A Field Experiment to Test the Labor Market Value of a Credential from a For-Profit Postsecondary School
The attainment of postsecondary credentials holds particular promise in improving economic security for low-income single mothers. However, the type of school attended may matter when determining whether postsecondary credentials will foster positive labor market outcomes and financial stability for former students. This paper describes the pre-test of a field experiment to examine whether the school type listed on a job applicant’s resume has an impact on receiving a call for a job interview, in fields commonly pursued by low-income women. School types tested were for-profit schools and community colleges. Results revealed little difference in outcomes for job seekers with credentials from each school type. However, more reliable results could be obtained by repeating this study in a stronger economy, using job candidates with minimal applicable experience, applying to a greater number of positions, and selecting occupations for which an academic credential is widely seen as a prerequisite for entry.
Keywords: labor market outcomes, community college, for-profit school, low-income women