Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced the launch of a multi-pronged, first-in-the-nation workforce development initiative to formally eliminate the four-year college degree requirement from thousands of state jobs. Spearheaded by the Maryland Department of Labor and the Maryland Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the state will work with partners to recruit and market these roles to job seekers who are “Skilled Through Alternative Routes” (STARs).
The governor was joined at last week's announcement by Secretary Tiffany Robinson of the Maryland Department of Labor and Byron Auguste, the CEO and co-founder of Opportunity@Work, a nonprofit workforce development organization that will work with DBM to specifically identify Maryland “STARs” in the IT, administrative, and customer service sectors.
“Through these efforts we are launching today, we are ensuring that qualified, non-degree candidates are regularly being considered for these career-changing opportunities,” said Hogan. “This is exactly the kind of bold, bipartisan solution we need to continue leading the nation by giving even more Marylanders the opportunities they need to be successful.”
The State of Maryland employs more than 38,000 individuals and DBM estimates that more than half of those jobs can substitute relevant experience, training, and/or community college education for a four-year degree. There are more than 300 currently open state government jobs that no longer require a four-year degree, all of which are now listed on “Stellarworx,” Opportunity@Work’s innovative STARs talent marketplace.
STARs are age 25 or older, active in the labor force, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and have developed their skills through alternative routes such as community college, apprenticeships, military service, boot camps, and most commonly, on-the-job. Opportunity@Work estimates that there are currently more than 70 million STARs in the United States.
“There are over 1 million Marylanders who do not have bachelor’s degrees, but do have skills for jobs that are in demand by both the State of Maryland and other employers,” said Auguste. “These Maryland workers are STARs – Skilled Through Alternative Routes – such as community college, military service, workforce training, on-the-job learning and more. By launching this initiative and sourcing STARs talent on Stellarworx, Governor Hogan and his administration are making clear that Maryland values all the skills of its diverse workforce. This will enable more Marylanders to work, learn and earn to their fullest potential and is a promising model for other states and employers to follow.”
Of the 2,869,000 workers in Maryland today, more than 1.3 million, or 47%, are considered STARs. Nationally, 61% of Black workers, 55% of Hispanic workers, 66% of rural workers of all races, and 61% of veterans are STARs.