Assessing impacts of a tech-focused sectoral training program on career paths and earnings for low-income Americans

Last registered on September 30, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Assessing impacts of a tech-focused sectoral training program on career paths and earnings for low-income Americans
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008274
Initial registration date
September 27, 2021
Last updated
September 30, 2021, 11:05 PM EDT

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
MIT Department of Economics

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
J-PAL North America
PI Affiliation
Harvard University
PI Affiliation
University of Chicago Booth

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2022-01-17
End date
2031-03-01
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Income inequality in the US is high and on the rise, and a growing wage gap among workers with different levels of educational attainment has been a major contributor (Goldin and Katz 2008; Autor 2019; Autor, Goldin, and Katz 2020). Sectoral employment programs, which provide training for careers in high-demand industries to low-wage workers, many of whom have non-traditional educational credentials for these industries, have emerged in recent decades as a promising approach to workplace advancement (Schaberg 2020; Katz et al. 2020). We will conduct a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the impact on earnings and other labor market outcomes of the Pursuit Fellowship, a sectoral employment program that equips low-wage adults from under-resourced communities with the skills needed to build careers in the tech sector.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Katz, Lawrence et al. 2021. "Assessing impacts of a tech-focused sectoral training program on career paths and earnings for low-income Americans." AEA RCT Registry. September 30. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8274-1.0
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The Pursuit Fellowship is a two-part, four-year program that includes one year of training to equip fellows with the technical and professional skills needed to enter the tech industry and become software developers, followed by three years of career advancement support.
Intervention Start Date
2022-03-01
Intervention End Date
2024-03-01

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Employment; employment in the target sector (tech); income. Primary outcomes will be measured two years after randomization.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We are particularly interested to see whether increases in income come through the channel of employment in the target sector or increased employment generally. We will define the target sector broadly as careers in technology (measured either via industry or occupation).

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Primary outcomes at longer time horizons, measured annually; credit balances and scores; home and vehicle ownership; debt delinquency; debt collection actions; bankruptcy.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Additional outcomes of interest include measures of financial well-being that are available in credit reports, as well as long term measures of employment and earnings.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
A randomized controlled trial will be used to isolate the effects of the Pursuit Fellowship on fellows’ career paths, earnings, and other life outcomes. The Pursuit Fellowship is currently oversubscribed and Pursuit does not have the capacity to accept all qualified candidates. Applicants who make it through Pursuit’s application process will be randomly allocated into a treatment group, which will be offered the Fellowship, and a control group, which will not be offered the Fellowship. We will compare outcomes for individuals who were offered the Pursuit Fellowship to those who were similarly qualified but not offered the program.

This two-part, four-year program includes one year of traditionally in-person training to equip fellows with the technical and professional skills needed to enter the tech industry and become software developers, followed by three years of career advancement support. Eligibility is restricted to adults in the New York metropolitan area who demonstrate economic need (i.e., having an annual salary of <$45,000 per year). The program has no upfront costs, but participants who make above a certain earnings threshold after graduation are responsible for paying back a percentage of their salaries for a capped number of years.

To measure the effects of the program, we will collect administrative data on employment and earnings from all study participants each year for at least eight years after the time of fellowship application. We will begin to evaluate outcomes in year two of the study, the first year after treatment participants have completed the training.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Random number generator by computer
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
N/A
Sample size: planned number of observations
1010 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
647 treatment, 363 control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number