Examines the healthcare-focused education and training provided to TANF recipients and low-income individuals at 5 tribal agencies and community colleges funded by the Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG).
“The Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG), authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and administered by the Office of Family Assistance in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), US Department of Health and Human Services, provides education and training opportunities for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and other low-income individuals. ACF funded 32 HPOG grants, five of which were awarded to tribal organizations and tribal colleges. The five grants funded include Blackfeet Community College (BCC) in Montana, Cankdeska Cikana Community College (CCCC) in North Dakota, College of Menominee Nation (CMN) in Wisconsin, Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc. (CITC) in Alaska, and Turtle Mountain Community College (TMCC) in North Dakota.

ACF’s Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) contracted with NORC at the University of Chicago (NORC) and its partners, Red Star Innovations and the National Indian Health Board (NIHB), to conduct the Evaluation of the Tribal HPOG Program. The evaluation team used both qualitative and quantitative methods to address the structures, processes, and outcomes of the Tribal HPOG grantees. Throughout the evaluation, the tribal evaluation team has worked to conduct a culturally responsive evaluation by receiving input from partners, advisors and most importantly, the Tribal HPOG grantees. The evaluation team analyzed qualitative data obtained through site visits to each of the Tribal HPOG grantees and telephone interviews with Tribal HPOG students as well as quantitative data collected through the HPOG Performance Reporting System (PRS) to support the qualitative findings (p.i).

(Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“The evaluation team conducted four site visits to each of the Tribal HPOG programs. Listed below are key findings from the evaluation” (p.i): “Program Processes • Grantees established screening processes that allowed grantees to confirm eligibility of potential HPOG students and provided the opportunity to facilitate the enrollment of qualified, dedicated participants. • All grantees developed formal orientation processes to inform students about the HPOG program and program expectations related to attendance and grades. • Grantees reported three key retention strategies: extensive screening processes for prospective HPOG students, systems for accountability, and the provision of supportive services. • The sense of community within Tribal colleges and communities and program staffs’ knowledge of students’ personal and family circumstances allowed them to provide targeted support to students. • Students were highly satisfied with the quality of instruction received and the dedication of their instructors. Program Outcomes • A total of 2,270 students were enrolled over the five-year grant period (9/30/2010 -9/30/2015) across all five Tribal HPOG grantees. • Over the five year grant period, 1,483 out of the 2,270 enrollees (65.3 percent) had completed one or more healthcare trainings. • At program intake, 65 percent of participants (1,468) were unemployed, 20 percent (458) were employed in a non-healthcare field, and 15 percent (134) were employed in a healthcare field. Almost half of the participants who were unemployed at intake became employed at some time after intake. • The three more rural grantees (BCC, TMCC, CCCC) experienced challenges with finding local healthcare employment for HPOG participants, making it necessary for participants to move to urban areas to find employment, which many participants were not willing or interested in doing. • Overall, stakeholders, including program staff, instructors, and students, were satisfied with the Tribal HPOG Program. Many students noted that they would not have been able to complete a program without both the social and financial supportive services of the Tribal HPOG Program” (p.ii). (Abstractor: Author)