Improving Economic Opportunity through Healthcare Training: Short-term Impact Results from the First Round of the Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG 1.0)

Publication Date: June 18, 2018
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Research Questions

  1. What were the characteristics of HPOG participants?
  2. What impacts did the HPOG programs as a group have on the outcomes of participants and their families and to what extent did those impacts vary across selected subpopulations?
  3. What are the impacts of selected program enhancements (emergency assistance, noncash incentives, facilitated peer support) to the standard HPOG program?

The first round of Health Profession Opportunity Grants (known as HPOG 1.0) funded education, training, support services, and employment assistance for recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other low-income individuals for jobs in the healthcare field. To assess its effectiveness, the first round of HPOG programs was evaluated using an experimental design in which program applicants were assigned at random to a “treatment” group that could access the program or a “control” group that could not. This brief summarizes key findings from the short-term impact study, which examines HPOG’s impact approximately 15 months after participants enrolled in the study.

Note: This brief was first published in June 2018. While preparing a subsequent report, the analysis team discovered an error in the code that produced estimates of impacts by subgroup. Those errors were corrected, and the correct results are reflected in the reissued brief, as of November 2019. The errors are localized to analyses of subgroups. As a result, the text on page 4 was revised.

Key Findings and Highlights

  • HPOG increased occupational training and receipt of academic support, career support, and other services.
  • More HPOG participants had completed or were currently enrolled in occupational training than would have been without HPOG, indicating that HPOG is on track toward its main objective of increasing labor market success.
  • Although there was no impact on employment in general, the treatment group was more likely than the control group to be employed in the healthcare sector (about 53 percent versus 41 percent, an impact of about 27 percent).
  • The treatment group earned about $137 more than the control group in the fifth follow-up quarter, an impact of about 4 percent.
  • HPOG was effective for a wide variety of people (across age, race/ethnicity, and parental status). It was generally even more effective for those who entered the program with some advantages: those with some college or a degree, with fewer barriers to school/work, who were employed at baseline, and who were not receiving TANF generally had larger impacts than their less advantaged counterparts.
  • A three-armed experiment allowed the evaluation to assess whether adding any of three selected program components to the standard HPOG program improved overall impacts. None of the three enhancements—emergency assistance, non-cash incentives, facilitated peer support—generated more favorable impacts, leading to the conclusion the standard HPOG program is sufficient to generate the overall impacts observed.


The HPOG 1.0 Impact Study used a rigorous experimental evaluation design to assess the impacts of 42 local HPOG programs in 23 grantees nationwide. The study’s impact analysis used administrative data from the first five quarters after study participants were randomized and data from a follow-up survey initiated 15 months after they were randomized.


Peck, Laura R., Gretchen Locke, and Douglas Walton. (2018). Improving Economic Opportunity through Healthcare Training: Short-Term Impact Results from the First Round of the Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG 1.0), OPRE Report #2018-66, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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