The Northwestern University Two-Generation Study (NU2Gen) of Parent and Child Human Capital Advancement

Project: Research project

Project Details


In 2015, the Community Action Project of Tulsa County (CAP Tulsa) was awarded a Health Profession Opportunity Grant II (HPOG II) from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to scale up dramatically its two-generation human capital intervention, called CareerAdvance®. This antipoverty program targets low-income parents and children together by offering education and training in the healthcare sector to parents while their children are enrolled in Head Start or early elementary school. The expanded and modified program under HPOG II now serves a large number of low-income families across the Tulsa metropolitan area with an increased emphasis on quickly obtaining certification and jobs that would lead to sustainable careers. CareerAdvance® also provides additional services to parents, including career coaching, peer group support, and financial assistance. To date, CareerAdvance® remains the only sectoral workforce development program under study that offers human capital services to children and parents simultaneously. In the proposed investigation, we capitalize on the programmatic innovation of CareerAdvance® to examine whether the scaled-up career-training program has meaningful impacts on both parent and child human capital outcomes. We will also explore why or why not the program is effective by studying how families adapt to the new demands and opportunities of work, family, and school. Collectively, our results will inform policymakers and program providers on how low-income parents can improve their employment and earnings while advancing the skills and life opportunities of the next generation—their children. The proposed study employs an experimental design where families are randomized to a treatment group in which parents are offered the opportunity to participate in CareerAdvance® or to a control group in which parents do not have access to CareerAdvance®. Children in both groups are enrolled in either Head Start or elementary school. All families will be followed from baseline (Wave 1) and one and two years later (Waves 2 & 3). The evaluation will include a sample of 450 parents and children and will have two parts: (1) the Two-Generation Human Capital Outcomes Study and; (2) Two-Generation Exploratory Mechanisms Study. The Two-Generation Human Capital Outcomes Study will use parent surveys and parent and child administrative data to examine the effect of CareerAdvance® on (1) parents’ healthcare certification, employment, and earnings; and (2) children’s academic achievement and attendance. The Exploratory Mechanisms Study will focus on work-family-school adaptation on the part of both generations, including stress and coping, cognitive stimulation at home, and possible changes in identity. In the addition, the Exploratory Mechanisms Study collects more intensive measurement on the same constructs among a subsample of families (n = 150 collected at Wave 2 and 3) using cutting-edge, real-time measurement tools (e.g., digital recording devices of the home language environment) and focus groups with parents and children. We believe that our experimental, mixed-method, two-generation research study, building on a longstanding program-research partnership with CAP Tulsa, will produce findings that will inform and improve CareerAdvance®, other HPOG programs, broader workforce program design and policy, and the emerging two-generation human capital field.
Effective start/end date9/30/169/29/17


  • Administration for Children and Families (90HG1002-01-01)


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