Approach to workforce development


Our approach

In order to courageously pursue systems change and create environments conducive to learning, we need to prioritize building cultures of care and belonging. To do this our collective workforce efforts focus on three areas:


Re-shaping the environment

Identifying, developing, and implementing systemic and sustainable practices that are trauma-informed and stress responsive. When staff feel cared for, and the environments they are working in reinforce regulation and healing, their capacity to navigate change, learn and innovate expands.

Learning to lead with a new lens

Our MCH priorities and the shift in how we work, with whom we work and where we work, now requires the adoption of new knowledge and skills. This knowledge and skill development is grounded in a variety of Human-Centered Skills and the MCH Strategic Anchors of: Racial Equity, Moving Upstream, and Community Inclusion.

Cultivating climate and culture change

Integrating new knowledge and skills into new and existing programs, practices and policies.  Our ability to put into practice new knowledge and skills is what will lead to effective and sustainable change. 


By re-shaping the environments in which we are working, we begin to enhance our brains' ability to access new learning.  When we learn to lead with a new lens, we begin to shift perspective, effectively navigate differences and become more equitable and inclusive in our thinking. When we become more equitable and inclusive in our thinking, we are more capable of intentionally applying what we know, to what we do - ultimately shifting the culture and climate of what, how and why we do the work we do. This new approach to learning, ensures that our public health workforce is working at its best so that we can maximize our public health impact.


Approach to learning

In addition to the specific topic areas related to public health’s strategic skills, throughout the Workforce Development Team’s assessment of need, we heard comments about people getting “lost in the learning”, meaning that once a training was over, it was up to the individual to figure out how to apply this new information to their unique context with little support. We know that learning isn’t sustained through one-time trainings. Learning happens on a continuum; through exposure to new information and skills, with the facilitation of insights and deeper understanding, and through applied experience. In short, in order to change systems, we must not only know what to do, we must also know how to do it, and then be given ample opportunities for practice. With our north star set on behavior and systems change, the Workforce Development Team has diversified their learning opportunities through the implementation of trainings, consultations, coaching, and communities of practice.


Assessing need and developing scope

The Workforce Development Section has been assessing needs at the state and local levels since its inception in 2019. Since the initial workforce needs assessment, results have remained relatively consistent. Colorado’s LPHAs report a need for increased capacity building on topics such as: racial equity, community inclusion, moving upstream, communicating the value of public health, influencing partners & leaders, and trauma-informed systems. Complimentary to the results our Colorado specific workforce needs assessment have shown, results from the national 2021 Public Health Workforce and Needs Survey (PH WINS) highlight public health professionals experiencing high levels of stress and burnout, parallelled by critical training needs on topics related to equity, diversity, inclusion.  

Measuring of our workforce development efforts

  • Strategic anchor evaluation
  • Trauma-informed and stress-responsive systems evaluation
  • Workshop/training evaluation
  • Branch culture survey

If you’re not sure what you need, how to utilize the resources we’ve shared, or haven’t found what you need, please connect with the MCH Workforce Team. We’re here to support you and have additional tools to share.

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