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Workforce Learning Bundle

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This page provides resources related to each of eight workforce subtopics that together support the goals of HRSA’s Health Workforce Strategic Plan:

  1. Expand the health workforce to meet evolving community needs
  2. Improve the distribution of the health workforce to reduce shortages
  3. Enhance health care quality through professionals development, collaboration, and evidence-informed practice
  4. Develop and apply data and evidence to strengthen the health workforce

Using the Ready-Set-Go approach, you can:

  • Ready: Gain a background understanding of the changing workforce landscape.
  • Set: Learn about the workforce priority areas through a series of videos.
  • Go: Access workforce resources and tools in the Clearinghouse to adopt or adapt to meet the needs of your health center.

READY: Introduction to Workforce

The health center workforce is critical to providing access to quality, affordable health care for millions of Americans. However, the workforce faces a number of challenges, including:

  • Shortages of qualified providers: There is a shortage of health care providers in general, and this shortage is particularly acute in underserved communities.
  • High turnover: Health center workers often experience high turnover due to low salaries, burnout, and lack of opportunities for advancement.
  • Limited training and support: Health center workers often have limited access to training and support, which can make it difficult for them to provide high-quality care.

The topic areas below have been identified as critical to supporting the health center workforce; this learning bundle aims to provide information related to each topic area as a means to equip the workforce with the basic knowledge to dig deeper into additional resources collected by the Clearinghouse.

NTTAP Workforce Partners

The National Training and Technical Assistance Partners (NTTAPs) provide a deep understanding of health center workforce topics. Their efforts in workforce development are multifaceted and target specific needs including developing training programs, advancing recruitment and retention strategies, assisting in leadership development, and providing mentorship and coaching to health centers. Read more about these partners below:

  • Association of Clinicians for the Underserved's Star2 Center

    The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU) is a national nonprofit focused on the recruitment and retention of clinicians into all types of facilities in underserved communities. ACU works toward this mission through a combination of advocacy, resource development, training, and clinician support.

  • Community Health Center, Inc.

    CHC, Inc. is a private non-profit agency providing primary care and social services to all, particularly to those who cannot gain access to such services elsewhere. The Community Health Center, Inc. and Weitzman Institute, CHCI’s research and development arm, provides education, information, and training to interested health centers through the HRSA-funded NTTAP on Clinical Workforce Development.

  • National Association of Community Health Centers

    The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) was founded in 1971 to “promote efficient, high quality, comprehensive health care that is accessible, culturally and linguistically competent, community directed, and patient centered for all.” NACHC represents community health centers across the country with a special focus on workforce development, including leadership development.


SET: Learn Based on Workforce Priority Areas

1. Employee Well-Being

Start here with this introductory video:

Review this summary of the topic:

Employee well-being is essential for the effective functioning of community health centers. A healthy workforce is more productive, engaged, and compassionate in their work, and more likely to stay with their organizations.

Community health center employees face a number of challenges that can impact their well-being. High workloads, stressful work environments, and limited resources can contribute to burnout. Community health center leaders must take steps to promote employee well-being, such as creating a supportive work environment, investing in employee well-being programs, providing opportunities for professional development, and offering competitive salaries and benefits.

A supportive work environment can be created by promoting respectful communication, providing opportunities for feedback, and encouraging collaboration. Employee well-being programs can help employees manage stress, improve their physical health, and access mental health services. Professional development opportunities allow employees to grow and develop their skills, which can lead to increased job satisfaction and productivity. Finally, competitive salaries and benefits help community health centers attract and retain top talent.

Key Resources:

Dig deeper with these videos:

Move from knowledge to practice with these tools:

  • Creativity and Wellbeing: A Harmonious Union to Improve Health Centers' Organizational Culture of Employee Wellbeing - Session 1 (2024)

    Join the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU) STAR2; Center and the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) for a two-part webinar series exploring the role creativity plays in advancing employee well-being at health centers. The inclusion of art and other creative endeavors in the workplace can serve as a respite for the ongoing mental health struggles - such as moral distress, moral injury, and compassion fatigue - that remain prevalent among health center staff. This webinar series will explore the intersection of art and healing as a key aspect of building a resilient, empowered, and engaged workforce. It will also provide firsthand accounts from various health centers that embraced creativity as a key part of their organization’s culture of wellbeing. Engage your creative spirit!

