Steve Lee on the “paper ceiling” and skills-based hiring

Thought leaders share ideas with WorkingNation Overheard at Presented by JFF Horizons – See Beyond 2022

More than 20 corporate and nonprofit partners have joined in a new effort to champion skills-based hiring for the 70 million workers without college degrees who have gained their skills through alternative routes, people the nonprofit Opportunity@Work calls STARs.

“If you talk to employers, the resonating factor for them in terms of skills is still the diploma. It is still the college degree,” says Steve Lee, executive director of SkillUp and one of the partners in the campaign. “That’s been a bias and a history that’s really hard to break apart.”

WorkingNation sat down with Lee at Presented by JFF Horizons – See Beyond 2022 in New Orleans.

Lee describes the focus on a diploma over skills as a “paper ceiling”.  He adds, “60% of America doesn’t have a college degree, yet they have the skill sets to do the jobs that the employers want. How do you break through that paper ceiling? You have to change mindsets. You need to change behaviors.”

The coalition campaign to change that mindset will include a national public service advertising campaign, developed by the Ad Council and creative agency Ogilvy, launching this fall.

WorkingNation is one of the 20+ partners. 

Learn more about the Opportunity@Work campaign to champion skills-based hiring

Learn more about SkillUp.