Anne Roder and Mark Elliott
Project QUEST was founded in 1992 to enable San Antonio residents to prepare for good jobs in
growing sectors of the local economy. Since then, it has helped more than 8,000 people
complete training conducted primarily by local community colleges. Mobility’s randomized
controlled trial evaluation found:
- Large, statistically-significant earnings impacts over the eleven-year follow-up period. The annual earnings gains remained large and significant over time, exceeding $4,600 in the eleventh year.
- QUEST invested $12,464 (2019 dollars) in each participant. Over the entire eleven-year period, QUESTers earned $31,395 more than control group members—a 250 percent return. Moreover, program graduates moved out of poverty and into the middle class, earning an average of $49,645 in the final year of the study.
- Participants 35 years old and older experienced the greatest benefit from participating in Project QUEST, earning an astonishing $92,053 more than control group members over the course of the eleven years.
The findings are among the most impressive of any rigorous evaluation of a workforce development program and are a strong endorsement of the potential value of long-term skills training for low-income job seekers.
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