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PACE cross-program implementation and impact study findings (Gardiner & Juras 2019)

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.

Citation

Gardiner, K., & Juras, R. (2019). PACE Cross-Program Implementation and Impact Study Findings (Report No. 2019-32). Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. [BTH]

Highlights

  • The study's objective was to examine the impact of Bridge to Employment in the Healthcare Industry (BTH) 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 BTH 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 BTH 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 Bridge to Employment in the Healthcare Industry (BTH); other factors are likely to have contributed.

Intervention Examined

Bridge to Employment in the Healthcare Industry (BTH)

Features of the Intervention

In 2010, the San Diego Workforce Partnership was awarded a 5-year Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG) to launch and implement the Bridge to Employment in the Healthcare Industry (BTH) program. BTH provided eligibility assessments for training and offered participants navigation and case management services where a counselor helped them select a training program and identified any participation barriers. The training programs could be any accredited training program in San Diego County in one of three occupational health care groups (patient care, technical, or administrative). Participants received full-cost vouchers (called Individual Training Accounts) that covered the cost of the training program. Participants also received supportive services (e.g., child care assistance, transportation) to help them complete the healthcare training programs. Upon program completion, BTH provided participants with assistance finding employment. The program served participants with low occupational skills who were interested in working in the healthcare industry. Although participants with low incomes were not specifically targeted, they were recruited by the program.

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 the BTH program.

The study used a randomized controlled trial to examine the impact of the BTH program. Of the 1,007 participants who enrolled in the study between July 2012 and October 2013, 507 were randomly assigned to the BTH program (treatment group) and 500 were assigned to the control group. Control group members could not receive BTH program services but could choose to participate in other employment services within the community. The majority of the study sample was female (84 percent), with 47 percent Hispanic/Latino, 22 percent Black/African American, 20 percent White, and 15 percent other race. Thirty-seven percent of the sample 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.

Findings

Education and skills gains

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 BTH—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 the BTH; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Additional Sources

Farrell, M., & Martinson, K. (2017). The San Diego County Bridge to Employment in the Healthcare Industry Program: Implementation and Early Impact Report (Report No. 2017-41). Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Reviewed by CLEAR

June 2022

Topic Area

Topic Area