Project QUEST

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can help address educational disparities and provide assistance to unemployed workers. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve these outcomes are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program basics

  • Seeks to improve employment and earnings through sector-based education and training for high-demand jobs
  • Provides tuition subsidies and support services to participants while they are enrolled in 2-year associate’s degree and one-year certificate programs at local community colleges for high-demand occupations
  • Training programs currently exist for health services, business systems and IT, and maintenance and repair professions

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Promising (Third-highest tier)

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Promising (Third-highest tier)

Project QUEST is not yet in any of the major clearinghouses, but has demonstrated positive results in an independent, high-quality evaluation conducted by the Economic Mobility Corporation


Target population

Low- and moderate-income adults

Program cost

$10,501 per participant

Implementation locations

Dates active

1992-present

Outcomes and impact

  • Increased earnings by $5,000 annually after 9 years
  • Increased employment rate by 10 percentage points

Keys to successful implementation

  • Note: This content is under review.
  • Partner with local business leaders, large employers, city agencies, and any other key labor market actors to identify strong sectors of the local economy that will likely yield in-demand employment opportunities.
  • Tailor training and additional offerings closely to the local economy’s in-demand labor needs; consider the program the future supplier to fill those needs.
  • Provide weekly meetings that prioritize life skills like time management, study skills, financial planning, transition to employment, and conflict resolution.
  • Offer a broad suite of services around the job placement process, such as workshops on resume writing, professional interviewing, and securing referrals.
  • Remove barriers to participation that can be remedied with support services, such as reimbursement programs for childcare, transportation, and utilities.

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