Per Scholas Impact Evaluation Study FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the Per Scholas Impact Evaluation Study, a randomized control trial study designed to assess the impact of Per Scholas training.


What is this study?

The study’s goal is to learn whether Per Scholas’ training and employment assistance will help people increase their earnings and improve their financial well-being. The study is an impact evaluation, sometimes called a randomized control trial- or RCT,  in which subjects are randomly assigned to one of two groups.

One group receives the intervention or training that is being tested, and the other group does not receive the intervention or training. The two groups are then followed over time to see if there are any differences between them in outcomes. The results and analyses of the trial are used to measure the effectiveness of the intervention or training. This study is the most scientific way of determining whether a cause-effect relationship exists between the intervention or training and the intended outcome.

Why am I being asked to take part in a study?

All IT Support classes offered at Per Scholas in Columbus, Ohio, and the National Capital Region are part of a study, so all applicants to those classes are asked to participate in the study.

What is this study about?

The goal of this study is to learn how effective the Per Scholas program is in helping individuals increase their earnings and advance in their careers. It will help improve the employment and training services available in your community and expand these services to more people in the future.

How does it work?

Qualified applicants are randomly chosen (by chance alone, like the flip of a coin, except in this case, a computer does the work) to be in either the treatment group or the control group. The treatment group receives Per Scholas training, and the control group does not receive training. 

The study will compare the outcomes of the treatment and control groups to learn whether Per Scholas participants have better outcomes in terms of job attainment, salary, and advancement.

What is the randomization process?

Each candidate who goes through the Per Scholas admissions process and agrees to enroll in the study will be randomly assigned to one of two groups: a treatment group that receives Per Scholas training OR a control group that does not receive Per Scholas training. You have a 50% chance of being selected, by a computer, to the treatment group and a 50% chance of being selected to the control group. There is no bias in selection. A computer randomly makes the selection and assigns you to one group or the other.

What happens if I am selected for the Control group?

If you are selected for the control group, then you will not receive Per Scholas training at this time. You may reapply to receive Per Scholas training 3 years after being selected to be a part of the Control group or once the RCT enrollment period is complete.

If you agree to be a part of the Control group, at the 3-year mark, you will be asked to complete a survey about your participation in education or training programs, the types of jobs you obtain, your salary, and your financial situation.

Am I required to participate in the study?

No. Your participation is entirely voluntary. Only individuals who provide written consent will be included in the study. However, if you choose not to participate in the study, you will not be eligible to receive Per Scholas services. You may apply for services at other agencies. If you agree to participate in the study and later decide you do not want to participate, you may withdraw your consent.

Who is running the study?

Per Scholas is working with the Economic Mobility Corporation (Mobility) to conduct the study. Mobility is an independent nonprofit research organization in New York that develops and evaluates policies and programs that seek to help people succeed in the labor market. 

The study is funded by Arnold Ventures, a private philanthropic organization, to increase the number of people served.

What happens if I participate in the study?

If you agree to participate in the study, you will first be entered into a computer lottery to determine which study group you will be assigned to (treatment/ training group or control group). Regardless of which group you are assigned to if you agree to participate in the study, you are consenting to allow Mobility to collect personal information about you.

  • Per Scholas will provide Mobility information about your demographics, work history, and other characteristics, your participation in Per Scholas services, and the jobs you obtain. 
  • Mobility will collect information about your income and earnings from work, and receipt of unemployment benefits, if any, from state agencies. 
  • About 3 years after you enroll in the study, you will be asked to complete a survey. This survey will ask questions about your participation in education, training and employment services, certifications you have earned, and recent employment. You will be asked to complete the survey if you do not complete the Per Scholas training program or if you are selected to be in the control group that does not receive training.  Mobility is contracting with the RAND Corporation to conduct the survey. 

If you are assigned to the Per Scholas training group, you will receive training and employment services from Per Scholas staff. 

  • Some Per Scholas participants who were selected for the training group will also be asked to take part in a small group discussion about their experiences with the program.
Will I be compensated for my time?

The survey is expected to take about 30 minutes. If you complete the survey, you will receive a $25 gift card. If you are asked to participate in the small group discussion, which is expected to last about 90 minutes, you will receive a $25 gift card.

Will all of my information be confidential?

Yes. All information that Mobility collects will be kept private and only used for research purposes. Your name and other information that could identify you will not appear in any report or other public documents. The research team follows very strict rules to keep data about you confidential.


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