This May 2016 report focuses on the evaluation of four U. S. Department of Labor-funded grantees that are part of the Pathways Out of Poverty Grant Program (Pathways) and the Healthcare and Other High Growth and Emerging Industries Grant Program (Healthcare) grant programs. Pathways funded training programs in “green” occupations with target population of those living within high-poverty areas, with an emphasis on unemployed individuals, high school dropouts, and those with a criminal record. Healthcare provided resources for unemployed, dislocated, and incumbent workers to prepare them to enter employment.
The four grantees were purposively selected for the evaluation based on their program design and scale. The evaluation included both an implementation study to examine the design and operation of each of the four programs and an impact study that used an experimental research design to determine the effects of each grantee’s program on participants’ earnings and educational attainment. The evaluation describes the implementation and impacts of each of the selected grantees’ programs separately. The study is not designed to estimate the overall implementation or effect of all the Pathways or Health Care grant programs. The Pathways grantee that participated in the study was Grand Rapids Community College. The Healthcare grantees were the American Indian Opportunities Industrialization Center, Kern Community College District, and North Central Texas College.
Major Findings & Recommendations
- The grantee programs were successful in reaching disadvantaged populations, but the populations they served varied in alignment with the training approach.
- Programs achieved high participation levels and some individuals participated in multiple training programs.
- Programs had high completion rates, possibly due to the short length of training and range of supports provided.
- The strength and nature of grantees’ partnerships with employers varied.
- Both grantees that focused on “green” industries found that jobs in the sector did not materialize as expected.
- Grantees reported sustained institutional benefits from operating the grant.