image Visit coronavirus.govVisit disclaimer page for the latest Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) updates.
View ACF COVID-19 Responses and Resources

The San Diego Workforce Partnership’s Bridge to Employment in the Healthcare Industry Program: Three-Year Impact Report

September 24, 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 cover of The San Diego Workforce Partnership’s Bridge to Employment in the Healthcare Industry Program: Three-Year Impact Report
Download report (pdf)
  • File Size 1mb
  • Pages 82
  • Published 2020

Introduction

This report documents the impacts three years after random assignment for the Bridge to Employment in the Healthcare Industry program, operated between 2010 and 2015 by the San Diego Workforce Partnership in San Diego, California. Bridge to Employment aims to help low-income adults, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients, enroll in and complete occupational healthcare training and find healthcare employment.

Bridge to Employment is part of the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) project. 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 that incorporate some features of a career pathways framework.

Bridge to Employment combined five key components:

  1. Formal and informal assessments to help navigator staff determine applicants’ eligibility;
  2. Navigation and case management services to help students choose a healthcare training program (patient care, technical, or administrative) and address barriers;
  3. Individual training accounts (ITAs) to cover up to $7,000 ($10,000 for some occupations) of the cost of training;
  4. Supportive services to facilitate students’ enrollment and persistence; and
  5. Employment services to help students find employment after training.

This evaluation, the Career Pathways Intermediate Outcomes Study, extends the follow-up period to three years for programs in the PACE project. Future reports produced by the Career Pathways Long-Term Outcomes Study will extend the follow-up period further.

Primary Research Questions

  1. 1 Three years after random assignment, what were the effects of Bridge to Employment on: educational attainment, including healthcare credentials and exam-based certifications received; entry into career-track employment and higher earnings; and individual and family well-being, including income and other life outcomes.
  2. 2 Did the benefits of the Bridge to Employment program outweigh the costs from the perspectives of government, treatment group members, and society as a whole?

Purpose

The San Diego Workforce Partnership operated the Bridge to Employment program with funding from ACF’s Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) Program. Like all HPOG-funded programs, Bridge to Employment sought to address the dual goals of (1) helping low-income individuals enroll in and complete occupational healthcare training and find healthcare employment and (2) addressing the rising demand for healthcare workers. The program gave students ITA vouchers they could use at any accredited training provider in San Diego, along with case management, supportive services, and employment services.

This research was undertaken to evaluate whether Bridge to Employment 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:

  • Bridge to Employment increased receipt of postsecondary healthcare credentials and exam-based certifications, but had no detectable impact on average duration of education and training during the first three years after random assignment.

The program increased receipt of postsecondary healthcare credentials by 16 percentage points (35 percent in the control group versus 51 percent in the treatment group) and increased the receipt of exam-based certifications by 24 percentage points (36 percent in the control group versus 60 percent in the treatment group).

  • Bridge to Employment had no detectable impact on average quarterly earnings in follow-up quarters 12-13, the study’s single confirmatory outcome.

It is possible that Bridge to Employment had a meaningful impact on this outcome that the study simply did not detect because the variance in earnings was large and the sample relatively small.

  • Bridge to Employment increased employment in healthcare by 10 percentage points.

The program did not change the overall employment rate, however.

  • The program reduced personal student debt by $919, on average, and family student debt by $249.

The program did not, however, have a detectable impact on most other measures of financial well-being.

  • Because of imprecision in the earnings and educational costs estimates, it is not possible to definitively assess whether the benefits of the Bridge to Employment program are outweighed by the costs.

Due to uncertainty in underlying estimates, cost-benefit analysis findings indicate that both positive and negative net benefits are plausible.

Methods

To assess the effectiveness of Bridge to Employment, the PACE project used an experimental design in which 1,007 program applicants between July 2012 and October 2013 were randomly assigned to a treatment group (507 members) that could access the program or to a control group (500 members) that could not, then compared their outcomes. The impact study used data from a follow-up survey conducted three years after random assignment and earnings records from the federal National Directory of New Hires. The Bridge to Employment impact study measured impacts on training, employment, and earnings outcomes approximately three years after random assignment for all measures and close to five years after random assignment for earnings. The study included a cost-benefit analysis.

Citation

Farrell, Mary, Randall Juras, David Judkins, and Samuel Dastrup. 2020. The San Diego Workforce Partnership’s Bridge to Employment in the Healthcare Industry Program: Three-Year Impact Report. OPRE Report 2020-105. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Last Reviewed: September 22, 2020