September 9, 2012

On The Value of Social Care

I was laid off from the IT sector back in March.  I'm hoping to take direction change and pursue something that feels more meaningful (though I won't turn down another IT Manager job if it falls in my lap - a girl & her family gotta eat!).  I want to get into victim advocacy or some thing else in the social work arena where I feel I can give back to women in the community.  Earlier today I was browsing the Colorado Nonprofit jobs board, and I came across this posting.  Among the qualifications required for consideration:
  • BA in a related field (social work, criminal justice, etc I'd assume.  Likewise, I assume my math degree does not apply). 
  • 2 years of experience as a case worker.  
  • Knowledge of resources available for DV victims
  • Experience, ability and willingness to work as a team with diversified staff, volunteers and constituents.
  • Experience working with adults and children living with domestic violence.
  • Knowledge of domestic violence, physical, sexual and emotional abuse and its effects on the victims including safety planning, crisis intervention and advocacy.
  • Excellent presentation and training skills.

Seems like you kinda gotta know what you're doing when you walk in the door.  And what do they repay you for this work, knowledge & experience, helping domestic violence victims for 32-40 hours a week?   $14.50 an hour.  That's just a hair over $30,000.  Apparently, there's no money to be made in helping out the weakest among us.

I got to thinking about that 4 year degree requirement.  Look here:
Date Disbursed Type In-School Rate Repayment Rate
PLUS(FFEL) 8.50%
(DL) 7.90%
(FFEL) 8.50%
(DL) 7.90%

Do you see that??? Just a few years after I graduated from college in 2002, the interest rate on college loans SKYROCKETED. I confess myself ashamed that I was unaware of how badly students now are saddled with debt... I've never felt burdened with my own measly $80.73 a month payment (cheapo public school for me, thanks!) but I had always attributed the difference to the increase in tuition. 

According to this random site I found, the average cost of a Bachelor's Degree is $6,585 per year at an in state, public university.  The least expensive universities are about $3,000 per year.  And according to this site, the average 4 year loan burden is between $14,000 and $17,000 (depending on if you went public or private).

So tell me, how is Pat Q Advocate-to-Be supposed to be able to feed him or herself, plus their family, plus pay bills, plus pay off student loan debt on barely $30,000 a year?  Oh right... get a loan from mom and dad... I thought building up debt was supposed to be a BAD thing?

This is a job that I would love to get started in.... But I do not have the money to go back to school now, nor can I afford to get another loan.  I am not qualified to care for these women, and I cannot afford to get the training I would need to take care of them, because the salary is insufficient to repay the training.  I would do it out of the goodness of my heart, but I can't afford to do so just yet.... still need to earn my living.  This is why I've said "When I grow up, I want to be a philanthropist" (I think I stole that from my dear friend Click....)