Bringing together researchers, corporate partners, policymakers, and workforce partners to understand the barriers and opportunities to improve economic mobility opportunities for STARs – and for all workers in America.
Using public datasets to study the skills that workers gain on the job, our research identifies 71 million workers who are Skilled Through Alternative Routes (or STARs). They have the skills and work experience to meet the talent needs of American employers but are often overlooked because they lack traditional signals of job readiness, like four-year degrees.
The COVID-19 crisis has had an outsized impact on STARs. STARs are overrepresented among essential workers and among those who have lost their jobs in the economic downturn. We present data and insights to better understand these effects and share practices that promote an equitable recovery.
Two-thirds of essential workers are STARs. This data story demonstrates their contributions to COVID-19 response and the disparate impacts of the pandemic on women and people of color.
More than 60% of Black STARs in essential roles earn low wages, compared to 49% of white STARs. Understanding the disparate impact of COVID-19 on Black essential workers is a necessary step in closing endemic wage and mobility gaps.
If corporate executives want to address systemic racism, they should change their hiring practices to remove the degree requirements that disproportionately exclude skilled Black workers.
New data story shows that most Black STARs (64%) already have the skills to transition to jobs that pay an average of 70% more than their current job.
This year’s historic events have a disproportionate impact on STARs. This body of research illustrates how to build an inclusive labor market as we approach a recovery.
The COVID-19 crisis lays bare the deficiencies in our labor market. STARs comprise two thirds of our essential workforce and yet they continue to experience the decades-long trends in wage decline and limited upward mobility. We must reimagine our approach to our workforce to achieve an equitable recovery.
STARs share, in their own words, what led them to where they are today, what stands in their way, and what they hope for the future.
Starting out in a corporate workplace as a Recruitment Training Manager was intimidating to Jonte. Everyone around him had worked their way up through the corporate world after college, and he came with an associate’s degree and a handful of licenses and certifications collected over years of working in the trades.
Growing up in foster care, Jonathan tried to take advantage of his state’s college tuition support system but the foster system’s dual demands that he be both employed and a full-time student were stressful and Jonathan dropped out of college to work full-time as a security guard.
Taylor’s learning mindset was formed while watching her grandmother work her way from the mailroom of an insurance company to an executive position without a college degree.
His experiences as a STAR inform how Ali hires for his business. He prioritizes work experience and looks holistically at the candidate.
The STARs Research Community is a community of scholars who are committed to rigorous research and data analysis to further our understanding of the STAR population of workers. Insights from this community will inform employers and workforce practices so more STARs experience economic mobility in the labor market.
The STARs Insights Advisory Panel provides expert guidance for the STARs Insights initiative. Chaired by Dr. Erica Groshen, former Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the panel includes advisors with experience in labor economics, workforce development, and the future of work across the public, private, and academic sectors.