Poverty will be the focus of the 2015 Social Work Day on Friday, March 27, at Illinois State University’s Alumni Center.

Under the theme Poverty: A Private Trouble or Public Issue?, social work advocates from across the state will have the opportunity to explore the larger issues that influence poverty. The public is invited, but registration is required.

“As social work students, social work practitioners and concerned citizens, we have a role to play in advocating for policy change in an area that affects many – but those who live in poverty most of all,” said Professor of Social Work Kathy Wehrmann, one of the coordinators of the Social Work Day.

The event will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Alumni Center. There is a cost of $40 for those attending the workshop for continuing education units (CEUs). More information and registration can be found online.

Speakers will include Ralph Martire, the executive director for the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, and Amy Terpstra, director of research at the Heartland Alliance-Social Impact Research Center.

Martire will talk about influencing state policies through advocacy. Known for his engaging and informative presentations, Martire is a distinguished lecturer on public policy for the University of Illinois and has taught fiscal policy seminars for the International Fulbright Scholar Program. In February 2011, he was appointed to serve on the U.S. Department of Education Equity and Excellence Commission, and is a recipient of the 2007 Champion of Freedom Award. The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability was formed in 2000 to be a bipartisan, nonprofit research and advocacy think tank working across ideological lines to promote social and economic justice for everyone.

Terpstra will present Understanding the Dreary State of the Prairie State and Using Poverty Data in Advocacy. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago with a master’s degree in social work, she is an analyst with expertise in data collection about the Census Bureau, economic, health and human services. Terpstra’s analyses have informed the work of thousands of service providers, advocacy groups, local and county governments, coalitions and policy makers throughout Illinois.

Social Work Day will include a screening and discussion of the film Inequality for All by Robert Reich, a professor, best-selling author and former Secretary of Labor who presents a clear picture of what has caused the widening income gap in the United States.

The day will also include the presentation of National Association of Social Workers awards for Social Worker of the Year, Public Citizen and Lifetime Achievement.

For more information, contact Anne Cook at afcook@IllinoisState.edu or (309) 438-8187.