Effects of a two-generation human capital program on low-income parents' education, employment, and psychological wellbeing

P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, Terri J. Sabol, Teresa Eckrich Sommer, Elise Chor, Allison W. Cooperman, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Christopher King, Amanda Morris

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Two-generation human capital programs for families provide education and workforce training for parents simultaneously with education for children. This study uses a quasi-experimental design to examine the effects of a model two-generation program, CareerAdvance, which recruits parents of children enrolled in Head Start into a health care workforce training program. After 1 year, CareerAdvance parents demonstrated higher rates of certification and employment in the health care sector than did matched-comparison parents whose children were also in Head Start. More important, there was no effect on parents' short-term levels of income or employment across all sectors. CareerAdvance parents also experienced psychological benefits, reporting higher levels of self-efficacy and optimism, in addition to stronger career identity compared with the matched-comparison group. Notably, even as CareerAdvance parents juggled the demands of school, family, and employment, they did not report higher levels of material hardship or stress compared with the matched-comparison group. These findings are discussed in terms of the implications of a family perspective for human capital programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-443
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019



  • Education and training
  • Low-income parents
  • Two-generation programs
  • Workforce development

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