Case Studies / Merit America
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Merit America opens career paths for STARs.

About Merit America

Merit America is a national nonprofit organization that offers sustainable skills training and best-in-class coaching to adults without a college degree, preparing talented workers in low-wage roles for well-paying careers.

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Identifying employers committed to hiring STARs is key to improving lives and communities.

Merit America is on a mission. As Bethany Orban, Director of Employer Partnerships at Merit America explains, “we are in the business of upskilling working adults.”

By providing affordable training and personalized coaching programs to adults without Bachelor’s degrees, Merit America is helping those individuals obtain in-demand, well-paying careers.

“We have created a workforce development program to upskill and really help communities, especially communities that are disenfranchised.”

But this upskilling isn’t possible without a consistent group of employers willing to hire for skills, not degrees. As Bethany states, “at the end of the day, if our learners are not being placed, we are not successful as a program.”

This is especially true for STARs, who are a key segment of Merit America’s learners.

According to Bethany, the “number one barrier” to placing STARs is the outdated or unnecessary Bachelor’s degree requirements, often lurking behind the scenes in applicant tracking systems, that act as hurdles to hiring qualified STARs.

Bethany explains, “By selecting that you do not have a Bachelor’s Degree, many people are automatically rejected from the application.”

In order to continue expanding opportunities for STARs, Merit America needed to find more jobs from employers willing to part with archaic methods and evaluate candidates based on skills.

Stellarworx expands our reach and provides an additional pathway for our learners to access great paying jobs.”

—Bethany Orban, Director, Employer Partnerships, Merit America
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Stellarworx helps Merit America place more STARs.

Stellarworx hosts many forward-thinking employers and provided Bethany with a new pool of jobs open to STARs, which helped expand Merit America’s reach and connected their learners to new career opportunities.

“When we had the opportunity to start using Stellarworx, we were excited because Merit America as a training program is focused on ensuring our learners enter new, well-paying careers.”

Because every job on Stellarworx is specifically made to be accessible to STARs, there are no Bachelor’s degree requirements and thus no risk of STARs getting “kicked out” for not having a degree.

“There are many platforms out there. But the difference with [Stellarworx] is that it’s tailored to people without degrees, which allows our learners to focus their time on employers who are committed to hiring for skills not degrees.”

“By highlighting skills in the candidates’ profile instead of focusing on education, the platform allows employers to connect with candidates based on their experience, which is exciting for both employers and candidates.”

It’s a win-win for everybody.”

—Colleen Nicoll, Director of Talent Acquisition, Iron Bow Technologies
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Connecting learners to careers. It’s a match!

Bethany used Stellarworx to successfully place learners into new roles — ultimately helping Merit America secure positions for more than a dozen STARs, and counting, who might have had a harder time finding jobs on other platforms. Amber Wallace Dekie, a Merit America learner, is one of their STAR success stories.

Base on the skills listed in every candidates’ profile, Stellarworx’s matching algorithm helped deliver a shortlist of candidates for an open Associate Help Desk Technician role at Iron Bow, a leading IT solutions provider. Among those shortlisted candidates was Amber.

“Her certification and her work experience were important,” says Colleen Nicoll, Director of Talent Acquisition at Iron Bow Technologies. Although Amber had nine years of experience as a medical assistant and pharmacy technician, her goal was to transition into the IT field. Through Merit America, Amber had earned her Google IT Support certification. Her unique background and skill set, surfaced by Stellarworx, unlocked an opportunity for everyone that otherwise might have gone overlooked. Amber was offered the job and accepted.

Once her resume had been posted to Stellarworx, Amber was surprised by and impressed with the responses she received from employers.

“It looked new,” says Amber. “It didn’t look like any other platform that I’ve used before like Career Builder, Monster, Indeed…” Most importantly, says Amber, “all the jobs I applied to, I actually heard back from, which was amazing.”

Says Bethany, “Employers are blown away by the quality of candidates they are unintentionally filtering out with degree requirements.”

With Stellarworx, Bethany and other talent developers have a highly effective platform to broaden their reach, quickly identify jobs from inclusive employers, track and measure the progress of their learners, and provide even greater hiring and advancement opportunities to their candidates.

Merit America's Journey

Merit America challenged with finding jobs from skills-first employers for their learners

Merit America joins Stellarworx

Connected their STARs to jobs without degree requirements

Merit America Logo

Merit America learner matched with Iron Bow role

Multiple STARs are placed, including Amber Wallace Dekie, who was hired and promoted by Iron Bow

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