Unlocking Breakthroughs for STARs


The STAR Barriers and Breakthroughs Framework identifies six key contributors to STAR economic mobility and the many interventions and investments that can support a STAR’s career progression.

The STAR Barriers and Breakthroughs Framework

The STAR Barriers and Breakthroughs Framework offers a way to understand the experience of workers who are Skilled Through Alternative Routes (STARs) and to expand opportunities for STAR mobility.

It reflects the lived experiences of the hundreds of STARs who have shared their stories with Opportunity@Work. Any serious effort to improve economic mobility for STARs must take into account the assets they bring to the market and the barriers that hinder their progress.

STARs encounter a constellation of barriers as they seek good jobs

A STAR’s trajectory in the workforce is rarely linear because their choices are limited in all sorts of ways. STARs shared the following examples:

Barriers encountered by STARs

And yet, STARs achieve breakthroughs

STARs leverage the assets they have got to make headway in the labor market. Here is just one example:

We can make STAR breakthroughs happen at scale

This interdependent system points to many effective interventions. STARs will be free to demonstrate their full potential if we:

  • Recognize that STAR mobility has multiple systemic drivers
  • Expand the conversation about effective workforce interventions
  • Engage a full coalition of workforce stakeholders in the effort
  • Invest time and resources in systemic change

Ready to learn more?

Download the STARs Barriers and Breakthroughs Framework