Preparing students to work with individuals and communities toward progressive social change for more than 40 years.

The Community Worker program is one of the few programs of its kind in Canada.

The Community Worker program prepares students to work with individuals, organizations and communities across a range of issues (i.e. poverty, housing, violence, discrimination, settlement, etc.) for progressive social change.

Community Worker female student standing in the front of the photo holding a book in her right hand. In the background there are students discussing a topic on the chart paper.

Overview

Program name
Community Worker
Code
C101
Location
Experiential learning
Field Placement
Duration
2 years (4 semesters)
Starting month
September
Credential
Ontario College Diploma
Method of study
FT

Year of Study

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Program Availability

Domestic students
Sept. 2019 Open
Jan. 2020 N/A
May 2020 N/A
International students
Sept. 2019 Open
Jan. 2020 N/A
May 2020 N/A

Full Description

The Community Worker program is a two-year (four semester) Ontario College Diploma program that integrates local and global perspectives within a multi-level understanding of the historical, social, political, economic and systemic ways in which current issues have developed and are experienced by communities. Grounded within social justice and human rights, we provide students with the critical analyses, knowledge, skills and attitude required to work with a diversity of largely marginalized and urban-centred individuals and communities on a range of social issues.

Program features include:

  • Strong ties with more than 200 agencies across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
  • A 20+ year relationship with Anishnawbe Health Toronto (AHT). Graduates of AHT’s Community Health Worker Training Program can gain direct entry into the second year of the Community Worker program.
  • Founder and lead organizer of the annual Tommy Douglas Institute that brings communities, students, educators and activists together to explore community, education and social justice in the 21st century.
  • Academic partner of grassroots activist training program Local Champions.
Community Worker Program students

What is a Community Worker?

Emerging from a proud history of community-based organizing, advocacy and activism, community workers work with individuals and communities at all levels (local, national, natural and global) toward positive social change.

Community workers are committed to the full and equal inclusion of all peoples within societies that value equality, diversity and human dignity. For us, the pursuit of social justice is about rights, not charity; working in solidarity with communities, not for them.

Already have a diploma or a degree? Visit the Community Worker (Fast-Track) program page to see if you are eligible.

What key skills will you learn?

Throughout the program, students will have the opportunity to develop a variety of important and high-demand skills, including:

  • anti-oppressive and intercultural practice in working with diverse populations (including youth, immigrant communities, Indigenous populations)
  • critical analysis, research and writing
  • group facilitation and leadership
  • individual and group counselling
  • conflict mediation and restorative justice
  • community organizing, activism and advocacy
  • proposal writing and project development
  • policy analysis and rights-based advocacy

How is the program structured?

The program combines classroom instruction with two supervised field placements. Theory, analysis and practice are presented through a variety of innovative instructional tools developed from popular education and learner-centred approaches to teaching and learning. Highly participative classes of dialogue, debate, interactive lectures, guest panels, and group activities provide students with a program of study that is current, exciting and critically engaging.

Program courses are organized into four core areas:

  • community work theory and practice
  • social and political analysis
  • group skills and counselling
  • field placement and seminar

Who are our faculty?

Our faculty of experienced educators bring their passion for education and change to create a highly engaging and dynamic learning environment. Coming from backgrounds in local, national and global activism, they remain active on social issues and maintain close ties to communities, activists and organizations.

Who are our students?

From mature students to high school graduates, from newcomers to those hoping for a career change, our diverse and committed student-body is a core strength of our program.

If you are passionate about human rights and social justice, committed to working with diverse communities, bring a mature and professional approach to your education and fieldwork, and are prepared to take on a course load of 20+hrs/week, this program is for you.

In preparation for the field placement, students will be required to work in multiple small and large groups within classes and community settings.

Part Time Study Options

This program does not currently offer a part-time study option.

Experiential Learning

Field Placement

Your Field Study options

Not only will students develop relationships with our community partners through field placements, they will also meet them in their classrooms through networking events, weekly guest panels (in Semester 1) and through program electives that are taught by agencies and practitioners currently working in the field (i.e. Community Legal Issues, Urban Aboriginal Peoples’ Perspectives in Community Development).

What types of field placements can you expect?

Students will have the opportunity to develop practical skills and gain valuable work experience by completing two supervised placements (totaling 600 hours): a 200-hour placement in Semester 2 and a 400-hour placement over Semesters 3 and 4.

Through our strong ties to over 200 field agencies and advocacy organizations across the GTA, students can find placements suited to their specific interests (e.g. neighbourhood hubs, the City of Toronto, international agencies, food banks) and on a wide range of issues (e.g. poverty, settlement services, housing, food justice, education, HIV/AIDS, anti-violence).

Note: Some of our student placement partners require students in this program to have a police reference check completed before their field placement. These reference checks, which can take up to four months, are done to protect the clientele of these agencies, who are considered “vulnerable persons” under the law. The fees for the reference checks vary and must be paid by the student. Students are responsible for ensuring that the check covers appropriateness for “individuals being employed and/or volunteering who will be working with vulnerable person(s).” Students without a clear police reference check may find that their choice of placements is limited.

Program Standards and Learning Outcomes

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  1. Establish constructive relationships with individuals concerned with community work.
  2. Describe their personal values and motivation as a community worker.
  3. Serve in a variety of grassroots community organizations especially in the areas of co-operatives, seniors and community legal services.
  4. Be comfortable in community work roles ranging from direct service to classical advocacy and organizing.
  5. Understand and articulate the special needs of multicultural groups.
  6. Analyze social inequalities and demonstrate creativity in the organization of new services and institutions to meet community needs.
  7. Work with groups to identify their own needs.
  8. Access existing services and community resources.

