Federal, state, and local governments have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change the trajectory of the labor market. STARs and skills-centered policy and practices are core to getting it right.

Why a Focus on Skills Matters

Over 60% of workers in the United States do not have a bachelor’s degree, yet almost 70% of new jobs created screen for one, even if it is not required to obtain the skills to do the job.

The success of the U.S. economy – including business growth potential – necessitates that our labor market acknowledges and taps into the talents of all workers.

By focusing on skills rather than pedigree, the public sector can tap into more than 70 million STARs – half the U.S. workforce – who have the skills needed for many of the jobs being created by public investment but are often screened out by degree requirements. 

Here’s how the STARs Policy team can help:

Public Sector Employment Practice Change

Policy Design and Implementation

Regional Workforce Strategy

We provide the data, insights, and know-how to help government hire and advance STARs employment to address their labor needs

We equip policy makers with the research and insights needed to bring a STARs-lens to the design, funding, and implementation of policies to build a more equitable and inclusive labor market and workforce system

We enable government leaders to leverage their convening power to influence and engage businesses in practice change to advance skills-based practices, which open opportunities for STARs.

Work in the public sector or support public sector organizations?

Join us to accelerate the movement around skills and STARs at the STARs Public Sector Hub.

States Are Leading the Way in Removing Degree Requirements

Opportunity@Work helps government leaders understand the critical role STARs can play in their hiring strategies and in their region’s workforce. We work with those leaders to implement hiring practices that will help government entities and regional businesses find the skilled, diverse talent they need.


The Maryland Example:

To address Maryland’s labor shortage, Governor Larry Hogan signed an executive order to remove degree requirements from most state jobs in 2022.


Number of jobs from which Maryland removed degree requirements

1.3 million

Number of STARs in Maryland who got the opportunity to apply for those jobs


Percent increase in STAR hiring in Maryland year-over-year after removing degree requirements

Since 2022, 21 states have opened up more than 467,000 state jobs to STARs. And the momentum keeps building…


*States identified with Executive Orders may have removed degree requirements through administrative authority of the governor

Interested in working with Opportunity@Work on a public sector workforce issue?

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