists individuals who are recipients of public assistance and may have a medical or mental health barrier to employment,” Mr. “As an onsite representative of We CARE Operations, I provide consultation to the contracted provider on service administration and delivery; which may include information systems related issues, policy interpretation and resolution of programmatic issues.