Tear
the Paper Ceiling

There’s a flaw in the labor market

A weakness that holds back skilled applicants.

Like when nearly 70% of new jobs insist on a bachelor’s degree, but fewer than 50% of workers have one—

BAM.

70+ million people in America just hit the paper ceiling.

The paper ceiling: (n) the invisible barrier that comes at every turn for workers without a bachelor’s degree. See also: no alumni network, biased algorithms, degree screens, stereotypes, and misconceptions.

Workers with experience, skills, and diverse perspectives – held back by a silent limitation.

It’s time to tear the paper ceiling and see the world beyond it.

I pledge to shatter stereotypes and misconceptions and to see people for all of their experiences, skills, and diverse perspectives.

I pledge to recognize the untapped potential of the 70+ million American workers who are STARs – Skilled Through Alternative Routes – so they can flourish.

I pledge to tear the paper ceiling, to see the world beyond it, and to let STARs shine.

Sign the pledge to tear the paper ceiling

Let’s send a clear message that it’s time to tear the paper ceiling by reaching 100,000 pledges by December 31, 2022!

Thanks for signing the pledge.

You’ve taken the first step in tearing the paper ceiling. Stay tuned for important updates, information and stories related to the campaign.

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There’s a flaw in the labor market

The paper ceiling: (n) the invisible barrier that comes at every turn for workers without a bachelor’s degree. See also: no alumni network, biased algorithms, degree screens, stereotypes, and misconceptions.

The paper ceiling holds back more than 70 million workers in the U.S. who are STARs - Skilled Through Alternative Routes, rather than through a bachelor’s degree. They’re the 50% of the workforce that has developed valuable skills through military service, community college, training programs, partial college completion, or, most commonly, on-the-job experience.

It’s time to tear the paper ceiling and see the world beyond it. Where "qualified" means qualities, not just degrees. A world where untapped potential gets to flourish. STARs are all around us. It’s time to let them shine.

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Explore resources for STARs

Discover job search tools, find talent developer programs, or browse our library of support resources to help advance your career.

Explore resources for companies

Download our free guide for employers, post a job targeting STARs, and browse our library of support resources to help you begin tearing the paper ceiling.

Talent Developers

Connecting STARs with job opportunities is faster and easier with Stellarworx. Get access to employers committed to hiring STARs, featuring skills-based matching, candidate tracking, and more.

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Workforce Organizations

Learn more about the 70+ million workers in the U.S. being held back by silent barriers, like bachelor's degree screens. Expanding your strategy to include a focus on workers who are Skilled Through Alternative Routes (STARs) can help your organization create a more resilient, equitable, and diverse labor market for all.

Learn about STARs

Researchers

There’s a growing body of research about workers Skilled Through Alternative Routes (STARs), but much more is needed. The STARs research community includes scholars across economics, public policy, data science, and organizational behavior who are studying questions to help understand impediments to—and opportunities for—STARs’ wage mobility.

Explore Research

Philanthropic Organizations

More than half the workforce is being left behind. Improving economic mobility for workers who are Skilled Through Alternative Routes (STARs) can also advance efforts to reduce poverty, improve education, or address other systemic social issues. Learn more about STARs and how their needs intersect with your philanthropic goals.

Learn about STARs

Meet the organizations behind the movement

Meet the organizations behind the movement