July 21, 2021

Congressman Castro Announces $1.6 Million for San Antonio Education and Workforce Projects

Community Projects for Project QUEST, Communities in Schools and Alamo District Colleges are included in Annual House Appropriations Spending Bill

WASHINGTON – Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) announced $1.6 million for San Antonio education projects that will provide workforce training services, increase support for physical and mental health resources amid the pandemic, and enhance laboratory instruction. Congressman Castro submitted these projects on behalf of Project Quest, Communities in Schools – San Antonio (CIS-SA), and Alamo District Colleges to the House Appropriations Committee for federal funding. Each project is included in the House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill. 

Specifically, Project Quest will receive $1,000,000 for the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Access (IDEA) in Workforce Initiative, CIS-SA will receive $500,000 for the Reconnecting and Reengaging San Antonio Students for Future Success, and Alamo Colleges District will receive $95,000 for the Laboratory Equipment for Nanotechnology and Water Resource Science labs at the Westside Education Training Center (WETC).

“The pandemic exposed inequities in our educational system and workforce, and we have a responsibility to help our students and workers not only recover, but access new opportunities in San Antonio,” said Congressman Castro. “I designated these community projects for federal funding to help San Antonio workers who might have lost their job during COVID and support our cities economic recovery. I am thrilled this federal funding for our community is including in the annual spending bill, and I look forward to its expected House passage next week. I’ll continue working to ensure that every student and every worker has access to quality, affordable educational and workforce opportunities.” 

“As a workforce intermediary, Project QUEST plays a key role in providing the necessary wraparound support services by removing obstacles to earning a higher education and certifications,” said David J. Zammiello, President and CEO of Project QUEST. “We’re changing lives for the better. We’re improving the economic mobility of not just the individuals but also their families breaking generational poverty and changing the trajectory of their lives.”

According to Zammiello, through a federal investment such as President Biden’s FY22 budget and American Families Plan, evidence-based programs like Project QUEST can improve outcomes for students who traditionally experience greater obstacles to completing their degree or certification programs.

“Since inception, Project QUEST’s mission focuses on breaking the cycle of poverty and taking individuals through the education pipeline, into career readiness, job placement, and employment retention,” said Zammiello. “Individuals go from a lower than minimum wage to earning  a living wage within in-demand industries in Healthcare, IT/Cybersecurity, and Trades/Advanced Manufacturing.”

“SAISD strongly supports this opportunity to expand the delivery of high-quality behavioral and mental wellness programs and case management services targeting at-risk youth in our district,” said Pedro Martinez, Superintendent, San Antonio Independent School District. “We look forward to the continued success of this much needed intervention in San Antonio.” 

“The requested funds will support our expansion into all San Antonio ISD schools in Congressional District 20, ensuring thousands of students and families receive consistent support as they recover from the pandemic,” said Jessica Weaver, CEO, Communities In Schools of San Antonio. “Students will have access to mental health services, which will be critical for students dealing with mental and behavioral health issues caused by remote learning and social isolation.” 

“The Community Project Funding will provide proper equipment to enhance students’ learning and prepare them for jobs in the Nanoengineering and Water Resource Science labs,” said Northwest Vista College President Dr. Ric Baser. “We want to expand the Westside Education and Training Center as an innovative training hub and prepare Northwest Vista College graduates for immediate employment in the San Antonio/Bexar County community and beyond,” he added. 


Project QUEST’s IDEA in Workforce Initiative will address the upskilling and reskilling of historically underserved populations by providing the direct delivery of services and wraparound support services for education, training, and certifications leading to in-demand and living-wage career pathways. This funding will ensure that more underemployed individuals in San Antonio receive the resources, support, and navigation they need to create a career pathway that will lead toward financial stability and career growth. 

CIS-SA’s Reconnecting and Reengaging San Antonio Students for Future Success project will allow CIS-SA to expand into fourteen high-need San Antonio ISD schools within Congressional District 20. Further ensuring that 1,050 students and families receive consistent support as they recover from the pandemic by helping students develop healthy physical, emotional and mental behaviors – allowing San Antonio students to thrive academically and emotionally, preparing them for school and future success. 

Alamo Colleges District’s Laboratory Equipment for Nanotechnology and Water Resource Science Labs at WETC will provide equipment in two labs to enhance instruction at the newly constructed WETC. This community/neighborhood-based education and training facility is on the westside of San Antonio, within the Edgewood Independent School District boundary - and currently has the lowest post-secondary participation rate within the city. Although the WETC expansion project is now underway, more materials and equipment are needed for students and participants to ensure that that training can successfully occur.