MOPHA | Workforce Development

Missouri Public Health Association
722 E. Capitol Avenue
Jefferson City, MO 65101

Workforce Development

On-line Resource Web Page for MPHA

Workforce Development in public health is a way to improve health outcomes in a community by enhancing the training, skills and performance of its public health workers.  Through funding from the American Public Health Association and collaborative partners of MPHA, including the Missouri Department of Senior Services (MDHSS),  Missouri Institute for Community Health (MICH), and the Missouri Association of Local Public Health Agencies (MoALPHA) along with our academic partners, MPHA has put together this online resource page to provide local public health agencies with the resources and tools needed to achieve an efficient and effective public health system. 

For a list of our academic partners click here

 1 Getting Ready
The Public Health Foundation can assist you in beginning your agency’s jouney towards workforce development.  Engaging in workforce development planning may seem daunting, but don’t let that stop you from getting started. Click here  to get 5 tips for getting started.

 2 Analyzing your current workforce

By analyzing the capacity and capability of your health department’s workforce using nationally adopted core competencies, your agency can develop a workforce development plan that will address the gaps identified.   The Competency Assessments will help employees determine their level of knowledge and skill with respect to each of the eight domains that comprise the Core Competences.  The self-assessments are self-scoring PDF forms and a separate form is available for each of the three tiers within the core competencies.  The self-assessments were developed by the Council on Linkages and can be located at the Public Health Foundation website.  Click here to access.

To see examples illustrating the use of the Core Competencies, the Public Health Foundation has created a list shared by other health departments from around the country.  Click here to view Click here to view

3 Creating a Workforce Development Plan

After analyzing your current workforce, the creation of a specific Workforce Development Plan for your agency can provide you with a summary of the analysis, identified gaps in capacity and capabilities, along with a comprehensive training schedule and description of the material or topics to be addressed in the training curricula.  Addressing coming needs in capacity, capabilities, and strategies to address the identified barriers will help prepare your agency for quality now and the future.

NACCHO offers a variety of resources for Workforce Development.   Click here to access

ASTHO has a Workforce Development toolkit that includes a guide designed for all stages of plan preparation.   Click here to access

The Public Health Foundation has samples of Competency-Based Workforce Development Plans including an archived workshop.  Click here to access

Workforce Development Plan Template

4 Creating Job Descriptions

Job descriptions link work functions to the competencies needed to successfully perform them.  Integrating the Core Competencies into job descriptions can help ensure the recruitment and retention of public health personnel and support staff such as administration, financial and clerical staff whose skills are well-matched to the needs of a position.  It is important to develop relevant job descriptions that address quality improvement, emergency preparedness, health equity, and cultural competencies.

The Public Health Foundation has samples of job descriptions using the Core Competencies including a resource guide and an archived workshop.   Click here to access 

5 Workforce Retention Activities

One of the most significant challenges facing public health agencies is that of maintaining a strong workforce.  Resources to assist your agency include employee satisfaction surveys, reward and recognition programs, career ladders, promotion opportunities and the development of supervisory and leadership mentoring programs and training.

5.1 Employee satisfaction surveys

Employee satisfaction surveys provide management with the knowledge and tools to build positive employee relations and work environment.  Employee attitudes, burnout tendencies, loyalty, and workplace climate are key indicators for employee retention, satisfaction, and productivity.

SurveyMonkey has a dedicated website on creating a happier workplace using employee satisfaction surveys with guidance on how to create and use them.  Click here to access 

Qualtrics has three sample templates for employee satisfaction survey questions.   Click here to access 

5.2 Reward and Recognition programs

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has a Rewards & Recognition Program that can easily be adapted to public health agencies.  They received the 2016 Recognition Professionals International award for Best Overall Recognition Program.  This link will take you to their page called Best Practices for Designing and Maintaining an Employee Recognition Program.  Click here to access

If you are thinking about implementing an employee incentive program, try this  link: to get some inspiration.

5.3 Career ladders

Career paths and career ladders are traditional methods by which an employee can develop and progress within your agency. Career ladders are the progression of jobs in your health department where specific occupational fields are ranked from highest to lowest based on level of responsibility and pay.

Employees usually feel more engaged when they believe that their management and governing body is concerned about their growth and provide avenues to reach individual career goals while fulfilling the health department’s mission. A career development path provides employees with an ongoing mechanism to enhance their skills and knowledge that can lead to mastery of their current jobs, promotions and transfers to new or different positions. Implementing career paths may have a direct impact on the entire organization by improving morale, career satisfaction, motivation, productivity, and responsiveness in meeting departmental and organizational objectives.

The Competency Model Clearinghouse has developed competency models and career ladder/lattices to help guide in the development of your own career ladder.  Career ladders/lattices may be used in a variety of ways. For example, they may be used to:

  • attract individuals to public health by showing potential career progression beyond entry points,
  • focus workforce development efforts,
  • show workers how different jobs interconnect within careers in public health, and
  • inform workers about the training, education, and developmental experiences that would enable them to accomplish their career objectives.

To start working on your own or agency career ladder, go to:

For a resource on developing Career Ladders, try this Guidebook from the WINs (Workforce Innovation Networks) developed by the US Chamber of Commerce.  You can access this guide here:

5.4 Leadership mentoring programs and training

The website Careers in Public is a wealth of information that discusses Leadership and Mentoring in Public Health.  They explain that mentoring is an accepted form of information sharing for public health practice in which those participating benefit professionally. It is an accepted form of communication that is viewed as a practice competency.

 To learn more about the benefits of Public Health Mentoring for Professionals go to

Ross Brownson, PhD wrote an article called Practice-Research Partnerships and Mentoring to Foster Evidence-Based Decision Making, Volume 11 – May 29, 2014 from the CDC’s Preventing Chronic Disease, Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy.  To read this article, click here