Absence of conflict of interest.
WorkED Consulting. (2018). Southern Regional Technical College TAACCCT: Healthcare Career Works! (HCW) program third-party evaluation final report. Burke, VA: WorkED Consulting.
- The study’s objective was to examine the impact of the Healthcare Career Works! (HCW) program on education outcomes.
- The authors used a nonexperimental design to compare differences in education outcomes between HCW participants and a matched comparison group.
- The study found no statistically significant relationships between the HCW program and program completion.
- The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the authors did not ensure that the groups being compared were similar before the intervention. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the HCW program; other factors are likely to have contributed.
Healthcare Career Works! (HCW)
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.
Healthcare Career Works! (HCW) was a TAACCCT funded project to provide accelerated training in healthcare careers at Southern Regional Technical College in Thomasville, Georgia. The HCW program added a new associate degree program in Health Information Technology and expanded the Nursing program. The HCW program redesigned the delivery of the courses through increased technology to serve greater numbers of students, updated courses (including foundation courses) to better align with licensing and accreditation standards, and expanded certificates to stacked and latticed credentials. It also provided wraparound services to support students, including an occupational coach who advised and assisted students with college issues such as financial aid. The occupational coach provided career guidance and assisted students with employment placement. HCW targeted TAA-eligible, unemployed and dislocated workers, and veterans. Local industry employers were engaged and provided assistance with curriculum and program development, employments skills, and on campus interviews for candidates.
Features of the Study
The study used a nonexperimental design to compare the outcomes of students in the enhanced HCW program to a matched comparison group. The treatment group included students who enrolled in four HCW degree programs between Fall 2015-Spring 2018 (AS in Nursing – Bridge, AS in Nursing – Generic, Health Information Coding Diploma, and Health Information Management Technology Degree). The comparison group included students who enrolled in the same four HCW degree programs between Spring 2011-Spring 2017. The authors matched HCW program participants to similar nonparticipants using propensity scores developed from demographic and academic information. Study participants included 521 students in the treatment group and 521 students in the comparison group. Using college administrative data and HCW participant surveys, the authors conducted statistical models to examine differences in program completion rates and completion time between the groups.
Education and skills gain
- The study found that HCW participation was associated with higher rates of program completion and shorter time to completion relative to the comparison group. However, no tests of statistical significance were provided.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The authors used propensity score matching to create a comparison group; however, they did not account for preexisting differences between the groups in baseline education outcomes. These preexisting differences between the groups—and not the HCW program—could explain the observed differences in outcomes. Therefore, the study is not eligible for a moderate causal evidence rating, the highest rating available for nonexperimental designs.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the authors did not ensure that the groups being compared were similar before the intervention. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the HCW program; other factors are likely to have contributed.