This report provides implementation and early impact findings from the Carreras en Salud (Careers in Health) program, operated by Instituto del Progreso Latino, in Chicago, Illinois.
Healthcare workforce demands create opportunities for low-income, low-skilled adults to gain entry-level employment, and advance to higher-skilled, higher-paying jobs. Almost all jobs in healthcare require some level of postsecondary education or training. But, many low-income, low-skilled adults face considerable barriers for entry-level jobs.
Career pathways programs are designed to address barriers by providing well-articulated training and employment steps targeted to locally in-demand jobs, combined with a range of supports. Policymakers and practitioners have shown great interest in the career pathways approach. But, to date, limited rigorous research is available on its effects on participants’ educational and economic outcomes.
As part of Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families, the Carreras en Salud evaluation uses random assignment to compare outcomes between treatment and control groups.
Key Findings & Highlights
• The Carreras en Salud program operated largely as designed. Students were placed in courses depending on their basic skills level along a seven-step career pathway, beginning with an English as a Second Language course for those as low as fourth-grade skill levels and continuing through the college-level LPN course. Carreras also provided a range of supports including academic advising, assistance with support services, employment assistance, and tuition support.
• The vast majority of treatment group members participated in at least one Carreras course, and completion rates for many of programs were high. A significant portion of students progressed to the next course. The most common courses attended were in the “middle” of the Carreras pathway, and few reached the upper level LPN course within the study’s 18- month follow-up period.
• The Carreras 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 Carreras program increased employment in the healthcare field and reduced the proportion experiencing financial hardships.
Instituto del Progresso Latino's Carreras en Salud Implementation and Early Impact: