To help meet the need for community healthcare workers in the state, Missouri managed care provider Healthy Blue will fund scholarships for 12 students to complete the Community Healthcare Worker course through Ozarks Technical Community College. Students who begin the class this semester are eligible for the scholarship. The Community Healthcare Worker course starts on Wednesday, Jan. 19, and lasts 16 weeks. The class meets every Wednesday from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Students in rural communities have the option for remote learning via video conferencing.
The scholarship totals $1,595 per student and covers the cost of tuition and all supplies. To be eligible for the program, a prospective student must be at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or equivalent.
“We’ve established this healthcare scholarship opportunity to remove financial barriers and allow students to focus on reaching their education and career goals creating a straight path to success,” said Jeff Davis, Healthy Blue Missouri President. “Healthy Blue continues to invest and work with our community partners to find innovative solutions that address the ongoing need for more healthcare professionals across the state. We are grateful to work with OTC to deliver on our mission of improving lives and communities and most importantly, strengthening our healthcare workforce.”
Community healthcare workers (CHWs) are part of a community-centered approach to bridge gaps in the health care system. CHWs typically come from the communities they serve and are a vital link between communities and systems of care to lower health disparities through access to services, improved cultural competence, effective methods for chronic disease management, and increased health knowledge and self-sufficiency of underserved populations.
“Over the last two years, we have seen the importance of having accurate health information from trusted sources,” said Payree Short, OTC community healthcare worker instructor. “CHWs are a part of the communities they serve, so they establish trust to share life-saving and life-extending health information effectively.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nationally, the demand for community healthcare workers will grow by 21% between 2020 and 2030.