Presents the findings from an implementation and impact evaluation of Pathways to Allied Health Professions a capacity-building initiative at Rogue Community College designed to address local healthcare worker shortages in two Oregon counties by preparing 2,675 students for employment in high-wage, high-skill occupations.

“Pathways to Allied Health Professions (PATH) at Rogue Community College (RCC) [in Oregon]….was designed as a capacity-building initiative to address local healthcare worker shortages prioritized by the largest healthcare employers in [two] counties. The project brought [RCC]…new allied health profession education and training [and]…curricular and program innovations, strong industry engagement, and intensive use of data to better serve the region” (p.4).

“A series of courses and programs…can be completed in less than one year and offered employer/industry recognized credentials, including the Basic Healthcare Certificate, the Community Health Worker training, the National Career Readiness Certificate…Nursing Assistant 101…and Certified Nursing Assistant 2…offerings” (p.1).

“The support services that were enhanced through the PATH grant include the hiring of a navigation coach to provide advising and career guidance to students, as well as a partnership with the local Job Council…[and] local healthcare industry partners” (p.9). The Job Council provides career guidance, workshops, and certificate programs (p.16).

This report presents findings from an implementation and impact evaluation of the PATH grant. “The implementation evaluation [conducted in 2012] included a two-step evaluation with a focus on the initial assessment of the program plan and curriculum as well as an ongoing assessment of how the program was implemented” (p.4). Data sources included focus groups with the RCC team and interviews with partners.

“The ongoing formative assessment focused on the operational strengths and weaknesses of the programs…. Formative data regarding staffing, delivery methods (assessment, recruitment, and career guidance), participation, and partner contributions were collected…through staff and student surveys as well as partner interviews during each year of the grant” (p.5).

“[The evaluation team] developed a historical comparison cohort method of evaluating TAACCCT program outcomes. This method [enabled the authors] to compare outcomes for participants in the grant-funded training with participants in historical cohorts that were comparable on key dimensions such as learning objectives, credential attainment, and certification outcomes” (p.8).

 (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Full publication title: Final Evaluation Report: Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant: Round 2 – Rogue Community College 

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Overall, [the] evaluation showed that the PATH program provided excellent career guidance to students whether in the form of The Job Council, work based learning opportunities, informal guidance provided by instructors, or the navigation coach. Although academic advising was not as prevalent as career guidance, students did feel that the PATH program was helping them to select the right courses for their career path” (p.1). “Leveraging partnerships with local industry partners is something that RCC PATH excelled at over the course of the grant….By year two of the grant, RCC industry partners had been engaged in program design, curriculum development, and recruiting, as well as in the training of instructors. Industry involvement in year four showed a slight decrease in certain program activities, particularly with regard to program management, leveraging of resources, and student recruitment. There was also a disparity between staff and industry ratings of commitment to program sustainability. From the staff perspective, this is something they would like to have seen more of from the industry partners…” (p.1-2). “PATH student academic outcomes showed success for the grant program with 440 out of 561 enrolled students completing a PATH program, for a completion rate of 78.4%. Further, 368 participants (66%) earned a credential and 35% went on to enroll in further educational programs. Although employment data were not available for all TAACCCT participants, self-report data showed that a sample of students were anticipating wage increases as a result of the course or program” (p.2). “Although comparison group cohorts showed higher percentages of program completers and credential earned, the differences were less than ten percent in both instances and not statistically significant. With treatment group percentages at 75% for both of these outcomes, the majority of students enrolled in these new or modified programs are achieving these educational outcomes. The treatment group students showed excellent employment outcomes as well with 95% of incumbent workers earning a wage increase and 86% of those who entered employment, retaining employment for at least two quarters. On the whole, these results are promising relative to those of comparison group students, who had a higher entered employment rate by 11% but a lower retention rate by 57%. These results suggest that PATH programs are setting students up for long-term employment” (p.2). (Abstractor: Author)