A workforce training program in Austin, Texas is gaining attention for producing above-average gains for low income participants who have raised their earnings potential. Aptly named Project Quest, the program focuses on training adults on technical and IT topics.
Most of the participants in the program have doubled or tripled their previous incomes. A study found that the average earnings for those who enrolled were around $38,000 within 6 years. The cost of the program for an individual? $4,900
Mark Elliott, president of Economic Mobility Corp, told The Statesman that this program has enabled three-quarters of participants to successfully hold jobs for at least 6 years and their earnings reflected their efforts.
Investing in local candidates makes good business sense, and this program shows that it has a positive rate of return. Over time, they provide high paying jobs for those who previously lacked the right skills, while boosting local economy’s with tax paying citizens.
These jobs often require more education, and the program addresses this need without placing the burden on employee shoulders. Any company can reach out to workforce training centers to identify potential candidates for a program like this, and design learning around targeted skills that the industry is in need of.
Apprenticeships are making a come back in a variety of industries, but not all industries have a way to accommodate such programs. Programs like Project Quest may be a good example of the work communities and employers can do for employees in a variety of industries.