By Zoë Baird
So many Americans have great skills, but for too long we’ve valued the college degree as the primary path to success even though 70 percent of Americans don’t have one. This has left millions of Americans frustrated by a lack of opportunities that could help put them on a path to more fulfilling careers and income growth.
This is especially true for middle-skill workers—those with high school diplomas, and possibly some college, but not bachelor’s degrees. Those who want to learn or demonstrate the skills or credentials to advance their career need a new way in! To provide these workers with the tools and support they need, the Markle Foundation and our national partners LinkedIn, Arizona State University, and edX created Skillful—a skills-based jobs platform that values people’s skills, not just degrees—to help jobseekers learn about available pathways and get on them.
Skillful is informed by data and research from some of the best firms in the nation, including LinkedIn, Burning Glass, McKinsey, Civis Analytics, and North Star Opinion Research. For more than a year, our team conducted eighteen stakeholder focus group sessions, five economic studies, and several market surveys in an effort to better understand the labor market and to develop a skills-based marketplace tailored to the needs of today’s digital economy.