This report documents the implementation and early impacts of the Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement (VIDA) program in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas.
VIDA is one promising effort to help low-income, low-skilled adults access and complete occupational training that can lead to increased employment and higher earnings. It is one of nine career pathways programs being evaluated under the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) study sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families.
The evaluation of VIDA included an implementation study and an impact study. In the latter, program applicants were assigned at random to a “treatment” group who could access the program or a “control” group who could not, and compared their outcomes after 24 months.
The implementation study found that 97 percent of treatment group members participated in occupational training – most often in nursing or allied health – 91 percent earned college credits, and 55 percent earned one or more college credentials. Approximately one in 10 began College Prep Academy – an accelerated basic skills program; 85 percent of them continued to occupational training.
The impact study found that the treatment group earned significantly more college credits and college credentials than did the control group. Impacts on college credits were stronger for treatment group members who had a High School diploma or GED or less than a year of college at study baseline. VIDA’s educational impacts are among the largest observed in rigorous studies of college program interventions.
Future reports will examine whether these effects translate into gains in employment and earnings.
VIDA Implementation and Early Impact: