Community health workers (CHWs) are public health workers who have a uniquely close understanding of and trusting relationship with the communities they serve. CHWs act as intermediaries between the community and healthcare and social service systems in order to ensure that community members are able to access services that meet their needs. CHWs’ responsibilities include outreach, community education, patient advocacy, and informal counseling. CHWs have emerged as one of the most vital actors in healthcare delivery today with the Affordable Care Act and New York State Medicaid Redesign’s strong focus on ambulatory and preventative care.

Community Health Worker Apprenticeship

In partnership with 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds, Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center, and LaGuardia Community College, NYACH supported the development of a nationally registered CHW Apprenticeship Program. The program combines classroom instruction with on-the-job learning. Paid apprentices worked at Bronx Lebanon Hospital under the guidance of incumbent CHWs to learn firsthand the skills required for this position and receive related classroom training from LaGuardia Community College. This program is one of the first to provide a standard certification and training for the CHW position through a competency based learning approach, and one of the first registered apprenticeships in New York. Apprenticeships are emerging as a new approach to training front-line healthcare workers to fulfill a growing need for experience and practice in the field.

Upon successful completion of the six-month program, participants received a national credential from the U.S Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeships and were promoted to the CHW position at Bronx Lebanon Hospital.