Findings from the Instituto del Progreso Latino, Carreras en Salud 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
Carreras en Salud (“Careers in Health”) Cover
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  • File Size 3mb
  • Pages 6
  • Published 2019


This brief summarizes the implementation and early impacts of the Carreras en Salud (Careers in Health) program, operated by Instituto del Progreso Latino, in Chicago, Illinois. The Carreras en Salud program aims to help low-income, low-skilled adults access and complete occupational training that can lead to increased employment and higher earnings. A distinctive feature of this program is a full healthcare career pathway, starting at Career English as a Second Language and continuing through Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). It is among nine career pathways programs being evaluated in 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 the Carreras en Salud program increased hours of occupational training and basic skills instruction received and the attainment of education credentials within an 18-month follow-up period. Future reports will examine whether these effects translate into gains in employment and earnings.

Primary Research Questions

  1. 1 What intervention was actually implemented? Did it deviate from plans or expectations?
  2. 2 What were students’ participation patterns and experiences with program services?
  3. 3 What were the effects of Carreras en Salud on educational attainment, including hours of occupational training and basic skills instruction received and receipt of credentials, and other educational outcomes?


The goal of the Carreras program is to help low-income Latinos improve their basic skills and enroll in occupational training to gain the necessary skills and credentials for jobs as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). The Carreras program features a series of courses—from basic skills instruction (for participants who need it, designed specifically for those interested in nursing occupations) through college-level instruction. It also provides an array of services to support students while they attend classes. The program consists of five elements: (1) a structured healthcare training pathway, starting at low skill levels; (2) contextualized and accelerated basic skills and ESL instruction; (3) academic advising and non-academic supports; (4) financial assistance; and (5) employment services.

Key Findings and Highlights

  • The program increased the hours of occupational training (the confirmatory outcome measured in this report) and basic skills instruction received over the follow-up period. The treatment group was also more likely than the control group to receive career counseling, help arranging supports, and job search assistance.
  • The treatment group earned more credentials than the control group, primarily from a licensing or certification organization.
  • The program increased employment in the healthcare field and reduced the proportion of treatment group members experiencing financial hardships.


The Carreras en Salud evaluation included 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. Between November 2011 and September 2014, the evaluation randomly assigned 800 program applicants to either the treatment or the control group. Prior to estimating Carreras en Salud impacts, the research team published an analysis plan specifying key hypotheses and outcome measures. Data sources included a follow-up survey conducted approximately 18 months after random assignment, administrative records from Instituto del Progreso Latino, and site visits to document program implementation and operations.

Last Reviewed: June 12, 2019