Project QUEST (Quality Employment through Skills Training), a jobs-focused program that has served San Antonio for nearly three decades, is serving the area’s unemployed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that unemployment in San Antonio/New Braunfels Metro area, with its 2.2 million residents, reached 4.5% in September 2020, up 58% over 2019. Although the unemployment rate has fallen since then, it remains stubbornly high for the region. To address this, Project QUEST is providing career coaching, academic and skills assessments, college education access and other support to succeed in high-demand sectors like technology, manufacturing and health care.
Bank of America’s support lets QUEST offer participants 12 months of customized support. Results have been striking, with a 91% job placement rate for graduates. In 2019, participants entered the program making less than $15,000 a year and went on to earn an average of $44,094 after graduation. A 2020 impact study also revealed that previous participants continued to experience economic mobility and income growth over a nine-year period, allowing them to move out of poverty and into the middle class. Bank of America helps fund Project QUEST’s support services, which help locals overcome barriers to advancement such as tuition assistance and emergency services, as well as specialists offering career readiness and job placement services. The funding for Project QUEST is part of the $1.25 billion five-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity.