Building 2Gen Proof Points: New Research on CAP Tulsa


Northwestern University and the University of Texas, Austin have partnered with Ascend to release new findings from long-term studies of CareerAdvance®, developed and run by the Community Action Project of Tulsa County (CAP Tulsa): a model two-generation (2Gen) intervention that pairs early childhood education for children with career pathway training in the health care sector for parents. 

The first impact analysis, originally released in April 2017 and recently updated, found that the 2Gen program, CareerAdvance®, promotes parents’ career certificate attainment, employment in the healthcare sector, and overall well-being. The study provides strong evidence that pairing high-quality Head Start services with job training for parents produces positive outcomes for parents and children beyond the benefits of Head Start alone. The analysis was also covered in NPR.

Building on this research, a new study examines the impact of the 2Gen program on chronic absence and children’s outcomes in Head Start. Most notably, the researchers found that CareerAdvance®  reduces children’s chronic absence in Head Start: the proportion of children who were chronically absent in the CareerAdvance® group was 14% compared to 34% among the matched comparison group. 

Additional takeaways include:

  • CareerAdvance® reduces chronic absence among the most disadvantaged Head Start families – in particular, the families with lowest levels of income, lowest levels of optimism, and highest levels of psychological distress.
  • Researchers examined children’s outcomes based on direct assessments of basic numeracy and literacy, receptive language, math, and inhibitory control. While the researchers did not find significant benefits for children’s outcomes on average that were above and beyond the positive effects children already received while in CAP Tulsa’s Head Start programs, they did find positive short-term effects for two groups of children: children whose parents were more college ready and children who were less school ready. 
  • Importantly, stress levels of parents in the workforce training program were no different/statistically the same as those of parents who were not.

To learn more, check out the webinar recording, in which Dr. Teresa Sommer and Dr. Terri Sabol of Northwestern University, Steven Dow, Ascend Fellow and executive director of CAP Tulsa, and Aspen Institute vice president and Ascend executive director Anne Mosle discuss key findings, how and why 2Gen programs are building ‘proof points’ of success for families and how these programs can influence practices and policies in other communities.

Research reports

  1. What are the Effects of Pairing Head Start Services for Children with Career Pathway Training for Parents?
  2. The Effects of a 2Gen Human Capital Program on Children’s Outcomes in Head Start