Help Your Community
Community Health Worker
Free training is available to launch your career in community health work or health navigation.
Training plans to fit your schedule
On-the-job experience provided
Funds available to offset costs while in training
Job placement assistance
Community health workers (CHWs) are trusted messengers who connect individuals to health care and other services. CHWs work to address health disparities, particularly in communities most impacted by social, economic and environmental injustice.
Join this dynamic workforce by building your skills in topics such as community outreach and engagement, communication and cultural responsiveness.
Training plans are flexible to meet the needs of working participants and have in-person, online and self-paced options. Once you complete training, you will be matched with an employer for an internship. Opportunities for earning college credit are available.
Community health workers are employed in many different types settings. These include medical and healthcare facilities, public health agencies, community organizations and services, and schools, among others. To prepare trainees for work in this dynamic field, the training program includes both community skills and navigation skills.
CHW skills for community engagement include community assessment, facilitation skills, outreach, CHW ethics and values, and cultural mediation skills.
Navigation skills for reducing barriers to care include connecting clients to resources, professional boundaries, coaching on behavior change, communication skills, and team-based care coordination.
Participants who enroll in the full training program will be eligible to receive a $1,000 stipend to offset costs while in training.
Are you interested in an apprenticeship as a CHW? Apprenticeships are paid, 1-year placements where you do your training and on-the-job experience at the same time. Our partners at Trailhead Institute will help find you an opportunity that is a good fit.
Apprenticeships for this CHW training program are managed by Trailhead Institute’s Colorado Public Health Works program.
This program is a groundbreaking AmeriCorps Apprenticeship program providing career entry into the field of public health from local communities throughout Colorado. Through the Colorado Public Health Works program, AmeriCorps members will serve in regions throughout the state and many will simultaneously pursue certification as a Community Health Worker through a U.S. Department of Labor registered apprenticeship designed to increase the capacity of local public health agencies.
Interested in an apprenticeship? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this interest form.
Learn more here.
Employers: Help grow this vital workforce
Sites are needed to host and mentor CHW trainees for on-the- job learning.
Support your agency's work by hosting trained CHWs
Better serve your clients or patients
Help recruit and retain CHWs in the field by providing access to career development, mentorship and educational pathways. Employers will host trainees for an internship (approximately 120 hours) or one-year paid apprenticeship, with additional opportunities to offer job placement. Basic guidance on mentoring, supervising and utilizing CHWs within the scope of practice will be provided.
Interested in hosting a CHW at your organization?
Potential Trainees, Start Here
Want to find out if training to become a CHW is a good fit for you? You are eligible if you live in Colorado, are at least 18 year old, have a high school diploma or GED and are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Explore our FAQs section, and fill out the interest form. A member of our team will be in touch with more information.
Program details and FAQs
What is a community health worker?
According to the American Public Health Association, a community health worker (CHW) is “a frontline public health workerwho isa trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the communityserved. This trusting relationship enables the worker to serve as a liaison/link/intermediarybetween health/social services and the community to facilitate access to servicesand improvethe quality and cultural competence of service delivery. A community health worker also buildsindividual and community capacity by increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency througha range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support,and advocacy.”
What type of work do CHWs do?
CHWs work to address health disparities, particularly in communities most impacted by social, economic and environmental injustice. CHWs are employed in many different types of industries and settings. These include medical and healthcare facilities, public health agencies, community organizations and services, and schools, among others. Due to the variety of settings a CHW may work in, their roles can vary. Common roles and duties of CHWs include:
- Provide health education to clients on topics such as chronic disease prevention and management, physical activity, and nutrition
- Encourage participation in preventive healthcare services, such as health screenings and vaccinations
- Assist individuals with eligibility and enrollment in health insurance and other healthcare and social services programs, such as SNAP and WIC.
- Provide access to resources to help ensure individuals receive the care and services they need, such as food, transportation, and housing
Are there other names for CHW roles?
Yes, community health worker is considered an broad umbrella term to describe a variety of similar positions with many job titles. Each setting and organization where CHWs work may define the roles and duties of a CHW slightly differently. Some of the other names for those who are part of the CHW workforce include, but are not limited to:
- Patient Navigators
- Health Navigators
- Peer Support Specialists
- Health Education Specialists
- Promotores de Salud
What are the key competencies of a community health worker addressed by the training program?
Competencies include patient/client advocacy, communication skills, promoting healthy lifestyles, individual and community assessment, health insurance basics and professional boundaries.
Who is eligible for the CHW training program?
