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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 year of the program includes two core Community Health Worker classes across two consecutive semesters at HCC. Tuition is free and paid for by the grant. 

  • Semester 1: Health 124-Core Competencies & Health Topics for CHW (6 credits). This course requires 6 hours per week of class time in addition to homework. (HTH 124 meets the requirements of the Community Health Worker state licensure classroom component)
  • Semester 2: Health 209-Practicum for CHWs (3 credits). This course 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 includes content in behavioral health as well as substance use, misuse, and recovery interventions. These special topic areas build awareness and understanding in important work that affects families in our communities. 

Students will receive a $5,000 stipend during their participation in Level 1 training.

LEVEL 2: The second year of the program includes a registered apprenticeship at Behavioral Health Network in one of their children, youth, and family-serving programs. Upon completion of Level 1, students are eligible to apply for a full-time paid apprenticeship position at BHN. This offers a pathway into CHW employment.

Students 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!


  • High school diploma or GED/HiSET
  • Eligibility for college-level English (ENG 101). This can be done through completion of a placement test or copy of transcripts of college-level English coursework.
  • Ability to successfully complete a background check, drug screening, and health clearances.
  • Commitment to Level 1 (first year) and ability to do Level 2 (second year)
  • A valid driver's license and access to a personal vehicle is likely required for the apprenticeship positions at BHN
  • This is a Federal grant, therefore applicants are required to hold US citizenship or Permanent Resident status


If you are interested in more information about the program or want to know how to apply for entry into the Fall 2023 cohort, please fill out this interest form and we will get back to you as soon as possible!


Melanie Young
Program 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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