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 Carreras en Salud (Carreras) on education outcomes. The authors investigated similar research questions for other programs, the profiles of which can be found here.
- The study used a randomized controlled trial to examine the impact of the Carreras program on education outcomes. Using participant surveys, the authors conducted a statistical model to compare the outcomes of the treatment and control group members.
- The study found that Carreras participants were significantly more likely than control participants to have earned one or more credential(s).
- This study receives a low evidence rating. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to Carreras en Salud; other factors are likely to have contributed.
Carreras en Salud
Features of the Intervention
Carreras en Salud (Carreras) was established in 2005 by Instituto del Progreso Latino, a nonprofit community-based organization located in Chicago, Illinois. Carreras offered both on-site basic skills education (as needed) and college-based courses leading to healthcare credentials, up through the Licensed Practical Nurse credential. The program also provided both academic and non-academic advising and employment services. Basic skills courses were provided free of charge and participants received support applying for financial aid for college courses. The program served individuals with low incomes and low occupational skills and sought to train bilingual (Spanish/English) healthcare workers.
Features of the Study
This study was part of the multi-program Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) evaluation. The PACE evaluation was intended to address the gap in research on the effectiveness of career pathways programs, or programs providing postsecondary training or education in growing employment sectors. This profile focuses on Carreras.
The study used a randomized controlled trial to examine the impact of Carreras. Of the 800 participants who enrolled in the study between November 2011 and September 2014, 402 were randomly assigned to the Carreras program (treatment group) and 398 were assigned to the control group. Control group members could not receive Carreras program services but could choose to participate in other employment services within the community. The majority of the study sample was female (93 percent) and Hispanic/Latino (99 percent). Almost half of the sample (49 percent) had a high school degree or equivalency credential without further education/training. The data for the credential receipt outcome were drawn from the PACE 18-month survey. The authors used a statistical model to compare the outcomes of the treatment group with those of the control group.
Education and skills gains
- The study found that at follow-up, 37 percent of treatment participants earned one or more credential(s), compared to 18 percent of control participants. This difference was statistically significant.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
Although the study design was a randomized controlled trial, the study had high attrition and was treated as a nonexperimental design for this review. The authors did not control for the required differences between the groups at baseline as outlined in the protocol. These preexisting differences between the groups—and not Carreras—could explain any observed differences in outcomes.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low, because it was a randomized controlled trial with high attrition and the authors did not account for preexisting differences between the groups before program participation. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to Carreras; other factors are likely to have contributed.