As the New Year starts, we turn our attention to three staff picks from the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA). The staff picks we highlight underscore the effectiveness of Project QUEST (Quality Employment Through Skills Training) and the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education to expand opportunities across multiple industries. Take a moment to explore the recommendations from ETA staff.

Escalating Gains: Elements of Project QUEST's Success
This 2018 report presents findings from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of Project QUEST, a pioneer in the sectoral employment field. QUEST provides comprehensive support and resources to help individuals complete occupational training programs at local community colleges and professional training institutes, pass certification exams, and obtain jobs in targeted industries. The report confirms that QUEST interventions had significant positive impacts on participants' annual earnings.

Nine Year Gains: Project QUEST's Continuing Impact
The 2019 RCT design and study of Project QUEST revisited the project’s impacts on the earnings of individuals seeking training for healthcare jobs. The report details how Project QUEST’s results provide strong evidence for workforce development and postsecondary education outcomes. These results demonstrate the potential to increase community college completion among low-income adults through comprehensive sector strategies and continued evaluation efforts.

STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics -- Education
This report discusses the importance of STEM education and training to maintain the country's competitiveness in the world economy. It emphasizes the STEM curriculum’s diversity and transferability to contexts outside traditional STEM disciplines. The study finds that though the United States’ education system has effectively produced and attracted elite-level STEM students, one of its weaknesses is producing STEM workers in occupations that do not require a bachelor’s degree. To address this need, the authors highlight the value of STEM-related work opportunities for high school students that strengthen their skills in STEM occupations at the sub-baccalaureate level.