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Courses & Programs

Community Health Worker Apprenticeship Program

Are you interested in:

  • Supporting the health of people in our community?
  • Helping children, youth, and families that have been impacted by substance use?
  • Building your professional public health skills and beginning a career as a Community Health Worker?

Holyoke Community College has a federal grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration's (HRSA) Opioid Impacted Families Support Program that is funding this apprenticeship program. In partnership with Behavioral Health Network, HCC is offering free CHW pre-apprenticeship training courses followed by a paid registered apprenticeship job at Behavioral Health Network in one of their family-serving programs. This is a two-year program that offers entry into employment as a Community Health Worker.


LEVEL 1: The first part of the program entails a pre-apprenticeship training at HCC. Students take two core Community Health Worker classes across two consecutive semesters. Tuition is free and paid for by the grant. 

  • Semester 1: Health 124-Core Competencies & Health Topics for CHW (6 credits). This class requires 6 hours per week of class time in addition to homework.
  • Semester 2: Health 209-Practicum for CHWs (3 credits). This class requires 2 hours per week of class time and a 125 hours practicum placement at Behavioral Health Network.

These courses prepare individuals with the foundational CHW skills and knowledge, focused in the 10 core competencies set by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The curriculum also studies behavioral health and substance abuse, which builds awareness and understanding in important areas that affect families in our communities.

Student will receive a $5,000 stipend during their participation in the two CHW classes.

LEVEL 2: The second part of the program entails a registered apprenticeship at Behavioral Health Network in one of their children, youth, and family-serving programs. Upon completion of Level 1, students will need to apply to the apprenticeship at BHN. There will be a limited number of spots available. Apprentices will need to complete BHN's HR onboarding process. They will be placed in a full time paid position in one of BHN's family-serving programs in Hampden or Hampshire Counties. This offers a clear entry into CHW employment.

The registered apprenticeship requires 2,000 hours to be completed within one year. Upon completion of the registered apprenticeship, students will receive a certificate of completion from the State of Massachusetts. Employment at BHN may be able to continue beyond the one-year apprenticeship and is conditional on the employer's policies. The registered apprenticeship position will likely require a driver's license and access to a vehicle to do work in the community.

Student will receive a $7,500 stipend during their participation in the registered apprenticeship.

To view an overview of the pathway through the program, please click here.


Community Health Workers (CHWs) play crucial roles in promoting and supporting the health of individuals, families, and communities. They are frontline public health workers who are trusted members of and/or have close understanding of the communities they serve. This relationship allows them to be a link between health/social services and the community, to facilitate access to services, and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. CHWs build trusting relationships with their clients and help to conduct assessments, make referrals, offer health education, navigate complicated systems, and advocate for client’s needs. For more information about CHWs and what they do, check out the videos at the bottom of this page!


Registration for September 2022 is now closed. Please check this page in November 2022 for information on how to apply to the Fall 2023 term.

  • High school diploma or GED/HiSET
  • Application and acceptance into HCC
  • Eligibility for college-level English (ENG 101). This can be done through completion of placement test or copy of transcripts of college-level English coursework.
  • Successful completion of HCC's CORI/SORI process prior to class registration
  • Interest in and willingness to commit to completing both Level 1 and Level 2 within two years
  • A valid driver's license and access to your own vehicle may be required for some positions for the Registered Apprenticeship

Tina Tartaglia
Project Coordinator


This program is supported by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award. The contents 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.

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