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Community-Based Initiative Program

Community-Based Initiative Program

As one of our Community Scholars Programs, the purpose of the Community-Based Initiative (CBI) in Detroit is to train and support a new generation of social workers dedicated to community and social change in urban cities, neighborhoods, and communities. This is done through coursework and field placements based in Detroit and surrounding areas including Highland Park, Hamtramck, and Dearborn. Upon graduation, CBI scholars work as community organizers, policymakers, program planners, organization managers and administrators, evaluators, and foundation staff within Michigan, the US, and internationally.

Up to 10 incoming students who are genuinely committed to community-based work in urban areas will be selected for the CBI program.

Approximately two incoming Returned Peace Corps Volunteers will be selected each year to be Coverdell Fellows and participate in the Community-Based Initiative.

Community-Based Initiative in Detroit Funding

  • Nonresident Award: $10,000/semester ($40,000 total for four terms or $30,000 total for three terms)
  • Resident Award: $5,000/semester ($20,000 total for four terms or $15,000 total for three terms)

Specialized CBI Courses

Taught in Ann Arbor:

  • Orientation Seminar for Community Scholars: Social Work in Diverse Communities (Fall Term I)
  • Integrative Capstone Seminar for Community Scholars: Social Work in Diverse Communities (Fall Term II)

Taught in Detroit:

  • Policies and Services for Social Participation and Community Well-Being (Winter Term)
  • Social Work Practice with Community and Social Systems (Winter Term)

Special Fieldwork Placements

The Community-Based Initiative in Detroit offers opportunities for innovative practice in community-based field agencies. Field placements must be completed in the Detroit area including Highland Park, Hamtramck, and Middle-Eastern communities of East Dearborn. Note: students must have their own transportation to and from their field placement site(s). Agencies include:

  • American Red Cross
  • Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS)
  • AIDS Partnership Michigan
  • American Indian Health and Family Services
  • CareFirst Community Health Services
  • Community Health and Social Services (CHASS) Center
  • Detroit College Promise
  • Detroit Parent Network
  • Grandmont/Rosedale Development Corporation
  • Greening of Detroit
  • Jefferson East Business Association (JEBA)
  • Kids-TALK
  • Michigan Timebanks (Detroit locations)
  • Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) of Michigan
  • Southwest Solutions
  • UM - SSW Detroit Initiative
  • UM - SSW TAC Good Neighborhood Initiative
  • UM - REACH Program
  • United Way of Southeast Michigan


  • All potential MSW students who are interested in community-based work in urban settings are invited to apply. CBI participants must be enrolled in the 16-month curriculum schedule or the MicroMasters MSW or Advanced Standing with extra term option (45 credits over four terms); select the Community and Social Systems practice area; and may select from the following practice method concentrations: Community Organization, Management of Human Services, or Social Policy and Evaluation.
  • Application deadlines: December 1, 2018 (early application), February 1, 2019 (priority), March 1, 2019. Selection of applicants will be made from all dates with priority given to those applicants that meet the December and February deadlines.
  • Deferred admits planning to enroll in fall 2019 must submit their special program application by November 2, 2018.
  • Financial need will be considered in the review of special program applications.
  • Your MSW application must be complete by the scholarship deadline.
  • If you would like to apply for CBI, then please answer “yes” to the question, “Do you plan to apply to an SSW Special Program?” found on the Financial Assistance page of the MSW online application and then select the Community-Based Initiative in Detroit checkbox. The CBI application pages will be added to the end of your online MSW application.
  • Be sure to include your name and “CBI Program Statement” in the upper corner of your statement before you upload it to your online application.
  • Note that it will be more likely to be offered CBI if you select the following on your MSW application: a) either Community Organization, Management of Human Services, or Social Policy and Evaluation practice method concentration and b) Community and Social Systems practice area.

For more information about the Community-Based Initiative in Detroit, contact the Office of Student Services at (734) 936-0961 or

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