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New Jersey Health Professions Pathways to Regional Excellence project TAACCCT evaluation: Final report: Implementation and impact (Van Noy et al. 2018)

Absence of conflict of interest.

Citation

Van Noy, M., Edwards, R., Haviland, S. B, McKay, H., Douglas, D., Mabe, W., Coty, V., Javed, S., Pardalis, N., Hubbard-Mattix, L., & Seith, D. (2018). New Jersey Health Professions Pathways to Regional Excellence project TAACCCT evaluation: Final report: Implementation and impact. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers Education and Employment Research Center.

Highlights

  • The study’s objective was to examine the impact of the New Jersey Health Professions Pathways to Regional Excellence Project (NJ-PREP) on earnings and employment outcomes.
  • The study used a nonexperimental design to compare the outcomes of students who participated in the Nj-PREP program to those that did not. The authors examined data from Unemployment Insurance records, state higher education records, and the New Jersey Consumer Report Card of Training Providers.
  • The study did not find any statistically significant effects on employment or earnings.
  • The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is moderate because it was based on a well-implemented nonexperimental design. This means we are somewhat confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the NJ-PREP, but other factors might also have contributed.

Intervention Examined

New Jersey Health Professions Pathways to Regional Excellence Project (NJ-PREP)

Features of the Intervention

The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program provided $1.9 billion in grants to community colleges to improve skills and support employment in high-demand industries, notably manufacturing, health care, information technology, energy, and transportation. Through four rounds of funding, DOL awarded 256 TAACCCT grants to approximately 800 educational institutions across the United States and its territories.

The goal of the New Jersey Health Professions Pathways to Regional Excellence Project (NJ-PREP) was to prepare students to enter and advance in careers in the health professions, which included 12 of New Jersey’s 19 community colleges. This TAACCCT grant built on a prior Health Professions Opportunity Grant (HPOG) received in 2010 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which provided training to low-income individuals, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) populations, and General Assistance (GA) recipients. The NJ-PREP Consortium focused on creating career pathways in health professions, integrating technology into the curriculum, providing supports for students, and engaging with local employers and the workforce system.

Features of the Study

The study used a nonexperimental design to compare the outcomes of students who participated in NJ-PREP to students who did not. The authors matched NJ-PREP participants to similar nonparticipants using propensity scores developed from demographic, education, employment, wage, and regional information. The treatment group included 3,049 students who completed the NJ-PREP program, and the comparison group included 5,155 students who had completed occupational certification training in the same field of study at the same college, at the same time, and in the same counties as their treatment-group counterparts. The authors conducted statistical analyses to assess differences in outcomes between the groups using data from Unemployment Insurance records, state higher education records, and the New Jersey Consumer Report Card of Training Providers.

Study Sites

  • Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey
  • Brookdale Community College in Middletown, New Jersey
  • County College of Morris in Randolph, New Jersey
  • Essex County College in Newark, New Jersey
  • Hudson County Community College in Jersey City, New Jersey
  • Mercer County Community College in West Windsor Township, New Jersey
  • Middlesex County College in Edison, New Jersey
  • Ocean County College in Toms River, New Jersey
  • Passaic County Community College in Paterson, New Jersey
  • Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg Township, New Jersey
  • Sussex County Community College in Newton, New Jersey
  • Union County College in Cranford, New Jersey

Findings

Earnings and wages

  • There were no significant differences in earnings between the treatment and the comparison groups.

Employment

  • The study found no significant differences in employment status between the treatment and the comparison groups.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

Because of the proximity of some of the participating community colleges to New York and Pennsylvania, it is likely some students' employment is not documented in New Jersey records. The data does not include out-of-state employment, off-the-books employment, self-employed workers, farm workers, or military service members. The authors did not account for possible differences in the types of institutions where the students received their training, which could have impacted the outcomes.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is moderate it was based on a well-implemented nonexperimental design. This means we are somewhat confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the NJ-PREP, but other factors might also have contributed. However, the study did not find statistically significant effects.

Reviewed by CLEAR

May 2020

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