Characteristics of Long-Term Care Registered Apprenticeship Programs: Implications for Evaluation Design. 1.3. Methodology


The site selection process used four criteria to identify a dozen potential sites to visit. To best inform the most rigorous potential evaluation design options, the size of the program served as the primary site selection criterion, with the sites having the largest numbers of apprentices entering programs making the initial selection list. To obtain diversity in the LTC RAPs selected, secondary criteria included the region of the country, occupation (DSS, CNA, HHA, and HSS), and type of apprenticeship model (time-based or competency-based).

It was originally planned for the study team to visit six LTC RAPs for this study. However, the study team experienced difficulty obtaining commitment to participate from some sites originally recommended for several reasons. Two sites were in the process of ending their LTC RAPs because the program was too expensive to continue running. One site had delayed full implementation of its LTC RAP because of spending cuts. Based on the site selection process and the agreement of sites to participate in the study, the five sites selected are:

  • Developmental Services, Inc. -- a not-for-profit, private direct support services provider to persons with developmental disabilities in southern Indiana, which has sponsored its LTC RAP since 2004.

  • Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society (Good Samaritan) -- a not-for-profit, private, national nursing home chain headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which has sponsored its LTC RAP since 2003.2

  • Home Care Associates -- a not-for-profit, worker-owned home health care provider in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which has sponsored its LTC RAP since 2006.3

  • Air Force Villages, Inc. -- a not-for-profit, private retirement community in San Antonio, Texas, which has sponsored its LTC RAP since 2009.

  • Agape Senior -- a faith-based, for-profit umbrella corporation which owns 38 for-profit and not-for-profit companies providing long-term care services in a variety of facilities across South Carolina, which has sponsored its LTC RAP since 2009.

In late 2010 and 2011, the study team sent two-person teams to conduct 2-3 day site visits to each LTC RAP. To systematically examine the five LTC RAPs, semi-structured interviews were held, most often in-person, with staff from apprenticeship sponsors, apprentices, and partners. Questions were designed to elicit information on the implementation and evaluation potential of the programs for the development of evaluation design options for this project (the interview guide is provided in Appendix C).

While staff at the sponsoring organizations were readily available for interviews, accessing apprentices and partners was more challenging. Apprentices, for the most part, were not centrally located because of the varied settings in which they work and train so it was challenging to interview a robust sample of apprentices. The study team also had to rely on sponsor staff to recruit apprentices for interviews so it is possible that only apprentices with more positive experiences were recruited. Representatives from the community college system and the workforce investment system that acted as resources to the LTC RAPs were contacted separately to be interviewed, typically by phone. These partners were usually not highly involved with the implementation of the LTC RAPs, either because they were seen as a competing source of training (in the case of community colleges in many of the states), or because they were seen as a separate DOL program (in the case of the workforce investment system). Perspectives from the workforce investment system are largely absent from this report because it was rarely involved in the operation of the LTC RAPs and was not considered a key partner by the sites.4

After the site visits, the researchers developed five-page summaries of the interviews using any background documents provided by the sites and notes from the site visit interviews. These summaries were sent to the administrators of the LTC RAPs for review to ensure that all information was accurate and to clarify any questions that arose as the reviews were written. These summaries are provided in Appendix B. Cross-site analysis was conducted on the various program design and implementation elements including apprentice recruitment and characteristics, the features of the LTC RAPs, program resources, partnerships, perceived program impacts, and program sustainability and replicability. The next section of this report provides an overview of the five LTC RAPs and compares overall characteristics of the sponsors and the programs.

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