HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Holyoke Community College is offering a free Community Health Worker (CHW) training and apprenticeship program beginning in September.

The focus of the training is to increase the number of CHWs qualified to help children and families affected by opioid use. 

“The HCC Community Health Worker Apprenticeship Program is an initiative that offers free training for people interested in pursuing community health and human services,” said Tina Tartaglia, CHW project coordinator. “There is a specific focus on teaching students how to support children and families affected by opioid use and substance use disorders. Students with lived experience are encouraged to apply.”

For the first year, students will meet in person for classes at HCC and will be involved in supervised field work experience at Behavioral Health Network in Holyoke. Then, students can apply for a full-time, paid apprenticeship placement – the first of its kind in western Massachusetts according to HCC.

For more information in the program and to apply, use this link to the HCC website.

The program is funded by a $1.89 million 4-year federal grant HCC received in 2020 from the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA). The grant provides stipends to students as incentives to complete the program and seek employment in the field. Students who enter an apprenticeship after they finish training are eligible for an additional annual stipend of $7,500.