RMC Senior Research Scientist Dr. Chris King joined Philip Young P. Hong of Loyola University Chicago as editors of a recently published WE Upjohn Institute for Employment Research book titled Pathways to Careers in Health Care. The book provides analyses and evaluations of the Health Professions Opportunity Grants (HPOG) program, a demonstration project aimed at providing training in health professions to low-income individuals. Dr. King also co-authored a chapter with RMC Director and Research Scientist Dr. Heath Prince titled “Career Pathways and Sector-Based Strategies: A Closer Look.” Publication information can be found on Upjohn’s site here, while the book can be purchased on Amazon here.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010 effected major changes in the financing and delivery of health care in the United States. It also authorized creation of the Health Profession Opportunity Grants program (HPOG), a demonstration effort within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide opportunities for education and training that lead to jobs and career advancement in health care for recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other low-income individuals and to respond to the increasing demand for health care professionals. As a demonstration program, HPOG also featured a mandated federal evaluation to assess its success and a corresponding research program—the HPOG University Partnership Research Grants (HPOG UP), a collaborative effort between the program operators and academic researchers from different disciplines—to observe various aspects of its operations.
HPOG unites two important innovations in workforce development programming for serving low-income populations in recent decades, career pathways and sector strategies, by actively fostering the use of the former in the context of one major sector—health care. Health care is one of the only sectors that continued to exhibit growth year after year in periods of general economic expansion as well as decline. Health care employment even continued to expand in most states and communities across the United States through the Great Recession in 2008–2009. In addition to offering insights into these strategies and their evolution, the authors in this book present the findings, lessons, and recommendations that emanated from HPOG research and evaluations for consideration by policymakers, program operators, and other researchers.