16: Federal support for evaluation – Pathways for Careers and Education
Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE), formerly known as Innovative Strategies for Increasing Self-Sufficiency (ISIS), is a large-scale, rigorous evaluation of nine innovative career pathways programs across the country.111 The evaluation is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF).112
The evaluation uses randomised assignment evaluation. Year Up is participating in the programme, along with a number of colleges, workforce partnerships and not-for-profit organisations across the United States. The programmes vary in nature but all promote access to and completion of post-secondary education, and target low-income, low-skilled adults and youth. All programmes also place emphasis on building successful partnerships.
A total of eight Year Up sites are involved and there are some site-specific variations to the Year Up programme. For example, Year Up New York is working to align its project management curriculum with the requirements for certification, and Boston and New York sites have implemented or are piloting a business math class as part of their professional skills curricula. Young people eligible for the programme were assigned via lottery to either a treatment group that can participate in the programme or a control group that cannot participate but can access other services in the community. Any differences detected between the two groups in the follow up period will be attributed to Year Up.
PACE attempts to tackle two major challenges to successful evaluation: how to determine more effective programme components and how to determine intermediate outcomes on vital casual paths so that future evaluation findings can be obtained more quickly. The programme is currently underway and there should be results available in two to three years.