Workers without a bachelor’s degree face increasingly narrow pathways for economic mobility, as employers prioritize degrees when hiring for jobs with greater potential for career advancement. Many workers without college degrees are “skilled through alternative routes” (STARs) but are unable to signal their value in the labor market. Greater empirical evidence is needed to establish STARs’ value for higher-wage, higher-mobility jobs and career pathways.
Opportunity@Work will research occupational pathways that can drive upward mobility for an estimated 71 million STARs in the US labor market. A research team led by Papia Debroy and Peter Q. Blair will analyze and compare public and private job transition data on STARs and workers with college degrees to generate insights on how the former can better navigate the labor market by leveraging skills. The team will build upon STARs Insights, a research program already underway, and develop products tailored to employers and workforce practitioners to catalyze behavior change in hiring and talent management practices. The team will also test their ideas through stellarworkx, Opportunity@Work’s talent platform that matches employers with STARs.
Rise with the STARs
Skills, Degrees, and Labor Market Inequality