Vital Liaisons

Cabrillo College Community Health Worker

Program Prepares Students for

High-Demand Careers 

Often serving as critical liaisons between their community and health organizations, Community Health Workers (CHWs) are trusted frontline health workers that empower and build healthier communities with education, resources, and culturally relevant programs. CHWs get to the heart of local health needs, then provide the knowledge and resources to help people live healthier lives. 

Community Health Workers (CHWs) provide a wide range of services, including health outreach and education, client-centered counseling and case management, and client and community-based advocacy. They work to reduce unequal rates of illness and death between different communities and to promote health equity or justice, prioritizing communities with the greatest health risks. READ MORE

Launched in Spring 2019, Cabrillo College’s CHW program has been developed in close collaboration with community-based organizations and the healthcare industry, and about 26 students have completed the CHW certificate of achievement, said Health Science Instructor Adrienne Saxton. Cabrillo’s community health workers are making a difference at the Monterey County Health Department, Salud Para La Gente, Second Harvest Food Bank, Monarch Services, CCA, Reiter Inc., and other organizations. They have supported the COVID-19 response by performing contact tracing and investigation said Saxton, and are excited to be part of the vaccination solution: “Monterey County was awarded funding to hire 100 CHWs to support the COVID-19 response. The opportunity is awesome and Cabrillo is prepared to meet the demand!” 

“Evidence shows that when CHWs are engaged in communities, populations suffer less chronic disease and reduce emergency room visits,” said Saxton. “It is imperative that CHWs become a profession recognized in our region so that our communities can achieve greater well-being.”

And it’s an occupation with a strong career outlook: Job opportunities are expanding for these front line health professionals, with the majority of growth being in public health departments and community-based organizations, such as Central Coast YMCA, Hospice Santa Cruz, Natividad, and Santa Cruz Health Centers.

The 10-year predicted growth in the number of CHW jobs in Santa Cruz County is 25%, a strong indicator that the sector is growing.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a CHW in California has a median salary of $47,150, or $22.67/hour. The Santa Cruz County outlook is similar, with a median of $45,277, or $21.77/hour. Click here to view more information about Community Health Workers in the tri-county region on Monterey Bay Career Coach.

Cabrillo College’s Community Health Worker (CHW) Program trains and certifies students to work in the fields of public health, health care, and social services and is a good entry point for career advancement in this field. Students can earn a Certificate of Achievement in as few as two semesters: Registration is underway for two Spring 2021 courses, which start on Jan. 25: Intro to Community Health Work (HS-130-01) and Community Health Worker Skills (HS-131-01). Learn more