Project Trains Camden, N.J., Welfare Recipients as Community Health Workers

Reorganizing Camden's health care delivery system and improving economic development opportunities

From 1996 to 2001, staff from the Camden Development Collaborative developed a community health worker project in Camden, N.J., in conjunction with local health care providers, to improve health outcomes and create jobs.

The Camden Development Collaborative was established in 1995 through The Fund for New Jersey as part of an effort to reverse the tide of disinvestment and poverty in the city. CAMcare Health Corporation, a federally funded urban community health center, contracted with the collaborative to manage the project.

Key Results

  • Project staff created a 33-module curriculum focused on outreach, service linkages, health assessments and disease management, and also established a network of some 20 community agencies to recruit candidates for the training and to provide internship positions and employment.

  • Trainees spent six hours a day in the classroom and were placed in the field one day a week for eight weeks.

  • The project provided vocational support, including job readiness workshops and skills assessment.

  • The collaborative disbanded in 2000, but CAMcare completed the planned activities of the community health worker initiative.