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Community Health Worker Advancement: A Research Summary

Geri Scott and Randall Wilson

Community health workers are essential to the U.S. public health system. They work in diverse settings and under myriad titles to improve access to health care for underserved populations using culturally appropriate methods. Despite their importance, community health workers are often not well rewarded, and their job tenure is unstable. Well-defined career paths are lacking, as are systematic skills sets and credentials recognized across work settings and usable for higher education.

With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, SkillWorks: Partners for a Productive Workforce asked JFF to recommend adaptations of the SkillWorks Workforce Partnership model in order to apply that approach to career advancement for community health workers. As the basis for these recommendations, JFF conducted research on the challenges to and national best practices for the advancement of community health workers.