The mission of Skill QUEST is to lift working adults out of poverty into family living wage careers through education. We do this through a multifaceted sponsorship/workforce intermediary program tailored to the unique circumstances of each individual and designed to assure the highest likelihood of multigenerational success. Our vision is a future in which every person has access to the highest quality education to develop their full potential at affordable costs.
Chartered in Texas as a nonprofit corporation in 2012, Skill QUEST took over the operations of QUEST:Dallas/Collin, a 2010 expansion project of Project QUEST, Inc. in San Antonio, Texas (http://www.ProjectQUEST.org) started with JET funds from the State of Texas. Skill QUEST is an outgrowth of the ongoing institutionally based community organizing efforts of Dallas Area Interfaith (http://www.DallasAreaInterfaith.org) responding to the needs of the Dallas area community.
Shaniqua Rischer, First Project Manager for QUEST:Dallas/Collin,
with first class of QUESTERs, 2010.
Skill QUEST has been designated a 501(c)(3) tax exempt public charity by the United States Internal Revenue Service, and contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Consult your tax professional for details of how this might affect you and your taxes. For a copy of the IRS designation letter, please CLICK HERE.
While awaiting IRS designation, Skill QUEST has operated under the financial auspices and supervision of Project QUEST, Inc. and the Interfaith Education Fund, Inc, both 501(c)(3) designated Texas registered nonprofit corporations.
Skill QUEST staff and management is an energetic team with a wealth of knowledge in nonprofit operations from diverse cultural, educational, and experiential backgrounds.
Executive Director, Dr. Priscilla Kimery, has an Ed.D in Educational Administration with a Minor in Secondary and Community College Curriculum. Dr. Kimery has 18 years’ experience as Director of Research and Program Evaluation with Plano ISD with a budget of nearly one million dollars and strategic planning duties.
Director of Participant Services, Samanda Gronstal, B.A. in Spanish and English, is a certified bilingual teacher, and secondary Spanish, reading and writing instructor. She implemented and managed a school Peer Mediation Program and also resolved disputes between management and tenants. Her long involvement with Dallas Area Interfaith (DAI) gives her extensive knowledge of community resources, adult education, goal setting and long-term strategies.
Career Counselor, Debra Bush, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of North Texas. She has worked for Workforce of Tarrant County as an Intake/ Eligibility Specialist, and for Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas as a Career Development Specialist assisting TANF and SNAP recipients. Mrs. Bush has worked closely with the Health and Human Services Commission, Child Care Management Services, and various other local, state and federal agencies. She is a Certified Career Counselor and a Licensed Notary Public.
Employment Coordinator: (to be hired) will develop and maintain relationships with local employers, assist students in development of individualized training programs, and facilitate job placement.
Skill QUEST Board of Directors at 2013 Strategic Planning Session,
joined by facilitator Dazzie McKelvy of Workforce Matters;
Mr. Willie Bennett, Lead Organizer for Dallas Area Interfaith; and
Sister Pearl Ceasar, IAF Coordinator for Workforce Training Programs
Skill Quest has a diverse and experienced Board that works on business relations, funding, program and administrative development and implementation, community outreach and support at program information sessions.
Shannon Fitzgerald, PhD, a retired epidemiologist with a MS in Kinesiology and a BA in Psychology with over 15 years working on federal grants, is a volunteer Boy Scout and Girl Scout leader, parent volunteer for two secondary schools, and a leader with DAI.
Alan Lummus, retired, entrepreneur and executive, has organization-building experience from commercial construction, international mining, commercial sheet metal fabrication, software development, and Internet marketing.
Ada T. Simmons, retired educator in special population instruction, assessment and teacher education/certification, and coordination, is a dedicated volunteer with extensive board experience.
Karen Rayzer, with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, a Master of Public Administration, and a position as Assistant Director of Housing/Community Services for the city of Dallas, brings both theory and practical community development and management skills to the Skill QUEST Board. Karen contributes a broad range of experience in human and social services, housing and community development, project and contract management, financial analysis, personnel management, and telecommunication. As a result of her experience with city services, Karen offers a reservoir of community contacts.
Job training classes are delivered through the faculty and resources of Dallas County and Collin County community colleges.
Volunteers from DAI congregations serve as mentors, tutors, and alumni coordinators, and assist in VIP sessions. Community volunteers such as Dallas North Bank and Attitudes & Attire lead some of the weekly support sessions.