The Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement (VIDA), a non-profit, community-based organization in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, supports training for low-income adults to obtain certificates and degrees that are expected to lead to well-paid jobs in demand locally.
Abt Associates’ evaluation of VIDA found in the six years since random assignment that VIDA:
- increased by 12 percentage points receipt of longer-term college certificates and degrees
- had positive impacts on college enrollment in each of the first five years
- increased the share of participants who earned a college credential and later enrolled in additional training
- did not lead to detectable earnings impacts
- did not produce a detectable increase in most measures of job quality but increased self-assessed career progress and access to a career network
- may have reduced financial distress and receipt of means-tested public benefits but had no positive detectable impact on other measures of economic or general well-being
Abt evaluated VIDA as part of the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education project, a multi-site experimental study of nine programs using elements of the career pathways approach. The evaluation is funded by the Administration for Children and Families. This report extends earlier three-year post-random assignment analyses of VIDA’s impacts through six years on educational attainment, earnings, employment, and other life outcomes.