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CHW Apprenticeship Program Responds to Workforce Need

Remotely hosted training program, designed with Hostos, underway with two partners.

After a year of development, the newly-launched MHVC training program for Community Health Worker (CHW) apprentices is underway at two partner sites and is proving to be a viable template for future MHVC workforce training programs. Maria Gerena, MHVC Workforce Development Manager, credits MHVC partners with defining workforce needs and being open to the apprenticeship model. “We learned from our extensive partner outreach that there was a great need for staff training in community health, education, and outreach, and for increasing competencies in general. We began to research available training programs, and discovered that Hostos’s comprehensive program was a great fit for our partners.”

In September 2017, Gerena attended an informational session on the CHW apprenticeship at Hostos Community College. “Hostos was looking for employers to participate in the program, and we knew that our partners could benefit from this great opportunity,” said Gerena. MHVC connected with Evelyn Fernandez-Ketcham, Executive Director of Workforce Development at Hostos, to map out a strategy for tailoring the Hostos curriculum to meet MHVC partner needs. “We facilitated meetings with Hostos and MHVC partners so partners could provide input on the curriculum and learning platform, schedule, target participants, and other program logistics. We worked extensively with Hostos to incorporate the feedback and develop a program tailored to our partners’ needs.”

The CHW Apprenticeship at Hostos is a two-year training program that includes classroom instruction and on-the-job training (OJT). The apprenticeship is grant funded, so there is no tuition cost for the employer or apprentice. Apprentices who successfully complete the program will receive a certificate of completion and can earn up to nine credits that may be applied to an associates degree at Hostos Community College. MHVC also facilitated an agreement with SUNY Orange to accept the credits earned in the program.

“This program was developed for incumbent full-time staff, so we wanted to use a flexible class schedule, leverage technology, and have it delivered remotely. We worked with Hostos on using technology to bring the classroom into the Hudson Valley,” continued Gerena. “We decided to use Google Hangouts and Google Classroom, and we helped Hostos repackage their program so it could be delivered seamlessly from the Bronx to our partner sites.”

The two-year program was launched August 21 with two partners, Human Development Services of Westchester (HDSW) and Access: Supports for Living (Access). HDSW identified two full-time employees for the apprentice program; Access has nine. As part of the program, both sites have committed to having internal coaches and supervisors.

“MHVC and Hostos transformed this CHW program into a unique training opportunity for our partners,” said Gerena. “We had such a good experience working with Hostos that we are exploring how to adapt their medical technician curriculum for a future training program.”

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