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HHS/ACF reported RCT results for HPOG 2.0, a major federal demonstration program that trains low-income adults for skilled healthcare jobs. Quick take: High-quality RCT finds no program impact on participant earnings over 3-4 years, despite increasing completion of training (i.e., % earning any new credential) by 14% points.












  • HPOG's statutory goal is to fund "demonstration projects that provide [low-income adults] with the opportunity to obtain education and training for occupations in the healthcare field that pay well and are expected to either experience labor shortages or be in high demand."


Study Design:

  • This is a large, ongoing RCT with a sample of over 50,000 low-income adults across the U.S.

  • For this interim report, the study analyzed earnings outcomes using administrative data for all 23,068 individuals randomized between 2/2016 & 2/2018, & other outcomes using surveys for the 4,971 individuals randomized between 9/2017 & 1/2018.

  • Based on careful review (e.g., of baseline balance, sample attrition), this is a high-quality RCT.



  • Key findings: At 3 year mark, HPOG increased completion of training (i.e., % earning any new credential) by 14% points, & caused a modest 7% point shift of workers into healthcare (vs other) jobs. But these effects did not lead to any gain in earnings over 3-4 years (see above graph) or most other well-being measures.

  • For example, the study found no impact on the percent reporting "trouble making ends meet" (26% T vs 26% C), or on self-reported progress toward long-range education & career goals. It found a small, statistically significant impact on the percent currently in a job offering health insurance (49% T vs 44% C).



  • An earlier version of HPOG (HPOG 1.0) was also found in a large RCT to have no earnings impacts (in that case, over a 6 year follow-up).

  • A key insight from the HPOG 2.0 study, alongside other education/training RCTs, is that credential receipt doesn't always lead to improved economic well-being; the details/content of the training program really matter.

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