To examine what different types of employers value in hiring community health workers (s) and determine what new competencies s might need to meet workforce demands in the context of an evolving payment landscape and substantial literature suggesting that s are uniquely qualified to address health disparities.
We used a multimethod approach, including a literature review, development of a database of 76 programs, interviews with 24 key informants, and a qualitative comparison of major competency lists.
We find a shift in employment settings from community‐based organizations to hospitals/health systems. Providers that hire s directly, as opposed to partnering with community organizations, report that they value education and training more highly than traditional characteristics, such as peer status. We find substantial similarities across competency lists, but a gap in competencies that relate to s’ ability to integrate into health systems while maintaining their unique identity.
As integration into health care organizations advances, and as states move forward with certification efforts, it is important to develop new competencies that relate to –health system integration. Chief among them is the ability to explain and defend the 's unique occupational identity.