Absence of conflict of interest.
- The study’s objective was to examine the implementation of the Health Professions Pathways (H2P) Consortium, a program offered by nine community and technical colleges with partnerships from employers, Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs), and community-based organizations (CBOs), to train students in health programs of study.
- The study authors conducted an implementation evaluation using data gathered during interviews and focus groups with employers, workforce partners, community-based organizations, college faculty, staff, administrators, students, and graduates during site visits.
- The study found that the Consortium colleges modified or created health programs, provided enhanced student services, and engaged employers and other community partners. The successes and challenges encountered at each college varied because each college implemented the program differently.
- The implementation study was comprehensive in its design, data collection, and analyses. The findings aligned with the research questions and were supported by the data.
- The companion impact study was reviewed by CLEAR in May 2020.
Health Professions Pathways (H2P) Consortium
Features of the Intervention
- Type of organization: Community and technical colleges
- Location/setting: Multi-site in Kentucky, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas
- Population served and scale: TAA-eligible; Veterans; Dislocated workers; Low-skilled workers; 6,549 participants
- Industry focus: Health care and social assistance
- Intervention activities: Career pathways; Developmental education; Student support services; Technology; Work-based learning
- Organizational partnerships: Employers; Workforce Investment Boards; Community-based organizations
- Cost: Not included
- Fidelity: Not included
The Health Professions Pathway (H2P) Consortium was designed to provide enhanced student supports (e.g., assessments, career coaching, and retention services), redesigned or enhanced curricula (e.g., online or hybrid courses, stacked credentials), and work-based opportunities for students in several health programs of studies (POS). The Consortium was funded by a Round 1 Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). There were nine community and technical colleges in the H2P Consortium: two colleges each in Minnesota, Kentucky, Ohio, and Texas, and one college in Illinois. These colleges partnered with employers, Workforce Investment Boards, and CBOs. The TAACCCT grant was awarded in the fall of 2011 and concluded September 2015; 6,549 students were served during this time.
The Consortium colleges identified eight strategies for the H2P: 1) online assessments and career guidance; 2) contextualized education; 3) core curriculum; 4) retention services; 5) stackable credentials; 6) incumbent training; 7) data collection, use, and sharing; and 8) creating and sustaining a national movement to improve community college training and education. The Consortium colleges targeted its services to veterans, dislocated workers, Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)-eligible individuals, and low-skilled workers. The study sought to understand how the Consortium's strategies were created, implemented, and then sustained during the grant by collecting information on program activities, challenges, and successes.
Features of the Study
The study relied primarily on qualitative data. Interviews and focus groups were conducted with 30-40 people at each college during a two-day site visit. Data was collected from employers, workforce partners, community-based organizations, college faculty, staff, administrators, students, and graduates. Site visits/observations were conducted twice (baseline and final) by two to three evaluation staff. Prior to the visit, the research team provided a self-assessment tool to college grant leadership to complete. The evaluators also completed the assessment and the two were compared. Within one month of each visit, the evaluators provided a report to each site and solicited feedback to correct inaccurate information or interpretation. The evaluators specifically noted they respected both internal and their own, external, perspectives. Reports were also shared with Consortium leadership prior to being finalized. Research staff reviewed program documents (e.g., scopes of work, quarterly and annual reports, college website data) and observed classrooms and labs. The study authors do not describe their data analytic techniques for qualitative data.
- Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Coon Rapids, Minnesota
- Ashland Community and Technical College in Ashland, Kentucky
- Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in Cincinnati, Ohio
- El Centro College in Dallas, Texas
- Jefferson Community and Technical College in Louisville, Kentucky
- Malcolm X College in Chicago, Illinois
- Owens Community College in Toledo, Ohio
- Pine Technical and Community College in Pine City, Minnesota
- Texarkana College in Texarkana, Texas
- The study found that colleges did not create and implement a shared core curriculum for the health programs; however, each college did devise a curriculum and eligibility requirements that met their local needs.
- The study found that all colleges successfully implemented "intrusive advising" that provided coaching, retention, and other supportive services to help program students succeed.
- The study found that most colleges successfully created entry-level credentials, but were less successful creating subsequent (stacked) credentials.
- The study found that the lead college (Cincinnati State Technical and Community College) was particularly successful in establishing and maintaining partnerships with WIBs, CBOs, and employers and coordinating data collection, analysis, and reporting which benefited the entire Consortium.
- The study found that Anoka-Ramsey Community College created an online "Educate the Educator" course to instruct their faculty on the core curriculum. They also created a new Pharmacy Technician program that received full accreditation.
Implementation challenges and solutions
- The study found that the colleges struggled to implement contextualized education, except for a BIO 100 course that was contextualized, competency-based, and included stackable credentials.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The authors gathered data from a wide variety of individuals including employers, WIBs, students, graduates, and CBOs as well as individuals at various levels within the colleges working on the H2P program. Additionally, the authors conducted all performance reporting, including quarterly and annual reports, so had access to these programmatic data. The evaluators also created an assessment tool, which was completed twice by each college and twice by researchers. There are clear links between data collection, analysis, and findings. For interviews and focus groups, evaluators asked TAACCCT leadership at each college to set the agenda to ensure a range of perspectives were included; however, details about the inclusion/exclusion criteria for selection were not included. Another potential limitation is that the study authors did not describe their data analytic techniques for the qualitative data collected.