This report provides evidence on the implementation and early impacts of one promising effort to meet the needs of low-income students and local employers for skilled workers, the Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement (VIDA). VIDA, a community-based organization, is one of nine career pathways programs in the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) study sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families.
VIDA’s primary goal is for participants to graduate with an associate’s degree or industry-recognized certificate in a high-demand occupation and find employment that pays a living-wage. VIDA supports full-time enrollment at local colleges through required attendance at weekly intensive counseling sessions, as well as through substantial financial assistance. For participants who are not college-ready, VIDA offers an accelerated basic skills academy.
Using a rigorous research design, the study found that the VIDA program significantly increased the total number of college credits earned within a 24-month follow-up period. These effects are among the largest observed in rigorous studies of programs intended to increase low-income students’ enrollment and completion of post-secondary education. The program also increased rates of full-time college enrollment, enrollment more generally, and summer school enrollment. Finally, it increased the attainment of college credentials. Future reports will examine whether these effects translate into gains in employment and earnings.
Rolston, H., Copson, E., and Gardiner, K. (2017). Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement: Implementation and Early Impact Report, OPRE Report #2017-83, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.