Bolstering Florida’s CHW Workforce: Strategy and Resources

With the support of federal workforce development grants totaling over $14.6M since 2020, CommHIT has been transforming the community health workforce.

These transformations focus on expanding the use of technology, increasing digital literacy, teaching cybersecurity best practices, and creating a skilled community health workforce that has knowledge in navigating the technology and social aspects of the healthcare system in rural, underserved, and otherwise remote areas—day-to-day and in public health emergencies.

With the support of a $1.5M Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Rural Public Health Workforce Training Network grant, CommHIT’s Community Connected Care Workforce Program (C3w+) embodies the vision for these transformations, by providing training and credentials to upskill current and potential workers and helping rural health organizations and EMS agencies serving rural areas address workforce shortages, aiding in the development of health technology, and community paramedicine-mobile integrated health (CP-MIH). A key priority is working with the Florida Community Health Worker Coalition to substantially increase the numbers of certified Community Health Workers (CHWs) across the State of Florida that receive specialized training to help rural Floridians with digital literacy and digital health.

The C3w+ program is comprised of two intertwined state networks, which are the Tech Zone and CP Zone. Tech Zone’s target audience is Florida rural hospitals and safety net facilities and provide participants with a tech apprenticeship to bolster their digital security skills, hence improving the security of the facility. CP targets community workers and rural EMS agencies, and develops digital literacy for these participants through training programs, and the tech based CHW curriculum- CHW-T. The CHW-T core training is 20 hours and teaches the trainees how to teach clients to use devices and the Internet comfortably, how to protect against falling into cyber traps, telehealth/remote monitoring, patient portals, trauma-based communications and oncology navigation, and Medicaid Transportation Assistance as part of general mobility management. Upon trainees’ completion of the program, CommHIT assists trainees with completing the application for certification, providing study materials, and providing financial compensation for the trainees to take the certification exam free of cost. In addition to this, CommHIT requires trainees to take a 4-hour digital literacy course built just for those who need to teach digital literacy in their communities. This training is entitled Byte Back’s Digital Navigator Training. In this training, CHW-Ts learn email essentials, how to protect themselves in an online environment, navigating Microsoft windows, and other helpful skills that are imperative to the success of the CHW, and mostly importantly, the clients’ management and improvement of their own health and wellness.

CommHIT is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life and advocating for Florida’s rural residents through workforce development and training. Participating in the networks offered under the C3w+ umbrella creates career opportunities in computer and network support, Cyber

First Responder, Telehealth Program Director/Navigator, CHW, EMT, Paramedic, and Certified Community Paramedic.

If you are interested in participating in C3w+ as an organization or trainee or other initiatives that CommHIT has created to help Floridians achieve today’s advanced workplace, CommHIT invites you to attend the CommHIT23 Summit on September 28, 2023. Please find information for registration and sponsorship opportunities here: FRHA members may use this code to receive 10% off the ticket price: FRHA10.