Funding Opportunity Announcement: Powering STAR Breakthroughs


Opportunity@Work (O@W) studies job pathways to economic mobility for workers who are STARs (Skilled Through Alternative Routes, such as community college, military service, and on-the-job training, rather than a bachelor’s degree). Our data shows millions of STARs already have the skills to succeed in higher-wage roles – but not the opportunity. 

To highlight this “opportunity gap”, we investigate demographic divides in the labor market — including signals of occupational segregation – that disproportionately disadvantage Historically Excluded groups of STAR workers. Black, Hispanic, rural, and women STARs (among others) are overrepresented in lower-wage occupations. To unlock pathways toward higher wages and greater mobility for these workers, we must use data-informed, skills-first, place-based approaches to source and hire STARs. 

We’re inviting talent developers who are currently using or have ideas for innovative solutions that create economic mobility for Historically Excluded STARs to tell us about your work! To support your proposal, we encourage applicants to utilize O@W’s research on occupational segregation, tools like Stellarsight, and other resources available on our website and via the Tear the Paper Ceiling Coalition website to help ground your work in STARs data.

Through Powering STAR Breakthroughs, we will award 7-10 grants, to be expended over an 18-month period, of $200,000-$300,000 each. With equity in mind, we ask that applicants have organizational budgets between $3M-$7M. We also encourage applications from organizations located throughout the US that work across a wide range of industries.


Application Timeline

Funding Opportunity Announcement Released

March 6, 2024

Informational Webinar on Funding Opportunity

March 26, 2024

See Webinar (View FAQs)

Applications Due

April 26, 2024 @ 5:00pm EST

(via email:

Awards Announced

June 25, 2024 (View Press Release)

Grant Period Timeline

June 14, 2024 — December 31, 2025


For additional guidelines and to view the full application, please click below to download!