Mission: To strengthen the economy with highly qualified employees for in-demand, living wage careers.
Vision Statement: Project QUEST is a critical economic development resource that:
Understands and meets current and emerging employer work force needs.
Provides comprehensive support and resources to program participants to achieve long term employment.
Facilitates collaboration with other workforce development stakeholders.
QUEST is a nationally recognized workforce strategy with over a 23 year history of successfully planning and implementing training programs for professional, high-paying jobs that enhance the economic competiveness of San Antonio. Because of QUEST, 6000 individuals are competitive in the current labor market. This has provided financial security to 13,000 San Antonio area residents.
QUEST has a high completion rate of 80%, an 86% job placement rate and 90% job retention rate. Participants make on average $10,000 a year before entering QUEST and after graduation make average $40,000 the first year.
As a winner of a 1995 Innovations Award from the Ford Foundation and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, QUEST remains a national role model among job training programs because of its ties to businesses and community-based organizations.Organizations in Austin, the Rio Grande Valley, Dallas, Houston, El Paso, TX, Monroe, LA, Tucson, Phoenix, AZ, and Des Moines, IA have replicated the QUEST workforce development model to meet employment needs in their communities. QUEST has also been replicated in Birmingham, Nottingham, and London in the United Kingdom.
QUEST was honored as a 2003 winner of The Enterprise Foundation and The J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation Award for Excellence in Workforce Development. This award recognizes nonprofit job training and placement organizations across the country that are using best practices to effectively help individuals find and retain quality jobs. In 2008, QUEST was among a select group of workforce development organizations to receive workforce grant from the US Department of Labor. Late 2011 QUEST received $5 million grant from US Department of Labor for healthcare workforce development over 4 year period. Late 2014, QUEST received another $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to train 475 mostly long-term unemployed for well-paying jobs in information technology over 4 year period. QUEST’s “Homegrown IT” project was part of $170 million in grants under the Labor Departments “Ready to Work Partnership.” In December 2014, QUEST was invited to White House to be a part of the TechHire Initiative discussions. Early 2015 at the National League of Cities TechHire initiative was announced with San Antonio being one of the 21 regions that will work to create more tech training opportunities. City of San Antonio Economic Development Department, Project QUEST, Rackspace, Rackspace Open Cloud Academy, Alamo Community College, and University of Texas at San Antonio have collaborated for this effort. QUEST continues to leverage recognition of excellence from a growing number of private organizations who share QUEST’s vision for greater community involvement in the innovation and development of education and workforce preparation initiatives.
In 2014, QUEST served 1059 participants by assisting with tuition and fees, text books, supplies, childcare, transportation, emergency assistance, career coaching and job placement. The program graduated 340 individuals that represent 29 demand occupations ranging from healthcare to information technology to professional trades. The average wage per hour for QUEST graduate was $22 and annual earnings increase was 350%.
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