A soon-to-be-launched Troy University certificate program has become the state’s first apprenticeship program for Community Health Workers, officials announced on Wednesday.
The University’s College of Health and Human Services received a $3 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last fall to develop and administer the certificate program to train and place Community Health Workers. The three-year grant is being administered through the University’s School of Nursing and School of Social Work and Human Services.
Community Health Workers are trusted members of their communities who empower their peers through education, helping to connect residents with available health care resources.
Wednesday’s apprenticeship announcement, which included representatives from the College of Health and Human Services, the University’s partner in the program The Wellness Coalition and the Alabama Office of Apprenticeships, provides a key element to the program. The first cohort of the CHW training is set to begin on Feb. 20.
“The apprenticeship is probably the key to this entire grant,” said Dr. John Garner, Dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “The apprenticeship will be where the trainees and future Community Health Workers will actually have their own-the-job experiences. They will go through a curriculum-based situation that is free, but upon completion of the curriculum, they will work in the area as a part of this apprenticeship to learn valuable hands-on skills and communications that will work with the residents of those areas.”
The free, online training program, which will consist of 10 modules that must be completed along with a 60-hour field experience component, will span about 12 weeks and be delivered online through the University’s Continuing Education and Outreach department.
Tawanna Robinson, Project Manager for Regions 5 & 6 for the Alabama Office of Apprenticeships, said the CHW apprenticeship program is truly a win for all involved.
“Apprenticeships help to meet the needs of business and industry, as well as our communities,” Robinson said. “By providing opportunities for apprentices to earn while they learn, we are meeting needs so that individuals will be able to get their health care needs met.”
Those participants who take advantage of the apprenticeship program will benefit in a number of ways, Robinson said.
“They get to get to participate in a career pathway that allows them to receive an educational opportunity at no cost to them, receive mentorship from employers who are participating in our programs, all while they are actually employees of the companies they are participating with in this program.”
Robinson said partnerships with community agencies and universities are an important part of the apprenticeship process.
“It is important to have these different dynamics come together to know what kind of training opportunities are available and what is needed in our communities,” she said. “Instead of building cookie-cutter programs, these relationships enable us to build programs that are truly facilitating a need within our communities.”
Dr. Garner expects the program to continue to grow over the course of the grant, and also believe these types of partnerships are key to its success.
“This is a great opportunity to work with the Alabama Office of Apprenticeships, and it is an awesome opportunity to continue to expand our relationship with The Wellness Coalition. The College of Health and Human Services, the School of Nursing and the School of Social Work here at Troy University have a wonderful working relationship with these partners and the future is very bright for that to continue to grow.”
For additional information about the Community Health Worker program, visit www.troy.edu/communityhealth.