Benjamin Cahill ’22 Aspires to Improve Community Healthcare Access

Ben Cahill standing in front of a fireplace and a piece of wall art that says "diversity"

Advocating for others is an important part of Benjamin Cahill‘s life. After discovering Northwest Technical College, Cahill realized he could build his career in advocacy and healthcare by becoming a community health worker.

Cahill was first introduced to Northwest Tech by Connie Norman ’15, an NTC alumna and community heath worker with Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota. Cahill and Norman were introduced when he worked in the hospital’s patient registration and scheduling department. Norman felt Cahill would be a great fit for NTC’s community health worker program and encouraged him to apply.

Working full-time, Cahill said the flexibility and affordability of NTC’s two-semester online program made it possible for him to earn his degree.

“I’m able to complete things based on my schedule, without worrying about planning classes and work around one another,” he said. “I can often finish my coursework in the downtime during my workday.”

Cahill said his schoolwork – which spanned nonviolent communication, chronic diseases and community cultures – is very relevant to the field and has helped him prepare for his career. Additionally, the program’s 80-hour internship gave him on-the-job experience outside of the classroom.

“I was able to intern with a current community health worker, so I really got to see how what I was learning in the classroom can be applied to the day-to-day activities I’d be doing in the field,” Cahill said. “There can be a lot of variation in your education and tasks, so it’s nice to get real-world experience as part of the program.”

A 2022 graduate, Cahill has secured a community health worker position with PrimeWest Health throughout Minnesota. He will also work with Minnesota’s Pride Support Network, an LGBTQ2S+ outreach organization Cahill helped start, that advocates for those who struggle to gain access to healthcare and social services.

“If you are interested in the healthcare or social services field, but not interested in doing four years of education, this is a great way to start,” Cahill said. “You’ll be on the frontline in addressing healthcare disparities, and will work closely with those in social work.”