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Article

Paul A. Kurzman

Occupational (industrial) social work, one of the newest fields of policy and practice, has evolved since the mid-1960s to become a dynamic arena for social service and practice innovation. Focusing on work, workers, and work organizations, occupational social work provides unique opportunities for the profession to affect the decisions and provisions of management and labor. Despite the risks inherent in working in powerful and often proprietary settings, being positioned to help workers, their families, and job hunters enables professional social workers to have the leverage both to provide expert service and to become agents of progressive social change.

Article

Sheila H. Akabas

Employee assistance programs (EAPs), or membership assistance programs when sponsored by unions, are designed to improve worker productivity and motivation by responding to problems that workers experience which interfere with job performance and satisfaction. Now a ubiquitous characteristic of American workplaces, the programs are largely staffed by social workers. This entry discusses their historic development, extent, scope, structure, how they are perceived and utilized by different racial and gender populations, and the dilemmas and challenges facing EAPs as they try to define their role, function, and best practices amid emerging trends in the world of work.