Cognizant Foundation grantee Opportunity@Work is committed to researching and advancing economic opportunities and outcomes for 71 million workers without a four-year college degree who are skilled through alternative routes (STARs). These STARs make up over half the workforce, and have experienced a 13% decline in real wages over the past generation. With support from the Cognizant Foundation, Opportunity@Work’s STARs Insights Initiative created a cross-disciplinary research agenda to fully understand barriers to opportunity for STARs and the complex drivers of mobility. This resulted in two foundational reports:
Reach for the STARs and its companion academic NBER paper introduced the STARs concept, defined the population of over 71 million workers, and identified a segment of 36 million “rising STARs” who have the skills to do work that would pay them an average of 70% more than their current wages, if they were able to fully deploy their skills.