Project QUEST (Quality Employment through Skills Training) has served San Antonio’s under- and unemployed residents for three decades, offering skills-building and workforce readiness programs. Unemployment in the San Antonio/New Braunfels metro area, home to 2.5 million residents, reached 12% in the spring of 2020.footnote1 Although employment has rebounded, poverty and low wages remain a persistent problem. The city’s 17.6% poverty rate far exceeds the 11.4% national rate and the 13.4% rate for the entire state of Texas.footnote2 To address this, Project QUEST provides career coaching, academic and skills assessments, college education access and other services that help participants connect with living-wage jobs in three high-demand sectors: technology, manufacturing and healthcare.
The results have been striking, including a 91% job placement rate for graduates. In 2021, participants entered the program making less than $15,000 a year and went on to earn an average of $43,297 after graduation. A 2020 impact study 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’s support lets Project QUEST offer participants 12 months of customized support. Bank of America helps fund Project QUEST’s support services, which provide such things as tuition assistance and emergency services to assist locals in overcoming barriers to advancement, as well as specialists offering career readiness and job placement services.
The support for Project QUEST is an example of Bank of America’s commitment to help advance racial equality and economic opportunity in local neighborhoods around the country. From entrepreneur funding and expanding home ownership to professional skills training and healthcare access, Bank of America continues to partner with innovative leaders to help communities implement solutions to society’s biggest challenges.