Community Health Worker HUB 

The Community Health Worker HUB is Austin Public Health’s new center to train, support and supply opportunities for Community Health Workers.  

If you are a Community Health Worker and want to be invited to HUB activities including continuing education, please sign up here

Community Health Worker Training Program  

Austin Public Health is training interested community members to become certified Community Health Workers (CHWs). CHWs (also known as promotores de salud) are vital members of the public health community. CHWs specialize in community outreach and advocacy. CHW certification is provided at no charge through the Department of State Health Services

City of Austin is hosting its first 160-hour training program this summer free to attendees. The classes filled up fast, and we currently have a waitlist. The next course will be in the fall. If you want to attend now or in the future, please register at this link
 
If you have any questions, please email us at APH-CHWHUB@austintexas.gov or call 512-972-6139

About Community Health Workers 

What do Community Health Workers do? 

A community health worker is a frontline public health worker. They serve as a bridge between their community and the government, the health care industry and social service systems. They use outreach, community education, counseling, and social advocacy to increase public health knowledge. They work in all geographic settings but are most often found in underprivileged and marginalized communities where the people lack access to affordable and quality health care. They often serve in communities that have similar values, ethnic backgrounds and socio-economic status to how they were brought up. Examples of how CHWs help communities access resources include: 

  • Educating individuals on health issues and teaching them strategies to improve their well-being. 
  • Giving educational presentations in schools and speaking with children, parents and teachers. 
  • Helping people learn how to find and access resources like quality care and health information, health insurance, housing or food. 
  • Putting communities in contact with health care or social services. 
  • Giving health screenings and referrals. 
  • Helping people complete applications for insurance or health services. 
  • Facilitating communication during interactions with health care or social service systems. 
  • Interpreting and translating between health care services providers and patients. 
  • Collecting data and reporting findings to healthcare providers. 
  • Driving patients to their medical appointments. 
  • Giving first aid and health services like blood pressure monitoring.  

Why are Community Health Workers so important to the community? 

Among the known outcomes of CHWs’ service are the following: 

  • Improved access to health care services. 
  • Increased health and screening. 
  • Better understanding between community members and the health and social service system. 
  • Enhanced communication between community members and health providers. 
  • Increased use of health care services. 
  • Improved adherence to health recommendations. 
  • Reduced need for emergency and specialty services.  

Why is certification important?  

  • The State of Texas acknowledges that promotores(as) or community health workers (CHWs) are an effective workforce in the community.  
  • Certification brings recognition to promotores(as) or community health workers for their work in their communities.  
  • Certification recognizes the promotor(a) or CHW’s diverse skills, including language translation. 
  • Certification acknowledges promotor(a) or CHW training and work experience.  
  • Certification increases employment opportunities.  
  • Certification can help build self-esteem and self-worth.  
  • Certification can further career goals.  
  • Certification can help develop job market opportunities for paid employment and more respect for the work of promotores(as) or CHWs.  
  • Certification can increase opportunities for further formal education.

Where do Community Health Workers work? 

There are many work settings for Community Health Workers, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, clinics, hospitals, schools, churches. Other possible job titles include family advocate, promoter, public health aide, health coach, peer counselor, community health advisor, health interpreter, health educator, liaison, patient navigator and outreach worker. 

FAQs 

How much does the training cost? 

Currently, the City of Austin is offering Community Health Worker training free to community members. 

 

How many people can register? 

Austin Public Health plans to have about 20 people per class. This summer, there will be 40 total. 

 

Who is eligible? 

Anyone 16 and up from the greater Austin area who can attend in-person activities can register. We will register community members on a first-come, first-served basis. 

 

Will you need my social security number, date of birth, etc? 

We only need your name, email and phone number. We do not need your identification. 

 

Can I sign up by phone? 

Sure! Call the HUB at 512-972-6139

 

What will the CHW training cover? 

Community Health Worker training covers the 8 core competencies of community health work: 

  1. Communication 
  2. Interpersonal Skills 
  3. Service Coordination Skills 
  4. Capacity-Building Skills 
  5. Advocacy Skills 
  6. Teaching Skills 
  7. Organizational Skills  
  8. Knowledge Base on Specific Health Issues 

 

Will there be homework? 

In addition to the 5 hours of classroom time each week, Community Health Worker trainees will have to complete 6-9 hours of hands-on activities and a small amount of homework or journaling each week. Hands-on activities will include practicing skills at work, school, or in faith-based settings. Trainees may volunteer with community partners or shadow Austin Public Health Community Health Workers. Total time commitment for the training program is 160 hours.  

 

Do I need to bring anything to class? 

If you are taking the class online, you will need access to the internet and a computer or tablet. 

If you are taking the in-person class, you will need to bring a pen or pencil and paper for notes. Other materials will be provided. 

 

Who will teach the course? 

The training course will be taught by DSHS-certified CHW Instructors who work for Austin Public Health. 

 

Do I have to attend every class? 

Yes, all 160 hours must be completed to graduate and be eligible for certification by DSHS. 

 

What if I miss a class? 

Since DSHS requires 20 hours in 8 competencies, if you will miss a class, planning ahead is best. You can attend the same class when it’s offered at a different time. Otherwise, the missed class can be made up when that class is offered again in the fall. 

 

What are some examples of hands-on activities? 

Hands-on activities are designed to apply the training to your life. Most activities will be ones you can complete during work or volunteering, such as practicing professional speaking. 

 

Will the class be offered in any other languages? 

For the first class, we are only in English, but we plan to teach in other languages in the future. 

 

Will ASL interpretation be available? 

Online classes will be held via Zoom with closed caption available, and a sign language interpreter can be requested for in-person training. 

 

Will there be more classes later? 

City of Austin plans to host more classes in the fall, but they are not scheduled yet. Please complete registration to let us know how to reach you and what day works best for you. 

 

What happens after graduation? 

After you complete the entire course, we will celebrate! Then you apply for certification on the Department of State Health Services website. According to their website, your application will be processed within 90 days. To keep certified, you must complete continuing education classes (CEUs). We will offer CEUs as well, so we will let you know when they are scheduled. 

 

Will I be hired by the City of Austin after training? 

Austin Public Health often hires Community Health Workers. However, training with Austin Public Health does not guarantee a job with the city. Please search current postings at Austin City Jobs

 

Will the City of Austin help me find a job after training? 

Austin Public Health cannot promise help with future employment, but we will mail you about job and training opportunities. Also, friendships made during training can give you a professional network as you grow your career.