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Findings from the Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement 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
Valley Initiative For Development and Advancement (VIDA) Cover
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  • File Size 1mb
  • Pages 5
  • Published 2019


This brief summarizes the implementation and early impacts of the Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement (VIDA), a program that aims to meet the needs of low-income students and local employers for skilled workers. VIDA is one of nine career pathways programs 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 VIDA program significantly increased the total number of college credits earned within a 24-month follow-up period. The program also increased rates of full-time college enrollment, enrollment more generally, and summer school enrollment. Finally, it increased the attainment of college credentials. Future reports will examine whether these effects translate into gains in employment and earnings.

Primary Research Questions

  1. 1 What was the actual implementation of the intervention? Did it deviate from plans or expectations?
  2. 2 What were the students’ participation patterns and experiences with program services?
  3. 3 What were the main effects of VIDA on educational attainment, including college credits received, credentials received, and other educational outcomes?


VIDA aims to address employers’ needs for skilled workers and link unemployed and underemployed individuals in its service area with high skilled, high wage jobs identified in the region. VIDA’s primary goal is for participants to graduate with an associate’s degree or industry-recognized certificate in a high-demand occupation and find employment that pays a living-wage. VIDA supports full-time enrollment at local colleges through required attendance at weekly intensive counseling sessions, as well as through substantial financial assistance. For participants who are not college-ready, VIDA offers an accelerated basic skills academy.

Key Findings and Highlights

  • The treatment group earned significantly more college credits than the control group.
  • VIDA significantly increased rates of full-time college enrollment and enrollment more generally.
  • The treatment group members earned significantly more college credentials.


The VIDA evaluation included an implementation study that examines the design and operation of the program and participation patterns of participants and an impact study that uses an experimental design to measure the differences in education and employment outcomes. Between November 2011 and September 2014, the evaluation randomly assigned 958 program applicants to either the treatment or the control group. Prior to estimating VIDA impacts, the research team published an analysis plan specifying key hypotheses and outcome measures. Data sources included a follow-up survey conducted approximately 20 months after random assignment, administrative records from VIDA and college records from the local colleges that almost all treatment and control group members attended, and site visits to document program implementation and operations.

Last Reviewed: June 12, 2019