A Randomized Evaluation of the Pursuit Fellowship
Income inequality in the US is high and on the rise, and a growing wage gap among workers with different levels of educational attainment has been a major contributor (Goldin and Katz 2008; Autor 2019; Autor, Goldin, and Katz 2020). Sectoral employment programs, which provide training for careers in high-demand industries to low-wage workers, many of whom have non-traditional educational credentials for these industries, have emerged in recent decades as a promising approach to workplace advancement (Schaberg 2020; Katz et al. 2020). We will conduct a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the impact on earnings and other labor market outcomes of the Pursuit Fellowship, a sectoral employment program that equips low-wage adults from under-resourced communities with the skills needed to build careers in the tech sector. Pursuit stands out for impressive income gains among participants and an innovative funding model, but its impact has yet to be rigorously evaluated. This study will enroll approximately 1,000 individuals over two years and add to the emerging body of evidence about when and for whom sectoral training programs are appropriate and effective.