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Earlier this year, HHS/OPRE reported long-term RCT results for the federal Health Profession Opportunity Grants program (HPOG 1.0), which trains low-income adults for healthcare jobs. Quick take: Large, high-quality RCT finds no earnings impacts over 6 years.


  • Congress created HPOG in 2010 to “provide eligible individuals 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 was a large, well-conducted RCT with a sample of 13,802 low-income adults in 19 states.


  • Program participants saw a major rise in earnings over 6 years (from about $7K annually to about $24K). But the control group saw an almost identical rise (see above graph).

  • A typical non-rigorous evaluation, examining whether participants earned more after the program than before, would have concluded the program greatly increased earnings, whereas the opposite was true: program participants earned no more than an equivalent group of non-participants in the control group.

  • This underscores why a control group is needed to determine whether a program is effective.


  • Another RCT of a revised version of HPOG is now underway (HPOG 2.0). The early results - 3 year earnings impacts - are not encouraging (but still preliminary).

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