Absence of Conflict of Interest
This study was conducted by staff from Abt Associates, which administers CLEAR. The review of this study was conducted by ICF Incorporated, which also administers CLEAR and is trained in applying the CLEAR causal evidence guidelines.
- The study's objective was to examine the impact of Year Up's Professional Training Corps (PTC) on education outcomes.
- This study used a randomized controlled trial to compare completion rates between individuals assigned to the Alternative Strategies group and those assigned to the Usual Strategies group. Using data from Year Up's administrative data system, the authors conducted statistical models to compare the outcomes between the groups.
- The study did not find any significant differences in program completion rates between the groups.
- This study receives a high evidence rating. This means we would be confident that any estimated effects would be attributable to Year Up’s Professional Training Corps and not to other factors. However, the study did not find statistically significant effects.
Year Up's Professional Training Corps
Features of the Intervention
Professional Training Corps (PTC) is a full-time, one-year program that provides work experience and professional training to young adults (18-24) with a high school degree (or equivalent), who are determined to be out of work, out of school, and low-income. At the time of publication, there were 15 PTC programs run by Year Up in the United States. The PTC programs work through partnerships with colleges. There are two phases of PTC. During the Learning and Development (L&D) phase, participants complete full-time courses to build professional and technical skills. During the second phase, participants work at full-time internships and attend one weekly half-day Internship Seminar provided by PTC. PTC also provides a stipend, participation contract, learning communities, coaching, and social and academic support. After PTC program completion, the program continues to track participants’ employment and education, and provide job placement and staffing support.
Participants must successfully complete the L&D phase to move into the internship phase. However, PTC experienced retention challenges and program sites were not meeting L&D completion targets. To improve L&D completion rates, PTC program staff developed alternative academic monitoring and support strategies (Alternative Strategies). The specific strategies implemented in the Alternative Strategies groups differed by site, but all fell within three categories of changes to the strategies implemented in the Usual Strategies group: (1) additional monitoring of attendance and course completion in L&D; (2) coaches available to provide academic and non-academic support; and (3) case reviews created by coaches/staff for participants who needed additional support (e.g., corrective actions).
Features of the Study
This study was a randomized controlled trial conducted at three PTC sites (Peirce College in Philadelphia, Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York, and Florida State College at Jacksonville). Program staff recruited eligible participants and encouraged them to apply to the program. If accepted into the program, participants enrolled in PTC and the site’s partner college. Of the 317 eligible participants, 154 were randomly assigned to the Alternative Strategies group to receive the standard PTC program with additional supportive strategies and 163 were assigned to the Usual Strategies group to receive the standard PTC program. The study sample was predominantly Black or African American (70 percent), half of the sample was female (50 percent) and less than half (45 percent) was under 20 years of age. Approximately 40 percent of participants had no college experience. Year Up's administrative data system was used to gather data about L&D completion and participant background. The authors conducted statistical models to compare completion rates of the L&D program by Alternative Strategies and Usual Strategies participants.
Education and skills gains
- The study found no significant difference in completion rates of the L&D phase of PTC between the groups.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The study reports a less stringent statistical significance level, considering p-values of less than 0.10 to be significant, though it is standard practice to consider statistical significance if the p-value is less than 0.05. Only results that demonstrate a p-value of less than 0.05 are considered statistically significant in this profile.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high because it was based on a well-implemented randomized controlled trial. This means we would be confident that any estimated effects would be attributable to Year Up’s Professional Training Corps and not to other factors. However, the study did not find statistically significant effects.