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Findings from the San Diego County Bridge to Employment in the Healthcare Industry Program Implementation and Early Impact Report

June 13, 2019
Self-Sufficiency, Welfare & Employment
Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE), 2007-2018 | Learn more about this project
Bridge to Employment in the Healthcare Industry Cover
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  • File Size 2mb
  • Pages 5
  • Published 2019


This brief summarizes the implementation and early impacts of the Bridge to Employment in the Healthcare Industry program. Designed by the San Diego Workforce Partnership and operated by three community-based organizations in San Diego County, California, Bridge to Employment is one promising effort to help low-income, low-skilled adults access and complete occupational training that can lead to increased employment and higher earnings. It is one of nine career pathways programs being evaluated under the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) study sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families. Using a rigorous research design, the study found that Bridge to Employment increased the credentials its participants received and increased employment in a healthcare occupation within the 18-month follow-up period. Future reports will examine whether these effects translate into economic gains in the workplace in the longer term.

Primary Research Questions

  1. 1 Was the intervention actually implemented as designed?
  2. 2 How did services received differ between study participants who could access the Bridge to Employment program versus those who could not?
  3. 3 What were the effects of the program on credentials received?


San Diego Workforce Partnership received a Health Profession Opportunity Grant from ACF to implement Bridge to Employment in the Healthcare Industry. The program aimed to engage low-income adults in college and facilitate their academic and career progress. The program consisted of five components: Assessments to determine eligibility for training programs; Navigation and case management services to help students choose their training and address barriers to participation; Individual training account (ITA) vouchers to cover the cost of training; Supportive services for transportation, child care, and other services; and Employment services to help participants find employment after training.

Key Findings and Highlights

  • Bridge to Employment increased enrollment in a healthcare training program.
  • Most treatment group members who attended training chose to enroll in training offered by for-profit private schools.
  • Bridge to Employment increased credential receipt.


The Bridge to Employment in the Healthcare Industry evaluation includes an implementation study that examines the design and operation of the program and enrolled students’ participation patterns, and an impact study that uses an experimental design to measure differences in educational and employment outcomes. From July 2012 to October 2013, more than 1,000 program applicants were randomly assigned to either the treatment or the control group. Prior to estimating Bridge to Employment impacts, the research team published an analysis plan specifying key hypotheses and outcome measures. The impact study used data from a follow-up survey at 18 months after random assignment.

Last Reviewed: June 12, 2019