Community Health Worker Academy

Academy Mission

To advance population health, health equity, and community development by increasing and enhancing the Community Health Worker (CHW) workforce and their involvement as core members of integrated care teams in healthcare, managed care, public health, and community-based agencies.  

Academy Operations

The Academy actively engages with a network of agencies that employ CHWs, agencies that are seeking to augment their existing CHW workforce, agencies that have current employees performing CHW-type roles but under different job titles, as well as individuals seeking employment as CHWs to provide its foundation CHW program (official Michigan CHW certification, advanced professional development and continuing education, and experiential field placements). Beyond the Academy’s foundational program designed to expand and enhance the NEW CHW workforce, the Academy also offers a diverse array of additional services and supports for CHWs, CHW employers, CHW stakeholders, and industry leaders.

  • C3 – The Community Health Worker Core Consensus Project

    The foundation of the WSU Community Health Worker Academy is advancing the expansion, effectiveness, and work CHW Core Consensus Projectenvironments of the CHW workforce in alignment with the national C3 – Community Health Worker Core Consensus Project. Finalized in 2022, the multi-constituent C3 Project Team codified the Core Roles and Skill Competencies of CHWs, which now serve as the guiding principles of the profession and provides guidance for the diverse network of organizations that employ them.

    C3 Project CHW Roles and Competencies Review Checklist

    C3-Core CHW Roles C3-Core CHW Skill Competencies
    Cultural Mediation Among Individuals, Communities, and Health and Social Service Systems Communication Skills
    Providing Culturally Appropriate Health Education and Information Interpersonal and Relationship-Building Skills
    Care Coordination, Case Management, and System Navigation Service Coordination and Navigation Skills
    Providing Coaching and Social Support Capacity Building Skills
    Advocating for Individuals and Communities Advocacy Skills
    Building Individual and Community Capacity Education and Facilitation Skills
    Providing Direct Services Individual and Community Assessment Skills
    Implementing Individual and Community Assessments Outreach Skills
    Conducting Outreach Professional Skills and Conduct
    Participating in Evaluation and Research Evaluation and Research Skills
      Knowledge Base
  • The Academy’s Foundational Program

    The Academy’s foundational program contains three core components that new Community Health Workers complete:

    Community health WorkerCHW Certification

    • The official National Community Health Worker certification program, that consists of twelve, 8-hour training sessions conducted live via Zoom or Teams.

    Advanced Professional Development Courses and/or Specialized Certificates

    • 24 hours of advanced professional development courses and/or Specialized Certificates from the Academy’s Education Catalog.

    Field Placements

    • Either a one-year paid U.S. Department of Labor registered apprenticeship OR a 400-hour (paid or unpaid) internship in a healthcare, managed care, or public health-related agency engaging in work that aligns with the C3 CHW Core Roles and Skill Competencies.
  • Professional Credentials Acquired Through the Academy’s Foundational Program
    • Official CHW Certification
    • Professional Credentials Acquired through the CHWMental Health First Aid Certification
    • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Certification
    • Certificates of Completion and official transcripts for all individual courses/trainings and/or Specialized Certificates completed through the Academy’s Education Catalog (there are no restrictions regarding the quantity of additional professional credentials that trainees are allowed to earn through the Education Catalog)
    • U.S. Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship Certificates of Completion (as applicable)
    • Official Wayne State University Community Health Worker Academy Certificate of Completion
  • Financial Support

    Financial SupportTo support CHW trainees and the agencies that employ them, the Academy routinely acquires funding from a range of sources to help support CHWs to successfully complete the Academy’s foundational program. Based on funding availability, some of the supports the Academy can offer include coverage of the required CHW certification fees, all the required curriculum materials, unlimited access to the Academy’s Education Catalog, and financial assistance.

  • Program Eligibility and Participation Requirements
    • CHW trainees must be at least 18 years of age.
    • Trainees must have a High School Diploma or GED equivalent (individuals with advanced higher education degrees or professional credentials, including Bachelor’s, Master’s, Ph.Ds., MDs, JDs, and/or state-sanctioned professional licensures, etc. are prohibited from participating in the Academy program, unless under extenuating circumstances).
    • Program Eligibility imageTrainees must intend to seek employment as a CHW or related health services worker either during or shortly after completing the Academy program at an agency whose services involve healthcare, managed care, and/or public health and offer work tasks that are consistent with the C3 CHW Core Roles and Skill Competencies.
    • Trainees must complete their apprenticeship or internship field placements at agencies that are capable of assigning qualified CHW mentors/supervisors who agree to provide professional guidance to CHW trainees for the duration of their field placements and ensure they complete all of the field placement requirements.
    • CHW supervisors and other agency leaders are prohibited from participating in the Academy program. 
    • Trainees who begin the Academy program on the apprenticeship track are prohibited from transferring into the internship track at any point during the program.
    • Trainees, whether participating as apprentices or interns, must complete the entire program at the agency that agreed to hire/host them for their field placements (i.e., apprenticeships or internships). Trainees who leave the agencies where they began their field placements cannot transfer to a different agency to complete their field placements.
    • Trainees must have access to a desktop or laptop computer (not a tablet computer or smartphone), reliable Wi-Fi service, and the technology skills to use email, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other basic skills (pre-enrollment training in basic technology skills is available as needed).
    • During apprenticeship and internship field placements, CHW trainees must maintain an up-to-date virtual work log that indicates the number of hours they worked and the types of work they completed during each week. Paid-time-off (e.g., vacations, sick days, holidays, personal leave, etc.) may count toward the minimum number of hours required for the field placements.
    • CHW trainees AND their supervisors/mentors are required to complete evaluations at the mid-point and end of the trainees’ field placements to assess CHW development and professionalism.
    • CHW trainees, the agencies that agree to employ or host unpaid CHW trainees, and CHW supervisors/mentors are required to complete official Letters of Agreement prior to the start of the program.
    • The Academy cannot accept CHW trainees who have active arrest warrants, are currently involved in criminal prosecutions, or have felony convictions. Individuals who have had misdemeanor convictions are considered for participation on a case-by-case basis. Potential trainees may either obtain and submit a criminal background check or have their employer provide verification that a successful background check was completed within the previous three years.
  • Additional Academy Services

    Beyond the Academy’s foundational training program for new CHWs, the Academy also offers a diverse array of additional services and supports for CHWs, CHW employers, CHW stakeholders, and industry leaders. Some of the opportunities that Additional Academy Services imageare available include,

    • Professional development and enhanced credentialing to optimize CHW (and other healthcare and public health professionals) performance and career advancement through the Academy’s Education Catalog
    • Tailored development of additional professional development courses and Specialized Certificates requested by partners
    • Developing, hosting and/or administering and types of professional training courses, Specialized Certificates or newly branded Catalogs required by partners
    • Training for CHW supervisors and mentors
    • CHW job advertising, recruitment, conducting competence assessments, facilitating successful onboarding, and developing individualized education and professional development plans
    • Comprehensive project design, implementation, management, and evaluation
    • CHW employment, deployment, supervision and management
    • Grant writing, fund development, research and evaluation

Individuals Interesting in Becoming Community Health Workers 

Application Process
Agencies interested in any of the services offered through the Community Health Worker Academy should contact the Academy Leadership

Academy Leadership

Leadership Team Contact
Nate McCaughtry, Ph.D., Director
Cheryl Somers, Ph.D., Associate Director or 313-577-1670
Klea Kojku, Operations Manager
Noel Kulik, Ph.D., Faculty Associate
Holly Joseph, Master Trainer

General Information