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Fall 2011
Vol. 55, Number 3
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Helping those in need: Human service workers

Sometimes, the hardest part of getting help is knowing where to turn. Often, human service workers point the way.

Many people experience hardship and need help. This help is provided by a network of agencies and organizations, both public and private. Staffed by human service workers, this network, and the kinds of help it offers, is as varied as the clients it serves.

Human service workers help clients become more self-sufficient. They may do this by helping them learn new skills or by recommending resources that allow them to care for themselves or work to overcome setbacks. These workers also help clients who are unable to care for themselves, such as children and the elderly, by coordinating the provision of their basic needs.

The first section of this article explains the duties of human service workers and the types of assistance they provide. (The box on page 25 has more information about different types of human service organizations.) The next several sections detail the populations served by, and the occupations commonly found in, human services. Another section describes some benefits and drawbacks to the work, and the section that follows discusses the education and skills needed to enter human service occupations. The final section lists sources of additional information.

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: September 28, 2011