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 7,000 people complete training conducted primarily by local community colleges. Mobility’s randomized controlled trial evaluation found:
- Large, statistically-significant earnings impacts over the nine-year follow-up period. The annual earnings gains grew over time, exceeding $5,000 in the ninth year.
- Program participants’ earnings grew from an average of $11,722 to $33,644 over the course of the evaluation. Program graduates moved out of poverty and into the middle class, earning an average of $46,580 in the final year of the study.
- Participants over 34 years old and those with children experienced the greatest benefit from participating in Project QUEST.
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.