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The HPOG Training Opportunity: Participant Perspectives on Finding Motivation While Working and Taking Care of Family

Hannah Thomas and Anna Jefferson, Abt Global


June 27, 2022

The Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) Program provided education and occupational training to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and other adults with low incomes. HPOG training is for healthcare occupations that pay well and may experience labor shortages or be in high demand.

This report details common themes from interviews with working students of 14 HPOG 2.0 programs. It highlights common experiences and challenges they faced pursuing and completing their training, which include the competing demands of working to pay for household expenses and caring for family members.

Key findings suggest additional logistical and financial support might increase program completion rates; students’ willingness to enroll in subsequent, higher-level training; and ultimately earnings. Recommendations for further support include:

1. Additional financial assistance—such as stipends to cover costs of maintaining a household/caring for family members or with emergency costs.

2. Financial and logistical support for caretaking responsibilities—to better meet participants’ needs and reduce their stress levels throughout training.

3. Greater program flexibility—to make up classes missed while responding to emergency situations and schedule conflicts, for example.

4. Motivational messaging—promoting the well-being of participants’ children as a major incentive to complete training. Frequent reminders that connect to participants’ motivations could increase program completion.

This is part of a series of briefs describing lessons from HPOG 2.0 participants. The series aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of motivations for enrolling in a career pathways program; managing work, training, and life balance; and services that facilitate their success.