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Summaries of RCT Grants

RCT of Year Up’s Professional Training Corps – a workforce training program for economically disadvantaged urban young adults

This grant will fund the extended follow-up of two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to evaluate the impact of Year Up’s Professional Training Corps (PTC), as well as alternate strategies for PTC implementation.

Grant Recipient: Abt Associates

Term: 2019 –2022

Principal Investigators: David Fein, Ph.D., Abt Associates

Rebecca Maynard, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Funding: $499,162

Summary: This grant will fund the extended follow-up of two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to evaluate the impact of Year Up’s Professional Training Corps (PTC), as well as alternate strategies for PTC implementation. The grant will also provide modest initial support for a planning phase of an RCT to evaluate the PTC program at a national scale.

The PTC program is a lower-cost version of Year Up’s core program. The core program a national workforce training program for economically disadvantaged urban young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 that focuses on specific economic sectors with jobs in high demand – namely, information technology and financial services. A well-conducted RCT of Year Up’s core program, conducted by Abt Associates at eight urban sites across the United States, found that it produced a 40% ($7,011) increase in participants’ annual earnings in the third year after random assignment, compared to the control group.

However, Year Up’s core program is expensive – approximately $34,500 per participant in 2018 – which motivated the development and testing of PTC as a lower-cost version that, hopefully, can produce comparable, impressive impacts. PTC achieves its lower cost – approximately $20,000 per participant when delivered at scale – by partnering with community colleges, thereby leveraging the colleges’ facilities and resources. For both the core program and PTC, employers bear more than 50% of the program’s cost.

The two RCTs that comprise this project are ongoing, but Arnold Ventures funding will allow longer-term follow-up of both studies. Specifically, the first RCT will measure PTC’s impact on college enrollment, college persistence, employment rates, and average earnings over a three-year follow-up period, with a sample of 552 students. The second RCT, testing alternate strategies for PTC implementation, will measure the impact of the different strategies on college persistence and earnings over a four-year period, with a sample of 319 students. Outcomes will be measured using various administrative databases. The project will also include a streamlined implementation study to gauge the program’s readiness for delivery on a larger scale.

The study’s pre-specified analysis plan is linked here.

Grants

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