December 2022
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TD Magazine

New Campaign Aims to Break Employment Barriers

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Many workers in the US face obstacles to securing employment. One such barrier is a lack of an undergraduate degree. The Ad Council and Opportunity@Work, along with almost 50 national organizations and companies, are trying to change that with the new Tear the Paper Ceiling campaign. It aims to shift the narrative around workers who are skilled through alternative routes (STARs), which describes individuals who don't have a bachelor's degree.

"Across America today, millions of workers are unfairly shut out from job opportunities because of misperceptions about their skills and preparedness," says Ad Council President and CEO Lisa Sherman.


More than 70 million STARs in the US have developed their skills through community college, certificate programs, and on-the-job learning, among other methods. Tear the Paper Ceiling calls on organizations to remove barriers that prevent US workers from accessing upward mobility.

"Tearing the paper ceiling is about bringing in talent based on skills, not degrees; performance, not pedigree; and inclusion, not exclusion," says Byron Auguste, Opportunity@Work CEO. "This collaborative campaign is a critical next step in our mission to create a US labor market where if you can do the job, you can get the job."

Tear the Paper Ceiling provides resources that companies need to expand their STARs hiring via the Tear the Paper Ceiling Hiring Playbook for Employers. It also invites STARs to share their stories.

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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