Methods: Graduates were assessed using a cross-sectional survey design that included questions on demographics, degree type (BSW, MSW), prior PCW experience, employment obligation completion (in return for monetary and curriculum support, students are required to work in PCW agencies equal to the time of their support), career advancement, years worked in PCW, and clinical licensure. Surveys were sent to 5,500 Title IV-E Program graduates at 22 participating Title IV-E schools during 1993-2018. Nearly 1,800 graduates responded and 1,653 surveys were completed (33% response rate). The participating graduates were 38.1 years old, primarily female (86%) and racially/ethnically diverse [Latino (34%), White (34%), African American (10%), Multi-Racial (9%), Asian (8%), Native American/American Indian (1%), Pacific Islander (1%), and Other (3%)]. Over 65% of graduates were either married (55%) or in a domestic partnership/long-term relationship (11%), while 33% had never been married. We examined if several factors (ethnicity, marital status, degree type, prior PCW experience, and clinical licensure) predicted three different outcomes (employment obligation completion, career advancement, and years worked in PCW) in a series of regressions analyses (both logistic and linear regressions). In each regression analyses, ethnicity and marital status were entered in the first step and degree type, prior PCW experience, and obtaining a clinical license were entered in the second step for each of the three outcomes.
Results: Results showed the strongest predictor was having prior PCW experience across all the outcomes. Having more prior PCW experience predicted higher rates of employment obligation completion, being more likely to become a supervisor, and had more years worked at their employment obligation agency, and more PCW years worked. Similarly, being single also predicted higher rates of completing their employment obligation, being more likely to become a supervisor, and had more years worked in their employment obligation agency. In addition, graduates who were non-white were more likely to have higher rates of staying at their employment obligation agency and have more years worked in their employment obligation agency. Finally, having a MSW and a clinical license predicted having more years worked in their employment obligation agency.
Implications: The findings suggest the importance of prior PCW experience, marital status, ethnicity, type of degree, and clinical licensure in predicting career advancement and years worked in PCW. Moreover, this information can be used to shape workforce development within PCW. Future studies should explore how these factors could be assessed and utilized during the selection and training of Title IV-E student during their educational period, as well as, continued support when these graduates become workers in the PCW field.