  • Self-Care for the Health Center Workforce (2022)

    This publication aims to be a starting point for health center leadership and staff needing to better understand different techniques, tools, and practices for self-care and a guide to create systemic changes to support them.

  • Finding Your Passion at Work (2022)

    This module will explain how to rekindle or find new passion in your work. It emphasizes the importance of being mission driven and passionate about what you do, knowing your ambitions, and adopting a positive attitude, leading to improved satisfaction and engagement in your work.

2. Data, Tools and Dashboards

Start here with this introductory video:

Review this summary of the topic:

Data, tools, and dashboards play a critical role in supporting the community health center workforce.

  • Data can be used to understand the workforce's demographics, skills, and geographic distribution. It can also be used to track workforce trends, identify workforce shortages, and measure the impact of workforce programs.
  • Tools can be used to analyze data, develop workforce projections, and create workforce dashboards. They can also be used to support workforce planning, recruitment, retention, and development.
  • Dashboards provide a visual way to display data and trends, making it easier to identify problems and track progress over time. They can be used to communicate information to the workforce, stakeholders, and the public.

Dig deeper with these videos:

Move from knowledge to practice with these tools:

  • National Health Center Training and Technical Assistance Needs Assessment (2022)

    This report summarizes the key findings of the national training and technical assistance needs assessment fielded to all health centers August-October 2021. Response rate was 36% of all health centers and close to 1500 individual staff responses.

  • Brief Report: ROI Analysis of CHW Programs (2020)Despite mounting evidence of the positive impacts CHW programs can have, there is currently a lack of data relating these services to financial outcomes. One possible method to further evaluate and understand these programs’ economic impact is “Return on Investment” (ROI) analysis, which calculates the total benefit derived from each dollar invested in a program. While this type of analysis is rarely performed on CHW interventions, it has the potential to justify their value to a variety of stakeholders.

  • Report: The Financial Impact of Workforce (2018)

    This report covers the costs associated with a provider vacancy at a health center beyond the dollar value and provides recommendations for steps to bolster a plan for recruitment and retention to avoid these costs in the future.

3. Health Professions Education and Training (HP-ET)

Start here with this introductory video:

Review this summary of the topic:

Health Professions Education and Training (HP-ET) programs play an essential role in addressing the healthcare workforce shortage and ensuring that community health centers have access to a competent and confident qualified and well-trained workforce. These programs provide health professions students, trainees, and residents, and postgraduate residents with hands-on experience in CHCs, allowing them to develop the skills and competencies needed to provide culturally competent and high-quality primary care to underserved communities.

Real-world exposure to the challenges and rewards of working in CHCs can also inspire students to pursue careers in these settings, helping to address the persistent shortage of healthcare providers in underserved areas.

HP-ET programs offer a variety of benefits to both CHCs and the communities they serve. For CHCs, these programs can help to:

  • Recruit and retain a diverse and well-trained workforce: By exposing students to the realities of working in CHCs, HP-ET programs can help to attract individuals within their own communities who represent the diversity of the community and retain a workforce that is committed to serving underserved communities.
  • Improve the quality of care: Students who participate in HP-ET programs gain valuable experience working with underserved populations and develop the skills needed to provide culturally competent care.
  • Strengthen ties between CHCs and academic institutions: HP-ET programs can help to foster collaboration between CHCs and academic institutions, leading to improved training and research opportunities for both students and faculty.

For communities, HP-ET programs can help to:

  • Increase access to primary care: By increasing the number of healthcare providers working in CHCs, HP-ET programs can help to improve access to primary care for underserved communities.
  • Reduce health disparities: By providing culturally competent care, healthcare providers who have participated in HP-ET programs can help to reduce health disparities in underserved communities.
  • Improve overall community health: By improving access to quality primary care, HP-ET programs can help to improve the overall health of underserved communities.

Dig deeper with these videos:

Move from knowledge to practice with these tools:

4. Retention

Start here with this introductory video:

Review this summary of the topic:

Retention strategies are also essential for CHCs to build a stable workforce that can provide continuity of care to patients.

