WWC review of this study

Escalating gains: Project QUEST’s sectoral strategy pays off

Elliott, M., & Roder, A. (2017). Economic Mobility Corporation.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    410
     Students
    , grade
    PS

Reviewed: September 2021

At least one finding shows strong evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Industry-recognized credential, certificate, or license completion outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Earned a vocational certificate or license

Project QUEST vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Full sample;
343 students

72.60

49.10

Yes

 
 
23
 
Long-Term Earnings outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Earnings

Project QUEST vs. Business as usual

5 Years

Full sample;
410 students

27755.00

25228.00

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Earnings

Project QUEST vs. Business as usual

7 Years

Full sample;
410 students

33496.00

28006.00

Yes

 
 
8

Earnings

Project QUEST vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Full sample;
410 students

29961.00

27301.00

No

--
Medium-Term Earnings outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Earnings

Project QUEST vs. Business as usual

3 Years

Full sample;
410 students

24713.00

20792.00

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Earnings

Project QUEST vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Full sample;
410 students

26995.00

21478.00

Yes

 
 
10
Medium-Term Employment outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Employment (Year-Round)

Project QUEST vs. Business as usual

3 Years

Full sample;
343 students

66.60

59.20

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Employment (Year-Round)

Project QUEST vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Full sample;
343 students

72.00

57.10

Yes

 
 
15
Postsecondary degree attainment outcomes—Substantively important negative effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Earned a college degree

Project QUEST vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Full sample;
343 students

18.20

26.30

No

--
Short-Term Earnings outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Earnings

Project QUEST vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
410 students

19092.00

17159.00

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Earnings

Project QUEST vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Full sample;
410 students

22873.00

18635.00

Yes

 
 
9
Short-Term Employment outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Employment (Year-Round)

Project QUEST vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
343 students

48.20

55.00

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Employment (Year-Round)

Project QUEST vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Full sample;
343 students

65.70

59.00

No

--


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 88%
    Male: 12%
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    Texas
  • Race
    Black
    14%
    Other or unknown
    77%
    White
    10%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    74%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    26%

Setting

The study was conducted with residents of San Antonio and Bexar County in Texas.

Study sample

Of the 410 participants who were eligible to participate in the study and were randomly assigned to either the intervention group or comparison group, 14% were Black, 10% were White, and race was not specified for 77% of participants. The majority of participants were Hispanic (74%) and female (89%). The average age was 30 years old. The highest degree earned for the majority of participants was a GED® (25%) or a high school diploma (70%); 5% had earned a college degree. Almost half (45%) had previously attended college but did not earn a degree. The majority (84%) had been employed at any time during the past year. The average annual earnings in the past year was $11,722.

Intervention Group

Project QUEST is a workforce development program that serves residents of San Antonio and Bexar County, Texas. For the study, program participants were required to enroll full-time in a certificate program at an area community college or professional training institute in the field of healthcare such as nursing, medical records coding, or technician programs. Project QUEST provides comprehensive support services aimed at helping individuals to (1) complete occupational training programs at community colleges and professional training institutes, (2) pass certification exams, and (3) secure relevant employment. In addition to attending the occupational training program full-time, participants were required to attend weekly group meetings that focused on life skills, including time management, study skills, critical thinking, and conflict resolution. Participants received: (a) financial assistance to cover tuition, fees, books, transportation, uniforms, licensing exam fees, and tutoring; (b) basic skills instruction to improve their math and reading skills to pass college placement test; (c) counseling to address personal and academic concerns and provide motivation and emotional support; (d) referrals to other agencies for assistance with utility bills, childcare, food, and other services as needed; and (e) job placement assistance, including help with writing resumes and interviewing, and referrals to employers that were hiring.

Comparison Group

Participants in the comparison group could enroll in an occupational training program at an area community college or professional training institute and access job placement assistance through the college, available supports in the community, or find jobs on their own. However, they did not receive any of the benefits of the Project QUEST program.

Support for implementation

The operating costs of Project QUEST were financed by a combination of private and public funding. The primary funder was the City of San Antonio, Texas. Other funders included Bexar County, Texas and the Charles Stewart Mott, Meadows, and Annie E. Casey Foundations.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Roder, A., & Elliott, M. (2019). Nine year gains: Project QUEST’s continuing impact. Economic Mobility Corporation. Retrieved from https://economicmobilitycorp.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/NineYearGains_web.pdf

  • Roder, A., & Elliott, M. (2018). Escalating gains: The elements of Project QUEST’s success. New York: Economic Mobility Corporation. Retrieved from https://economicmobilitycorp.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Elements-of-Project-QUESTs-Success.pdf

  • Roder, A., & Elliott, M. (2019). Nine year gains: Project QUEST’s continuing impact. Economic Mobility Corporation. Retrieved from https://economicmobilitycorp.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/NineYearGains_web.pdf

 

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