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STARs Insights

Uniting a community of partners to share data-driven insights that make STARs more visible.

Awakening Employers to the Value of STARs

As companies seek and develop talent to fill their open roles, they’re overlooking millions of workers who lack a four-year degree but have vital foundational and technical skills gained through work experience and training. These individuals Skilled Through Alternative Routes (STARs) represent a mostly untapped pool of talent for the American economy.

STARs have the potential to thrive in the middle- and high-wage jobs of the 21st century, but they’re mostly invisible in a culture that equates low-wage jobs with low skill.

Opportunity@Work and our partners believe that a common fact base and data-driven insights about STARs are critical to increasing their visibility and changing perceptions. Gathering these facts and insights will enable us to rally critical actors in workforce development – especially companies and their executives – around a common North Star: hiring more STARs into middle- and high-wage roles to meet 21st-century talent needs and begin reversing the real wage decline of this population.

Our STARs Insights Initiative

Because STARs is a new concept, significant analytical work is necessary to define and characterize who STARs are, identify and outline targeted middle-wage roles and career pathways, and establish a baseline to track and measure progress over time. To reach this goal, the STARs Insights Initiative will develop these resources:

Reach for the STARs

This report will define and segment the STARs population, quantify the opportunity to reverse real-wage decline among STARs, describe emerging pathways for STARs into middle-wage jobs, highlight STARs’ stories, and feature programs focused on serving STARs.

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Our Reach for the STARs report will be available in early 2020. Sign up to be the first to receive this report when we launch!

Here’s what this report will include:

STARs definition: STARs are the 68 million working-age individuals in the United States who lack a four-year degree but have at least a high school diploma, and have the skills to do higher-wage work. 

STARs demographics: STARs are in all geographies across the United States and represent the full diversity of the working population. 76% of African Americans, 83% of Latinx, and 81% of rural Americans are STARs.

STARs segments: STARs are in low-, middle-, and high-wage work, and millions have the skills to move to higher-wage positions today. Shining STARs are in high-wage work, Rising STARS have the skills to move into higher-wage work immediately, and Potential STARs need training to move into higher-wage work in the coming years.

Supporting STARs: STARs require different support at different stages in their journey. A Rising STAR needs greater access to opportunity, while a Potential STAR may need targeted skills training. 

STARs profiles: Each STAR has taken a different path to his or her current role. These profiles demonstrate the power of training, access, and opportunity to advance individuals in their career journeys.

Don't miss out!

Sign up to see the report first!

Thank you for your interest! You will be the first to know when we launch our STARs report.

Navigate with the STARs

This report will identify and quantify the middle-wage jobs viable for STARs candidates. It will detail the proportion of these jobs currently filled by STARs as well as the number of jobs that could be filled by STARs if they were given access and opportunity.

Coming in mid-2020

Don't miss out!

Sign up to see the report first!

Thank you for your interest! You will be the first to know when we launch our STARs report.

STARs Data Community

The STARs Data Community will be an online portal of published work on STARs, a collaboration forum for the community of scholars and analysts focused on STARs, and eventually a data collaborative for private and public data sets on STARs.

Coming in early 2020

Don't miss out!

Sign up to see the report first!

Thank you for your interest! You will be the first to know when we launch our STARs report.

STARs Insights Advisory Panel

The STARs Insights Advisory Panel provides expert guidance for the Insights initiative. Chaired by Dr. Erica Groshen, former Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the panel comprises advisors with experience in labor economics, workforce development, the future of work, and related topics across the public, private, and academic sectors.  

  • Erica Groshen's Photo'

    Erica Groshen

    Former Commissioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Peter Q. Blair's Photo'

    Peter Q. Blair

    Assistant Professor, Harvard University
  •  Chandra Childers's Photo'

    Chandra Childers

    Study Director, Institute for Women's Policy Research
  • Martin Fleming 's Photo'

    Martin Fleming

    Chief Economist, IBM
  • Martha Gimbel's Photo'

    Martha Gimbel

    Economist, Schmidt Futures
  • Michael Strain 's Photo'

    Michael Strain

    Director of Economic Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute
  • Keith Wardrip 's Photo'

    Keith Wardrip

    Community Manager, Philadelphia Federal Reserve


Our partners help inform and guide the Opportunity@Work team on the analytic and qualitative work on STARs.