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Hogan announces new workforce accessibility initiative

Workforce Development Press Conference
Joe Andrucyk
Workforce Development Press Conference

Gov. Larry Hogan announced on Tuesday a program that will make people without four-year college degrees eligible for more state jobs.

The partnership with D.C.-based workforce development nonprofit organization Opportunity@Work will market state roles to people “skilled through alternative routes,” a group Hogan has dubbed “STARS.”

“Through these efforts that we're launching today, we are ensuring that qualified non-degree candidates are regularly being considered for these career-changing opportunities,” Hogan announced during a press conference.

Hogan reports the Department of Management and Budget estimates more than half of the current 38,000 state jobs could be performed by someone fitting this description.

A central goal of the initiative is to address labor shortages caused by COVID-19.

“STARs represent an untapped pool for employers and a potential long-term solution to these shortages and to other labor challenges like the skills gap,” he said

Byron Auguste, the CEO of Opportunity@Work said there are more than 1.3 million workers in the state who may not have four-year degrees but do have in-demand skills.

“At the end of the day, work is solving problems. It's building things, it's healing people,” Auguste said.“In the pandemic, we saw essential workers reconfiguring supply chains, changing safety protocols, adapting; there was a lot of courage, but there was also a lot of skill.”

Callan Tansill-Suddath is a State House Reporter for WYPR, where she covers the General Assembly.