Berkshire Community College has announced that its Community Health Worker non-credit certificate program is the first to be officially approved by the Massachusetts Board of Certification of Community Health Workers in Massachusetts.

Completing an approved CHW training program is a requirement of becoming a certified community health worker in the Commonwealth.

BCC’s CHW program provides training for public health workers to serve as advocates and liaisons between traditionally underserved populations and health/social service providers. The program is based on interactive training and experiential learning in 10 core competencies for community health workers in Massachusetts.

In addition, BCC's CHW program focuses on topics essential to community health work in Berkshire County, including chronic diseases, sexually transmitted infections, substance abuse, reproductive health issues, domestic violence, mental health, trauma, physical disabilities, and other relevant topics.

The program also addresses community health work in emergency and disaster situations, and participants will learn the basics of contact tracing for preventing the spread of infectious diseases.

The introductory cohort, which began Sept. 2, is full to capacity at 16 participants, most of whom represent a variety of Berkshire County nonprofits, health care practices and other organizations.

The program includes 42 hours of face-to-face instruction at BCC, 42 hours of asynchronous online instruction, and 10 hours of fieldwork at local community health organizations. A primary instructor and a co-instructor, who is a certified community health worker, teach the classes.

Total tuition for the program is $1,545 per student, but fall 2021 tuition has been waived though Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) funding.

Jeannie Maschino can be reached at 413-496-6256 or jmaschino@berkshireeagle.com.

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989.