Perspectives on Workforce Development Needs for Community Health Workers (CHWs): Results from a Statewide Survey of CHW Employers

J Community Health. 2021 Oct;46(5):1020-1028. doi: 10.1007/s10900-021-00986-1. Epub 2021 Apr 13.


We conducted a survey of community health worker (CHW) employers in Texas to understand the employment context and workforce development needs of Texas CHWs. An electronic, mixed-methods survey was emailed to 841 CHW employers across Texas in Spring 2020. The survey consisted of 51 questions. The response rate was 22% (n = 182). Responses were analyzed using SPSS, Microsoft Excel, and N.Vivo. We found that most CHW employers directly employ their CHWs, and CHWs are typically part of a multidisciplinary healthcare team. Most respondents required their CHWs be certified by the state's health department and have at least a high school diploma or GED. The most common services that CHWs provide are health education/promotion and information referral. The main health issues that CHWs address are diabetes, hypertension, and mental/behavioral health. Current CHW workforce development needs include continued training on topics including chronic disease self-management and health promotion. CHW employers differ in their capacity to implement workforce development activities. There is significant variety in the employment context and workforce development needs of CHWs across Texas. Results reinforce previous findings on the need for specialized, continuing training for CHWs and the development of pathways, resources, and opportunities that could advance the CHW profession even more. These results can inform those interested in employing CHWs in their CHW program development. Findings from this study can be used to guide development of tailored curriculum for continuing education units, specialized certifications, or other professional development resources for CHWs.

Keywords: Community health workers; Employee engagement; Promotores de salud; Workforce development.

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Workers*
  • Humans
  • Program Development
  • Staff Development*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workforce