Title: Department of Employment, Social Workers Placement Service,
Date (inclusive): 1941-1953
Department of Employment, Social Workers Placement Service
California State Archives
For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the California State Archives. Permission for reproduction or publication
is given on behalf of the California State Archives as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility
for possible infringement which may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives
[Identification of item], Department of Employment, Social Workers Placement Service, F3806, California State Archives.
Beginning in 1940, a group of social work executives began meeting informally and discussed among themselves the need for
an employment service which would bring unemployed social workers and available jobs together. Further exploration of the
topic disclosed that many agencies and workers would welcome such an employment service. An informal committee to explore
setting up such a service, and establish standards began in late 1940. Educational training and job experience were seen as
essential requirements for social workers. An official Advisory Committee to the Social Workers Placement Service was appointed
on January 28, 1941, by the Director of California Department of Employment, R. G. Wagenet. Original Advisory Committee members
were Aleta Brounlee, chairman, Dr. H. M. Cassidy, Lexie Cotton, Eva Hance, Alma Holzschuh, Esther Hutson, Elizabeth B. Mac
Latchie, Louis Miniclier, and Emily Minton. The Advisory Committee's duties were to advise the Department of Employment on
matters of policy interviewing applicants, promoting public relations and conducting studies. The Advisory Committee set up
subcommittees which prepared a questionnaire and explored the job classification system in social work.
The Social Workers Placement Service Office opened March 18, 1941, with one staff person. Mrs. Nello Shelton, the Secretary
of the Advisory Committee, became the first Supervisor of the Social Workers Placement Service Office and occupied this position
until the service ended in 1953.
Personnel in the office increased in 1944, but five employees were typically employed. The SWPS office functioned as a clearinghouse
interviewing and registering qualified social worker applicants; published the
Guide to Employment for Social Workers and the
Guide to Personnel for Employers for employers and employees, and maintained records on service users.
Throughout the 1940's the service operated in placing social workers in positions in the eleven western states and the Territories
of Alaska and Hawaii, and accepted employee listings from throughout the United States. Beginning in 1949, the WSPS limited
its service to applicants seeking work in California alone, due to severe budget cuts. Since services could no longer be provided
on a regional basis a proposal was made that a national social worker employment agency be established. A grant from the Columbia
Foundation financed a demonstration of the
Guides which continued to be published until 1953.
In 1951, the staff was reduced from five to four in the SWPS office. In 1952, the State Recreation Commission requested that
the SWPS act as an agency for recreation workers. This was agreed to, and a fifth person joined the staff.
The SWPS name changed on February 28, 1953, to Employment Service for Welfare and Recreation and expanded service began. Further
staff cutbacks continued during 1953, and to save funds the office closed down between September 10 and October 10, 1953.
James G. Bryant, Director of the Department of Employment announced on October 15, 1953, the Department of Employment's reorganization
and that the Employment Service for Recreation and Welfare was abolished as of that date. Gertrude Wilson, chairman, California
Committee on Employment Service for Recreation and Welfare, and other social work agencies protested the closure asking that
the departmental decision be reviewed. However, the Employment Service for Recreation and Welfare had ceased to exist by late