The Center's Focus

Founded in 1969, the initial focus of the Center for Social Policy and Community Development (CSPCD) was to act as the link between the University and community.  This focus gave rise to the movement of the Center into social policy. The Center continued to keep its community focus but began to target programmatic content and policy issues. The Center’s direction also expanded to training, evaluation and research.

The Center’s emphasis on workforce development which began with the inauguration of Nixon has continued throughout the life of the Center. As a support to persons in the Center’s workforce development programs, a neighborhood adult education program was developed to increase math and reading competencies and to help adults obtain their G.E.D.  These skills would help people to find employment and advance in their current employment.

One of the assets of the Center is its capacity to be responsive to the needs of the social service community. The Center has collaborated with over 200 community organizations and a wide range of city agencies throughout its forty year history. The Center’s involvement has included technical assistance in grant writing, program planning, budgeting, evaluation, etc.  

Over the years, the Center has become an informal service learning center for many different departments and schools within the University.  Students have been able to work and fulfill field practicum. The Center has hosted an average of five to ten students per year in their social work practicum experience.  In addition, more recently, many students have found work study opportunities through the Get SMART (Student Mentors And Reading Tutors) program at the Center which has allowed them to offer their time to many community-based organizations.  Many students have been instrumental in assisting with the development of these youth focused programs.  Over the course of forty years, CSPCD has engaged several thousand students.