Here are some key strategies for retaining a strong CHC workforce:

  • Offer competitive compensation and benefits: Providing competitive salaries, comprehensive benefits packages, and opportunities for professional development can help attract and retain qualified healthcare professionals.
  • Foster a positive and supportive work environment: Creating a positive work culture that values employee well-being, encourages open communication, and recognizes employee contributions can significantly enhance job satisfaction and retention rates.
  • Provide opportunities for professional growth and development: Offering training programs, mentorship opportunities, and support for continuing education can help employees feel valued and invested in their professional growth, leading to increased engagement and retention.
  • Implement a system of performance recognition and rewards: Regularly acknowledging and rewarding employee contributions, achievements, and milestones can boost morale, motivation, and commitment to the organization.
  • Promote work-life balance and employee well-being: Implementing initiatives that promote employee well-being, such as flexible work arrangements, wellness programs, and stress management resources, can help reduce burnout and contribute to employee satisfaction.
  • Encourage employee involvement in decision-making: Creating opportunities for employees to participate in decision-making processes can foster a sense of ownership and engagement, leading to increased loyalty and retention.
  • Seek feedback and address employee concerns: Regularly soliciting feedback from employees through surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one meetings can help identify and address underlying concerns that may contribute to turnover.

Dig deeper with these videos:

Move from knowledge to practice with these tools:

  • A Toolkit to Promote Nurse Resiliency and Retention (2023)

    In response to the significant nursing retention issues healthcare was attempting to mitigate, the PA Action Coalition pulled together a special interest task force. The goal of the Nursing Stress, Resiliency, and Retention Task Force was to compile best practices, identified in literature and by practice, to address the significant challenges the nursing workforce faces.

  • Organizational Leadership and Resiliency Toolkit (2022)

    This toolkit will connect organization leaders with the understanding and strategies they need to support the health and wellbeing of their workforce and address some of the structural problems plaguing the healthcare industry even before the pandemic.

  • Perspectives from the Field: Retaining Medical Assistants and Dental Assistants (2022)

    The findings from a series of focus groups have been compiled to highlight factors contributing to this attrition and strategies shared by participants to mitigate these factors and retain MAs and DAs in the workforce.

5. Recruitment

Start here with this introductory video:

Review this summary of the topic:

Recruitment strategies are essential for CHCs to build a strong workforce that can meet the needs of their patients.

Here are some key strategies for recruiting a strong CHC workforce:

  • Develop a comprehensive recruitment plan: A well-defined recruitment plan should outline the organization's staffing needs, target demographics, and the channels through which recruitment efforts will be focused. This plan should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure it remains aligned with the organization's current and future needs.
  • Promote a positive work environment: CHCs can attract and retain talent by creating a positive and supportive work environment that values employee well-being, provides opportunities for professional development, and offers competitive compensation and benefits.
  • Cultivate relationships with community organizations and educational institutions: Partnering with local community organizations, colleges, and universities can provide CHCs with access to a diverse pool of potential candidates and help them establish a strong presence within the community they serve.
  • Utilize technology to enhance recruitment efforts: Online job postings, social media platforms, and professional networking sites can effectively reach a wider range of candidates and streamline the recruitment process.
  • Offer targeted incentives and scholarships: Providing financial incentives, such as tuition reimbursement or sign-on bonuses, can attract qualified candidates and encourage them to pursue careers in CHCs.
  • Engage current staff in the recruitment process: Encourage current staff members to refer potential candidates and participate in recruitment events. Their firsthand experience and insights can be valuable in attracting and retaining talent.
  • Highlight the unique mission and impact of CHCs: Emphasize the importance of CHCs in addressing health disparities and improving the lives of underserved communities. This can inspire potential candidates to pursue careers that are both meaningful and impactful.

Dig deeper with these videos:

Move from knowledge to practice with these tools:

6. Leadership Skills

Start here with this introductory video:

Review this summary of the topic:

Leadership skills are indispensable for the success of community health centers, which play a critical role in delivering high-quality, accessible, and affordable healthcare to underserved communities. CHC leaders must possess a unique set of leadership competencies to navigate the intricate challenges and opportunities inherent in this healthcare setting.

