Too often, landing a good job has less to do with people’s skills and more to do with where they went to school, who they know, or even how they look. This opportunity gap prevents millions of STARs from translating their learning into earning power and denies employers access to a mostly untapped pool of talent.
College can’t be the only pathway to middle- and high-wage jobs. Millions of Americans lack a four-year degree but have accumulated the foundational skills – earned through bootcamps, micro-credentialing programs, community colleges, and on the job training to name a few – needed to succeed in the good jobs of the 21st century. The time has come for more employers to recognize the many other pathways through which STARs have developed their talents and embrace them as a key to their businesses’ success.
Skills-based hiring practices help businesses fill open roles with high-quality talent while expanding opportunities to the millions of STARs currently screened out of jobs simply because they lack a four-year college degree.
Disruptive technologies, such as artificial intelligence and robotics, threaten to displace millions of STARs even as companies struggle to fill tech-enabled jobs. Business leaders and policymakers must rewire the labor market for inclusion so that technology serves as an engine for opportunity and growth rather than as a driver of displacement and inequality. This requires new models of training and lifelong learning, investment in human capital, and hiring practices intentionally designed around STARs to maximize human skills and potential.
Middle-wage jobs are becoming increasingly unattainable for workers without a college degree. At the same time, employers are struggling to find enough talent to fill these positions. Expanding candidate pools by removing degree requirements for positions that shouldn’t require degrees will narrow the opportunity gap for STARs while helping businesses thrive.