Measuring Career Progress in the Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) 1.0 Program

Publication Date: December 4, 2017

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  • Published: 2017


Research Questions

  1. Do HPOG participants experience gains in career progress after program enrollment?
  2. Can measures of career progress be effective performance management indicators?

One of the HPOG Program’s major goals is to advance the healthcare careers of low-income individuals. This brief measures HPOG 1.0 participants’ progress in occupational training and employment and earnings for up to three years following program entry. Using HPOG Program and quarterly wage administrative data, the findings show improvements over time in training course completions, acquisition of occupational training credentials, and employment and earnings. The brief also considers the use of career progress measures as performance management indicators. The brief does not assess HPOG impacts, but reports on key outcomes experienced by HPOG participants following enrollment.


The major purpose of the brief is to focus on single and composite measures of career progress as indicators of HPOG participants’ potential movement along a career pathway following program entry. The measures include educational, employment and earnings outcomes, and the data allow for the observation of changes in these measures over time.

Key Findings and Highlights

The analysis of career progress in HPOG 1.0 found that:

  • More than half of HPOG participants advanced in education and more than half advanced in earnings within 1 year following program enrollment.
  • The percentage of HPOG participants advancing in education and the percentage advancing in earnings grew annually over the 3 years following enrollment.
  • By 3 years after enrollment, 85% of HPOG participants had advanced either in education or earnings and 43% had advanced in both.
  • 39% of HPOG participants with prior employment experience in healthcare at intake completed a training course for a higher-wage occupation by 3 years after enrollment.

The brief also recommends that ACF track trends in quarterly earnings as a management performance indicator for HPOG, noting the challenges and benefits of doing so.


The brief uses administrative data on occupational training completions, credential attainment, and quarterly employment and earnings to track multiple measures of HPOG participants’ career progress up to three years following enrollment. In addition to tracking these measures for all HPOG participants, the brief also tracks some measures for subgroups of interest, such as: those with healthcare jobs at program entry; those with past employment experience in healthcare; those receiving TANF cash assistance at program entry; and, those with no education beyond a high school diploma or equivalent at program entry.


Pamela Loprest, et al. (2017). Measuring Career Progress in the Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) 1.0 Program. OPRE Report 2017-111, Washington, D.C.: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Career progress:
advancement in occupational education and/or employment and earnings
HPOG Program:
the national HPOG initiative
HPOG program:
a distinct training program operated by an HPOG Program grantee
HPOG 1.0:
the first round of HPOG grants awarded in 2010
Healthcare training course:
all classes necessary to complete training for a specific occupation in healthcare
Current as of: