The UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health (UK CERH) in partnership with United Health Care (UHC), Hazard Community & Technical College (HCTC), and Kentucky Advanced Technical College High (K-TECH) developed the “Students Striving toward Better Health in Self and Community Initiative”, available to Perry County and Hazard Independent high school students. The pilot program presents a unique, first-in-class partnership that demonstrates how private business, higher education, and communities are addressing rural health and opportunity in Kentucky together.

Tuition-Free Community Health Worker Curriculum

The initiative, made possible with a $35,000 gift from UnitedHealthcare, enables students to complete a tuition-free community health worker (CHW) curriculum through the Hazard Community and Technical College’s K-TECH program, taught by industry experts from Kentucky Homeplace who have a training model built upon more than 25 years of experience. UK CERH leads the development, coordination, and execution of content and programming with UHC providing expertise and support resources.

High school students enrolled in the program receive free college tuition, duel high school and college education credits, and training toward Kentucky community health worker certification. Classes are conducted onsite at Hazard Community and Technical College with an 80-hour paid apprenticeship provided at UK CERH over the summer for participating students. The apprenticeship provides students the experience of working beside CHWs and other health care professionals.


The community health worker career pathway is designed to address the shortage of trained health care workers in the Commonwealth with a focus on rural Kentucky. The curriculum consists of Kentucky Homeplace CHW training modules as well as:

Mental Health First Aid, an education program of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing

American Heart Association CPR certification

Chronic disease self-management classes

University of Kentucky trainings covering HIPAA compliance and data security

Completing the curriculum and apprenticeship provides students an opportunity to receive CHW certification through the Kentucky Department of Public Health.

For more information:

Mace Baker, Kentucky Homeplace Director

UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health
Ph: (606) 439-3557, ext. 83684 or (855) 859-2374

Tim Koogler, K-TECH Director

Hazard Community and Technical College
Ph: 606-487-3191