Key leadership competencies for CHC leaders include:

  • Strategic thinking and planning: The ability to formulate and implement a clear vision and strategic plan for the organization, ensuring alignment with community needs and healthcare priorities.
  • Communication and collaboration: Effective communication and collaboration skills are essential for fostering strong relationships with staff, patients, community partners, and stakeholders to create a supportive and collaborative work environment.
  • Cultural competence: The ability to comprehend and respect the diverse cultural backgrounds of patients, staff, and community members to provide culturally sensitive care and address health disparities.
  • Advocacy and community engagement: Strong advocacy skills are necessary to secure funding, resources, and support from policymakers and stakeholders, while active community engagement ensures that the organization remains responsive to the evolving needs of the community.
  • Change management: The ability to effectively manage change within the organization, fostering a culture of adaptability and continuous improvement while addressing any resistance or concerns.
  • Problem-solving and decision-making: Effective problem-solving and decision-making skills are crucial for navigating the challenges of resource constraints, staffing shortages, and complex healthcare issues.
  • Team leadership and mentoring: The ability to motivate, mentor, and empower staff members to achieve their full potential and contribute to the organization's success.
  • Financial management: Understanding of financial principles and the ability to manage the organization's finances responsibly to ensure sustainability and growth.

Dig deeper with these videos:

Move from knowledge to practice with these tools:

7. Team-Based Care

Start here with this introductory video:

Review this summary of the topic:

Effective Team-based care enables a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to patient care. This collaborative model involves a group of healthcare professionals working together to provide holistic care for each patient, drawing upon their unique expertise and perspectives. This integrated approach ensures that patients receive the full spectrum of services necessary to manage their health conditions and achieve their wellness objectives. Outcomes and quality measures also improve with implementation of such models leading to improvement in patient access, provider satisfaction, chronic diseases outcomes, and disease management indicators, especially for medically underserved and vulnerable populations.

Team-based care in CHCs typically comprises of:

  • Core Team: Primary Care Providers (MD, NP, PA), Nurse, Medical Assistant, and Office Staff
  • Extended Health Care Team: Behavioral Health Specialist, Social Worker, Pharmacist, Dentist, Community Health Worker, Care Manager, Patient Service Associates, Early Childhood Specialist
  • Extended Community Care Team: Social Support Services, School-Based Support, Health Behavior Support, Home Health Aids

The benefits of team-based care in CHCs include:

  • Enhanced patient outcomes: Team-based care has demonstrated improved patient outcomes, including better control of chronic diseases, reduced hospitalizations, and increased patient satisfaction.
  • More comprehensive care: Team-based care facilitates a more holistic approach to patient care, as healthcare professionals from diverse disciplines can collaborate to address all aspects of a patient's needs.
  • Increased efficiency: Team-based care can enhance the efficiency of healthcare delivery by minimizing duplication of services, allowing team members to work to top of their licensure, and improving care coordination.
  • Enhanced communication: Team-based care promotes open communication among healthcare professionals, leading to better decision-making and improved patient care.
  • Increased job satisfaction: Team-based care can contribute to increased job satisfaction for healthcare professionals, as it allows them to collaborate with colleagues and share responsibility for patient care.

Dig deeper with these videos:

Move from knowledge to practice with these tools:

  • Nurse-Led Health Care and Health Centers (2022)

    The National Nurse-Led Care Consortium (NNCC) has developed a brief discussing opportunities for health centers to optimize recent increases in the nurse practitioner (NP) workforce across health centers. The brief provides a comprehensive overview of nurse-managed health centers and highlights the role of nurse-led care on improved provision of primary care.

  • Best Practices for Adapting to the Remote and Hybrid Workforce in Team-Based Care (2022)

    Telehealth and remote work allow health center leadership to be creative in recruiting and retaining staff to meet their organization’s needs. These new settings also require new approaches to supporting staff engagement.

  • Community Health Worker and Care Coordination (2022)

    The Midwest Network for Oral Health Integration (MNOHI) partnered with NNOHA to develop this publication which outlines best practices from community health centers that have implemented innovative care coordination strategies for medical and dental integration.

8. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Start here with this introductory video:

Review this summary of the topic:

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are essential to the health center workforce. A diverse health center workforce is fundamental to achieving health equity. Studies show that patients from minority backgrounds often have better experiences and outcomes when treated by providers who share their ethnicity or cultural background. This can be due to increased trust, improved communication, and a deeper understanding of the patient's social determinants of health.

Building a more representative health center workforce requires a multi-pronged approach. Firstly, healthcare professions need to actively recruit and support students from underserved communities. Scholarship programs, mentorship initiatives, and loan forgiveness options can all help address financial barriers to entry. Secondly, health centers can cultivate a culture of cultural competency through training programs that equip staff with the skills to navigate diverse backgrounds and beliefs. By fostering a workforce that reflects the populations they serve, health centers can take a significant step towards dismantling health disparities and achieving true health equity.

Here are some specific examples of how health centers are prioritizing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in their workforce:

  • Hiring and recruitment: Health centers are using a variety of strategies to recruit a more diverse workforce, such as partnering with community organizations, offering paid internships, and creating flexible work arrangements.
  • Training and development: Health centers are providing training to their employees on cultural competency, implicit bias, and other DEI topics.
  • Employee support: Health centers are creating employee resource groups and other support mechanisms for underrepresented groups.
  • Leadership development: Health centers are developing programs to identify and promote underrepresented employees into leadership positions.

Dig deeper with these videos:

  • Organizational and Human Resources Policies for an LGBTQIA+ Workforce (2021)

    This training was aimed at increasing the ability of health centers to improve recruitment, hiring and retention of LGBTQIA+ staff and providers. Participants learned about the integration of staff into professional and clinical teams, the development of affirming and inclusive HR forms, practices and policies, and the importance of an affirming work culture in the retention of an LGBTQIA+ workforce.

  • Clinician Perspectives on Racism in the Healthcare Workforce (2021)

    Among the many ways that racism manifests itself in health care is through the lack of representation in our health care workforce and in patient engagement and satisfaction surveys where patients continue to report better care when they see providers who share their racial and ethnic identities. Many members of the health care industry, including those who educate future health care workers, are working hard to dismantle the racism that pervades the field.

  • Building an Inclusive Organization Webinar Series (2021)

    This webinar series was designed to help health center teams develop more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforces and adopt antiracist practices.

Move from knowledge to practice with these tools:

  • Ground Work: Racial Justice and Cultural Humility Training for Health Centers

    Ground Work is a foundational, racial justice training for all health center roles. This 8-part series provides tools for health centers to work towards racial equity both in our health centers and in the world.

  • Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value: Establishing Pay Equity Principles to Advance Workforce Financial Wellness (2023)

    Pay equity ensures that employees receive equal pay for work of equal value, and the modern workforce expects a timely and sincere commitment to these principles from their employers. This ACU STAR² Center white paper examines existing literature to detail organizational processes and practices that champion compensation equity and provides a step-by-step guide on how to conduct a pay equity audit.

  • Recruiting, Training, and Retaining LGBTQ-Proficient Clinical Providers

    As lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people increasingly access care at health centers, the clinical workforce needs to be prepared to meet the unique health needs of LGBTQ patients. Finding LGBTQ-proficient providers, however, can present a challenge, especially outside major metropolitan areas.In this toolkit, we provide tips and strategies for: 1)Recruiting providers who are either already proficient in LGBTQ health care, or who demonstrate an interest in, and capacity for proficiency in LGBTQ health care; 2) Developing the knowledge and skills of providers to care for LGBTQ patients through training and other professional development opportunities, and; 3)Implementing changes to workplace culture, policies, and processes in order to retain LGBTQ-proficient providers.

  • TI-ROC Climate of Equity Assessment (2020)

    This tool was created to assist organizations in assessingtheir current climate to understand and improve diversity, equity and inclusionpractices. The information gathered from this assessment will aid organizationalleadership and staff in process improvement activities including modifications, and subsequent supportsthatmay need to be engaged into create safe and equitable spaces for staff


GO: Access Workforce Resources

Click on the links below to access workforce resources from the Clearinghouse aligned with the Workforce Priority Areas. You can also submit workforce resources to be included in the collection. These resources have been vetted based on the Clearinghouse Quality Standards.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $6,625,000 with 0 percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.