Required Courses

SEMESTER 1

semester courses
CodeCourse Name
CWRK1006Community Work Forum
CWRK1005Human Rights
GSSC1064Introduction to Sociology
CWRK1008Interpersonal Communication
CWRK1001Introduction to Community Work
COMM1007College English

SEMESTER 2

semester courses
CodeCourse Name
CWRK2014Community and Campaign Organizing
GSSC1089Political Science
CWRK1009Group Dynamics
CWRK1011Fieldwork Seminar I
CWRK1010Fieldwork I
GNEDGeneral Education Elective

SEMESTER 3

semester courses
CodeCourse Name
COUN2003Counselling
CWRK1003Community Based Project Design
CWRK2019Canadian Social Policy
CWRK2009Fieldwork Seminar II
CWRK2002Fieldwork II
Program Related Elective 
CWRK2004Community Legal Issues
CWRK2026Housing & Homelessness
CWRK2034Restorative Justice
CWRK2036Urban Aboriginal Peoples: Perspectives in Community Development

SEMESTER 4

semester courses
CodeCourse Name
CWRK2012Proposal Development and Funding
CWRK2032Global Politics
CWRK2016Group Leadership
CWRK2018Fieldwork Seminar III
CWRK2017Fieldwork III
GNEDGeneral Education Elective
Program Related Elective 
CWRK2031Program Evaluation
CWRK2033Food Justice
CWRK2035Immigration & Settlement: Working with Immigrant & Refugee Populations
CWRK2036Urban Aboriginal Peoples: Perspectives in Community Develpment

Program options may change according to student interest and community trends. Examples include: Anti-Racism Strategies, International Development, Community Legal Issues, Housing and Homelessness, Program Evaluation, Restorative Justice, Food Justice, Immigration Refugee Settlement, Urban Aboriginal Issues, Urban Youth Strategies.

Your Career

Our graduates

Recognized by the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW), CW graduates can apply to receive the additional designation of RSSW (Registered Social Service Worker). Extra fees may apply.

The Community Worker program is proud to continue a long tradition of graduating Community Workers into a range of professions such as:

  • shelter supervisors
  • international development workers
  • settlement and community development workers
  • advocates on HIV/AIDS, food justice, refugees, environment

Future Study Options

Graduates who successfully complete this program may qualify for advanced standing in the Community Economic and Development B.A. at Algoma University, the Social and Environmental Justice B.A. at Wilfred Laurier University, and B.A. programs in Social Work at Algoma University, Ryerson University and York University. The Humber College B.A. in Community Development and the University of Victoria in British Columbia welcome graduates of the Community Worker program.

For further information, see georgebrown.ca/transferguide.

Tuition

$3,993.00 *

Additional Cost

* Amounts listed are the total of tuition, materials, student service and ancillary fees for the first two semesters of programs starting in Fall 2018. Fees are subject to change for programs starting in Fall 2019 and at later dates.

International students: Visit the International Fees and Related Costs page for more information.

Admission Requirements

Applicants are selected on the basis of their academic achievement, including the required courses, and any other selection criteria outlined below.

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent**
  • Grade 12 English (C or U)

NOTE: Attending an information session is highly recommended.

** Mature Student status (19 years of age or older and no OSSD)

Mature Students may take the Admissions Assessment for English, OR may consider upgrading to achieve the credit(s) needed in English.

Please note that George Brown is committed to ensuring that applicants will succeed in their program of choice and meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the program. Applicants may be required to have grades higher than the minimum requirements stated.

Course Exemptions

College or university credits may qualify you for course exemptions. Please visit georgebrown.ca/transferguide for more information.

International Students

Visit the International Admissions page for more information.

Special Requirements

Note: Some of our student placement partners require students in this program to have a police reference check completed before their field placement. These reference checks, which can take up to four months and must be renewed every year, are done to protect the clientele of these agencies, who are considered “vulnerable persons” under the law. The fees for the reference checks vary and must be paid by the student. Students are responsible for ensuring that the check covers appropriateness for “individuals being employed and/or volunteering who will be working with vulnerable person(s).” Students without a clear police reference check may find that their choice of placements is limited. See www.georgebrown.ca/preplacement/record_check for more information.

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Success Stories

"The Community Worker program taught me how to succeed in the field with critical thinking skills, human rights and anti-oppressive based frameworks. The program prepared me for the challenges and joys of working in the field. Wherever I go, I am praised for studying in the Community Worker program. My workplace has more Community Workers from George Brown than anywhere else!"

Natalie Illanes Nogueira (Graduate 2015, Community Worker)

"If you are interested in working with communities to make society better, then this program is for you. Experienced professors will give you the tools and support you need to effectively advocate for change. Going to the Community Worker program played a major role in getting my first full-time position in the field straight out of school."

Michael Waglay (Graduate 2014, Community Worker)

"This program offers an excellent balance between practical skill building, and the development of theoretical analysis. While you will become accredited to work in the social service work field, you will also develop a more critical understanding of society. I feel more able to articulate the injustices that I see in the world around me, and more prepared to participate in strategies toward social change."

Emily Green (Graduate 2013, Community Worker)

Contact Us

School of Social & Community Services

Phone: 416-415-5000, ext. 2185

Email: communityservices@georgebrown.ca.

Our office hours are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Community Worker Program Coordinators

Resh Budhu (rbudhu@georgebrown.ca) 416-415-5000,ext. 6276

Rusa Jeremic (rjeremic@georgebrown.ca) 416-415-5000, ext. 6786

For more information about George Brown College, you may also call the Contact Centre at 416-415-2000 (TTY 1-877-515-5559) or long distance 1-800-265-2002.

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