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Workforce Development

Maintaining a proficient workforce through continuous training and development

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A competent, capable workforce is at the center of any successful public health agency. The Public Health Division’s goal is to maintain a proficient workforce through continuous training and development. These investments expand the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the workforce, enhance organizational performance, and increase staff satisfaction.

On this page:

Public Health Workforce Needs

The U.S. public health workforce is facing several urgent priorities that should be addressed, including:1

  • Developing an ethnically and racially diverse membership to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse nation;
  • Recruiting and retaining highly trained, well-prepared employees, and succession planning to replace retirees; and
  • Building public health workforce infrastructure while also confronting a major shortage in the public health workforce, through increased education, training, and credentialing.

Accreditation Standards for Workforce Development

The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) Standards have placed added emphasis on workforce development. Domain 8 requires agencies to maintain a competent public health workforce. This includes:

  • Ensuring the development of a sufficient number of qualified public health workers; and
  • Assessing staff competencies and providing training / professional development.

Domain 8 also outlines the expectation that public health agencies have documented partnerships or collaboration with schools of public health and other related academic programs to develop qualified public health workers and promote public health as a career choice.


In 2013, the Public Health Division and the Conference of Local Health Officials collaborated with the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice at the University of Washington to conduct an Oregon Workforce Needs Assessment (PDF). A public health workforce development work group, comprised of representatives from the Public Health Division, local health departments, tribal public health, academia and other public health agencies, used the survey data to prioritize and formulate a competency framework to address critical workforce skill gaps within the workforce. These essential competencies are the focal point in the training curriculum listed below for the Public Health Division.

Recommended Competency Framework (ranked in priority order)
  1. Cultural Competence
  2. Analytic/Assessment
  3. Leadership
  4. Communication
  5. Systems Thinking
  6. Financial Planning and Management
  7. Leadership


Public Health Division Training Curriculum
  • Mandatory trainings for Public Health Division employees
  • Mandatory trainings for Public Health Division managers
  • Recommended trainings for new Public Health Division managers
  • Trainings to support the specific priority core competencies from the Council on Linkages for Public Health Professionals Core Competency Framework
Training matrix (PDF)
  • Public Health Conferences
Conference listing (PDF)


Additional trainings for public health practitioners

    iLearn is a learning management system that allows learners to sign up for trainings and keep track of their learning activities.
  • Public Health 101 (YouTube video) 
    A brief video presented developed by the Oregon Public Health Division for new employees.
  • Public Health Orientation 
    An orientation to the Oregon Public Health Division, intended for local public health leaders and staff, new state public health managers and staff, and VISTA volunteers.
  • Northwest Center for Public Health Practice Trainings
    NWCPHP offers a wide variety of training opportunities for public health professionals, including online trainings, certificate programs, toolkits, guides, and in-person / customized training.
  • NACCHO's Workforce Development and Training
    NACCHO is committed to a competent workforce in local health departments. NACCHO offers a variety of workshops and trainings, supports and promotes leadership development and core competency efforts, and engages in national policy discussions to address pressing public health workforce issues.


[1] Public health workforce research in review: a 25-year retrospective.