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Abstract

In response to growing concerns about the national shortage of rural social workers, the researchers surveyed and interviewed 115 social work students (97 BSW, 18 MSW) to ascertain their career plans and perceptions of rural social work practice. Although more than half reported living in rural communities at the time of their high school graduation, over 70% indicated a preference for practicing social work in or near an urban area. Students articulated multiple incentives that would attract them to rural social work and expressed a clear understanding of how various systems (social service, legislative, community, and educational) could provide these incentives and generally encourage and support rural social work practice.

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