Community Health Worker

Graduates from the 2022 class of Community Health Worker Program participants.
City Colleges of Chicago, Richard J. Daley College
Academic Level
Issue Area
Key Personnel
Program Focus
Bilingual /ESL


The Community Health Worker Program at the Arturo Velasquez Institute (CHW) aims to provide a pathway for Latino adult learners to earn a credential that allows them to enter the workforce and serve as a leader and resource to their community in the Southwest side of Chicago. The program hopes their students bring a level of expertise and trust to their communities in order to increase the general level of health knowledge and access to trusted information sources within the community.

Program Description

This program originated through a proposal from their community partner, Enlace Chicago, who suggested a bilingual/Spanish-language Community Health Worker program after Enlace made an investment in hiring promotoras. These promotoras were credentialed in their home country but lacked a credential in the US. After approval from the Illinois Committee College Board, its first cohort began in Spring 2020. Recruitment sessions are offered throughout the city and conducted in Spanish. Students complete workshops covering the entry process including college applications, the student portal, preparing for the English placement test, and financial aid. After meeting with an academic advisor, students register for courses and begin study. Books used in the program are available to use at no cost at the library.


Eliminating financial barriers is a high priority for the college and its community partners. The first three cohorts, plus its two in-progress cohorts, have served students that only identify as Latino. They have a retention and completion rate of 95%. Of the three cohorts who have completed the program:

  • Almost all students received financial support through the City Colleges of Chicago‚Äôs Gateway Scholarship (covering 50% of tuition) or the Future Ready Initiative that covers 100% of tuition.
  • Additionally, 26 of the 41 also received an additional PAES Scholarship through Enlace Chicago to cover their remaining balances.
  • Over 90% have transitioned from the Adult Education program to college credit coursework.

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