- Trainees need to live in Colorado, be at least 18 years of age and be a U.S. citizens or permanent resident
- Trainees must have a high school diploma or GED
- Trainees may be brand new to the CHW field or newly employed as a CHW but have not yet received formal training.
What is the time commitment for the training program?
Training coursework is about 100 hours, followed by an internship of about 120 hours. Coursework is typically a few hours per week. Training can be structured around your schedule, even if you are working full time. Training and internship must be completed within one year of enrolling in the program. Apprenticeships are 1-year commitments of full time work and are paid.
Can I learn at my own pace?
There will be some self-paced coursework you can complete at your own pace. Other coursework will be instructor led, meaning there will be weekly deadlines and scheduled sessions, either live on Zoom or in-person.
Can I take the program online?
Yes, the entire program can be taken online. In-person courses will also be scheduled in metro Denver.
What will be expected of me as a trainee?
- Provide data for HRSA reporting
- Complete 80% of coursework
- Complete course evaluations
- Participate in internship or apprenticeship
What is the difference between an internship and apprenticeship?
Internships are short-term (generally 120-135 hours) positions that may be unpaid or paid for hands-on learning and skills building among new trainees in the CHW field following completion of the full training curriculum. The training program will assist in matching trainees and employers to an internship opportunity that is a good fit.
Apprenticeships are paid, 1-year placements where you do your training and on-the-job experience at the same time, managed by our partners at Trailhead Institute and the State Apprenticeship Agency.
What are the costs required and payment available for participation in the training program as a trainee?
Trainees accepted to the training program will be able to participate in the required training courses for free. The training fee will be paid by the HRSA grant. Participants who enroll in the full training program will be eligible to receive a $1,000 stipend to offset costs while in training.
What are the benefits of enrolling in the training program?
- Receive comprehensive training in the foundations of community health work and related topics at no cost to you.
- Training plans are flexible to meet the needs of working participants and have in-person, online and self-paced options.
- Participants who enroll in the full training program will receive a $1,000 stipend to offset costs while in training.
- All trainees will be expected to complete an “on-the-job” practical experience component through either an internship or an apprenticeship, in addition to completing the training curriculum.
- Following completion of the training program, you will be eligible to sit for the Colorado Health Navigator Registry Assessment (voluntary credentialing program)
Employers, Start Here
Interested in hosting a CHW at your organization? Host sites can include a variety of organizations and do not have to be health-focused.
Find out more by exploring our FAQs and fill out the interest form to speak with someone from our team.
Program details and FAQs
What is the difference between an internship and apprenticeship?
- All trainees will be expected to complete an “on-the-job” practical experience component through either an internship or an apprenticeship.
- Internships are short-term (generally 120-135 hours) positions that may be unpaid or paid for hands-on learning and skills building among new trainees in the CHW field following completion of the full training curriculum. The training program will assist in matching trainees and employers to an internship opportunity that is a good fit.
- Apprenticeships are paid, 1-year placements where you do your training and on-the-job experience at the same time, managed by our partners at Trailhead Institute and the State Apprenticeship Agency.
What are the benefits of hosting a CHW trainee for an internship or apprenticeship?
- Support your agency’s work by hosting trained CHWs who will have the opportunity to support your organization with implementing projects and services relevant to the CHW role.
- Diversify your workforce to better serve your clients or patients.
- Provide leadership opportunities to current employees, increasing their engagement as they mentor CHW trainees.
- Basic guidance on mentoring, supervising and utilizing CHWs within the scope of practice will be provided.
What are the requirements expected of employers to host an internship?
- The host agency must create a job description outlining the scope of work, duties, and responsibilities for the intern. The job description should directly link to the community health work competencies.
- Your site must be ready to involve the intern in activities of the agency or organization.
- You must define and implement organization-specific mentorship and training to ensure intern succeeds in their role and meets CHW competencies.
- You will be asked to complete an application and participation agreement outlining the roles and responsibilities of the host site and the trainee.
- Internship host sites will receive a $1,00o stipend to help cover costs associated with hosting an internship for a trainee.
- The internships are unpaid opportunities, or the host agency may choose to offer payment and/or benefits to the trainee.
- Host sites will be asked to provide a small amount of data for HRSA grant reporting.
What are the requirements and commitments expected of employers to host an apprenticeship?
Please see the Trailhead Institute website for detailed information about apprenticeships and to ask questions.
Colorado has received a grant to support the development of the community health workforce (CHWs) from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This effort is led by Trailhead Institute, the Patient Navigation and Community Health Worker Training (PNCT) and The Alliance of Colorado Community Health Workers, Patient Navigators and Promotores de Salud (The Alliance).
The contents of this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.