National Evaluation of the 2nd Generation of Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG 2.0 National Evaluation)

The Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) Program, administered by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, supports demonstration projects that provide Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and other low-income individuals with the opportunity to obtain education and training for occupations in the healthcare field that pay well and are expected to either experience labor shortages or be in high demand. In September 2015, ACF awarded a second round of five-year HPOG grants (referred to as HPOG 2.0) to 32 organizations (including 5 Tribal Organizations) across 21 states, and concurrently launched separate evaluations of the new tribal and non-tribal grant programs. For more information about the Tribal HPOG 2.0 Evaluation, see the Tribal HPOG 2.0 page.

The HPOG 2.0 National Evaluation is rigorously assessing the impacts of HPOG programs administered by non-tribal HPOG 2.0 grantees. The 27 non-tribal grantees operate 38 HPOG programs across 17 states. The HPOG 2.0 National Evaluation includes three components:

  • A descriptive evaluation will examine program implementation, participant outcomes, and changes to local service delivery systems.
  • An impact evaluation will randomly assign eligible participants to either a treatment group that will be allowed to receive HPOG services or a control group that will not have access to HPOG but will be allowed to receive other services available in the community (“business as usual”) to assess the impacts of HPOG 2.0.
  • A cost benefit study will assess the costs and benefits of a standard HPOG program.

The descriptive evaluation component of the HPOG 2.0 National Evaluation includes three studies–implementation, outcomes, and systems change studies. Across the 27 non-tribal grantees, these studies will examine program operations including participant recruitment and enrollment practices, program services, and key partner roles and responsibilities; participant outcomes; and the interaction between local service delivery systems and HPOG program design and implementation. The studies’ major research questions are:

  • Implementation Study
    • How is HPOG 2.0 designed and implemented?
    • What is the nature of the labor markets in which HPOG 2.0 operates?
    • What innovative and/or promising strategies have programs implemented in the following areas:
      • Employer engagement,
      • Providing training in the career pathways framework,
      • Providing work-readiness training, and
      • Providing for program sustainability after the HPOG program grants end?
  • Outcomes Study
    • What are the characteristics of HPOG 2.0 participants?
    • At what rate do participants engage in program activities, training courses, and support services?
    • What are participants’ education, employment, and earnings outcomes?
  • Systems Study
    • What are the local service delivery systems in which HPOG programs operate?
    • How did implementation of the HPOG programs influence local service delivery systems?
    • How did local service delivery systems influence the implementation of the HPOG programs?

Similar to the first-round evaluation of HPOG, the impact evaluation of HPOG 2.0 will estimate the impacts of the HPOG grants to inform future program design and improvement. The impact evaluation will measure the effect of the grant-funded training programs in the near- and intermediate terms (approximately 15 and 36 months after the offer of training, respectively). To support these studies, the evaluation expects to randomize more than 40,000 individuals across the 27 non-tribal grantees. Key research questions for the impact evaluation are:

  • What is the impact of an offer of an HPOG 2.0 slot on participant educational progress, employment, and earnings?
  • What is the impact of an offer of an HPOG 2.0 slot on receipt of training, financial assistance, child care, financial assistance for child care, and various forms of counseling?
  • Do impacts vary by key participant characteristics?
  • Are some program features and implementation strategies associated with readiness to work or increased earnings in the near or intermediate term?

The final component of the National Evaluation of HPOG 2.0 is a cost benefit study. Using data collected for the descriptive and impact evaluations, the cost benefit study will assess the costs and benefits of a standard HPOG program. The study’s main research question is:

  • What are the benefits and costs of the HPOG 2.0 Program from the perspectives of program participants; federal, state, and local governments; and society as a whole?


Organization Name State
HPOG Programs Participating in the National Evaluation
Pima County Community College District AZ
Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board, Inc. CT
The WorkPlace CT
Chicago State University IL
Kansas Department of Commerce KS
Workforce Investment Board SDA-83, Inc. LA
Volunteers of America Michigan MI
Missouri Department of Social Services MO
Central Community College NE
Action for a Better Community, Inc. NY
Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Development Consortium Inc. NY
Hostos Community College/RF NY
Montefiore Medical Center NY
Schenectady County Community College NY
Zepf Center OH
Community Action Project of Tulsa County Inc. OK
Rogue Community College District OR
Worksystems, Inc. OR
Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit PA
Community College of Allegheny County PA
South Carolina Department of Social Services SC
Alamo Community College District TX
San Jacinto Community College District TX
Volunteers of America Texas TX
Goodwill Industries of the Valleys VA
Edmonds Community College WA
Workforce Development Council of Seattle – King County WA



HPOG Impact Partners and Sponsors

OPREThe Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE). OPRE is the principal advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, on increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of programs designed to improve the economic and social well-being of children and families.


Abt Associates logoAbt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries.


MEF AssociatesMEF Associates works to improve the lives of vulnerable children and youth, adults, and families through evaluation, research, and analysis to support the effectiveness of programs designed to help them.


NORC at the University of ChicagoNORC at the University of Chicago is an independent research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. NORC collaborates with government agencies, foundations, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and businesses to develop enduring knowledge that supports evidence-based decisions.


Urban Institute LogoUrban Institute fosters sound public policy and effective government by analyzing policies, evaluating programs, and informing community development to improve social, civic, and economic well-being.


Insight Policy Research is a nonpartisan policy research organization founded on a simple yet straightforward goal: to improve the lives of at-risk and vulnerable populations through research and technical assistance in the fields of health, food and nutrition, family support, and education.



Additional Links



HPOG 2.0 National Evaluation Project Director
Gretchen Locke
Principal Associate
Abt Associates

Federal Project Officers
Nicole Constance
Senior Social Science Research Analyst
Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation
Administration for Children and Families

Hilary Bruck
Senior Social Science Research Analyst
Team Lead for Employment & Training Research
Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation
Administration for Children and Families

Other ACF-Sponsored Studies