Pima Community College’s Pathways to Healthcare Program: Three-Year Impact Report

May 6, 2020
Topics:
Self-Sufficiency, Welfare & Employment
Projects:
Career Pathways Intermediate Outcomes (CPIO) Study, 2014-2019 | Learn more about this project, Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE), 2007-2018 | Learn more about this project
Types:
Reports
This is the Pima Community College’s Pathways to Healthcare Program: Three-Year Impact Report Cover
Download report (pdf)
  • File Size 2mb
  • Pages 70
  • Published 2020

Introduction

This report documents the impacts three years after random assignment for the Pathways to Healthcare program, operated by Pima Community College and Pima County One Stop in Tucson, Arizona. The program aimed to help low-income, low-skilled adults access and complete occupational training that could lead to increased employment and higher earnings. Pathways to Healthcare consisted of five elements:

  1. Mapping 16 existing healthcare occupational training programs into five pathways, each incorporating a ladder that enabled students to obtain stackable credentials;
  2. Proactive advising such as career counseling;
  3. Scholarships for tuition and books;
  4. Two compressed basic skills programs that in one semester remediated students whose low skills prevented them from enrolling directly in training; and
  5. Job search assistance.

Pathways to Healthcare is part of the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) study. Funded by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, PACE is a multi-site experimental evaluation of nine programs aimed at helping low-income adults to access career pathways. The Career Pathways Intermediate Outcomes (CPIO) Study extends the follow-up period to three years for programs in the PACE Study. Future reports produced by the Career Pathways Long-Term Outcomes Study will extend the follow-up period further. 

Research Questions

  1. 1 Three years after random assignment, what were the effects of Pathways to Healthcare on educational outcomes?
  2. 2 Three years after random assignment, what were the effects of Pathways to Healthcare on entry into career-track employment and higher earnings?
  3. 3 Three years after random assignment, what were the effects of Pathways to Healthcare on individual and family well-being, including income and other life outcomes?

Purpose

Pathways to Healthcare was an effort to address the increased demand in the local labor market for workers in the healthcare sector and provide improved labor market opportunities for low-income, low-skilled adults. It operated between 2010 and 2016 with funding from the ACF Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) Program. Pathways to Healthcare was organized as a pathway that trained students for entry-level occupations, such as Certified Nursing Assistant and Medical Office Clerk, as well as for higher-level positions, such as Licensed Practical Nurse and Health Information Technology-related jobs. It incorporated a range of financial, academic, employment, and personal supports and services.

This research was undertaken to evaluate whether Pathways to Healthcare was successful in providing training to low-income, low-skilled adults and whether the program’s efforts led to impacts on credentials, earnings, healthcare employment, and other life outcomes.

Key Findings and Highlights

Analyses in this report indicate that after three years, Pathways to Healthcare:

  • Increased the receipt of postsecondary credentials taking a year or more of college to earn—one of the two confirmatory outcomes in this report.

The program increased the receipt of postsecondary credentials taking a year or more of college to earn from 11 percent to 18 percent, an impact of 7 percentage points. Credentials that typically require at least a year of college are associated with higher-level pathway courses, such as Licensed Practical Nurse and Medical Assistant. The program increased receipt of college credentials taking less than a year from 6 to 26 percent, a noticeably larger 20 percentage point impact. Credentials associated with short-term training include Certified Nursing Assistant and Medical Office Clerk.

  • Had no detectable impact on average quarterly earnings in follow-up quarters 12-13, the second of two confirmatory outcomes in this report.

Treatment and control group members both earned about $4,000 per quarter in quarters 12 and 13 after random assignment. There was no evidence of positive impacts on earnings through quarter 18.

  • Had no detectable impact on employment overall as of three years after random assignment, but increased employment in the healthcare field.

Slightly less than two thirds of both the treatment and control groups reported being employed as of the follow-up survey. About 40 percent of the treatment group self-reported employment in the healthcare field, an increase of 5 percentage points over the control group. There were no detectable impacts on characteristics of job quality, such as jobs that pay at least $14 per hour, require “at least mid-level skills,” or offer health insurance.

Methods

The Pathways to Healthcare evaluation used 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, then compared their average outcomes. From February 2012 to February 2014, more than 1,200 applicants were randomly assigned. The impact study used data from a follow-up survey conducted three years after random assignment, administrative records from Pima Community College, earnings records from the National Directory of New Hires, and college enrollment data from the National Student Clearinghouse. The study measured impacts on training, employment, and earnings outcomes approximately three years after random assignment for all measures and up to five years for select earnings and education measures with available administrative data.

Citation

Litwok, Daniel, and Karen Gardiner (2020). Pima Community College’s Pathways to Healthcare Program: Three-Year Impact Report, OPRE Report No. 2020-43, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Last Reviewed: May 4, 2020