Career Pathways Research Portfolio Series

Career pathways programs connect education, training, and related supports in a pathway that is intended to lead to employment in a specific sector or occupation or to further training. The approach is gaining attention as a promising strategy to improve post-secondary education and training outcomes for low-income and low-skilled adults.

The Office of Planning Research, and Evaluation (OPRE)’s portfolio of research on career pathways represents the first rigorous research on the overall effectiveness of the career pathways approach. Beginning in 2007, with the launch of the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) project and continuing with the evaluations of the Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) Program administered by Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) Office of Family Assistance, ACF has developed a robust portfolio of research on the career pathways approach.

The Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education project was designed to produce rigorous evidence for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers about the effectiveness of nine career pathways approaches that sought to increase credentials, employment, and self-sufficiency among low-income, low-skilled Americans. PACE included nine program-specific evaluation reports. The study was led by Abt Associates, in partnership with MEF Associates, The Urban Institute, and the University of Michigan.

The Health Profession Opportunity Grants Program was created to provide education and training to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and other individuals with low incomes for occupations in the healthcare field that pay well and were expected to either experience labor shortages or be in high demand. HPOG was authorized as a demonstration program with a mandated federal evaluation. OPRE is utilizing a multi-pronged evaluation strategy to document the operations and assess the success of the HPOG Program. The evaluation strategy aims to provide information on program implementation, systems change, outcomes, and impacts.

For more information on OPRE's Career Pathways Research portfolio, please visit the Career Pathways web site.