HPOG 1.0—Facilitated Peer Support provided the option to participate in peer support groups in addition to the standard HPOG services. It was an enhancement of HPOG 1.0, which provided education and training to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and other individuals with low income for occupations in the health care field expected to pay well and experience labor shortages or be in high demand.
HPOG 1.0—Facilitated Peer Support grantees provided standard HPOG services and, to a subsetof participants, the option to participate in a peer support group facilitated by a professional familiar with adult learning theory and the HPOG program. The peer support meetings were an opportunity to discuss available HPOG and community resources and challenges that participants might face in HPOG. They could also include study group sessions or social events. The meetings were required to occur at least twice per month, although preferably weekly, and needed to take place before, during, and after participants were enrolled in occupational trainings. Programs were permitted to offer incentives for attendance, such as food at meetings or gift cards.
HPOG 1.0 refers to the first round of five-year HPOG grants that ACF awarded in 2010. HPOG 1.0 funded grantees that were required to (1) help participants develop skills relevant to the health care industry; (2) support career pathways that allowed participants to build a career by advancing through successively higher levels of education and training and to exit into employment at multiple possible points; (3) provide training leading to credentials recognized by employers and the health care industry; (4) provide supportive services, such as financial counseling or job retention services, to help participants overcome barriers to training participation and employment; and (5) provide training at accessible times and locations. The most common occupational training programs were six-to-eight week courses to become a nursing aide, orderly, or attendant; some registered nursing programs could last up to four years.
All HPOG 1.0 programs served TANF recipients and other individuals with low income, but programs set different financial, academic, and behavioral criteria to determine whether applicants were eligible. HPOG 1.0—Facilitated Peer Support was implemented in the following locations: WorkPlace (Connecticut), New Hampshire Office of Minority Health, and Buffalo and Erie County (New York) Workforce Development Challenge The evaluation of HPOG 1.0—Facilitated Peer Support also examined the effectiveness of: HPOG 1.0–Emergency Assistance, HPOG 1.0—Noncash Incentives, and HPOG 1.0.