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—


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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Changing the future of work.

Upward economic mobility for millions of skilled workers has been hampered by two falsehoods: that low wage equals low skill, and that a bachelor’s degrees is the only gateway to job-relevant skills. Now a growing body of research is driving a new narrative - that the 70+ million workers known as STARs - Skilled Through Alternative Routes, rather than through a bachelor’s degree - have the in-demand skills to fill millions of higher-wage jobs.