(The Center Square) – Seeking qualified applicants who don’t possess a four-year degree to fill Maryland jobs is the focus of a new workforce development program, Gov. Larry Hogan said.

The governor announced the launch of the Skilled Through Alternative Routes program on Tuesday, which is designed to recruit individuals who possess the skills needed to perform a state job but don’t have a degree from a college or university. It’ll be commonly known as STARs.

Gov. Larry Hogan praised passes of the infrastructure bill. Credit: Gov. Larry Hogan

“Through these efforts, we are launching today, we are ensuring that qualified, non-degree candidates are regularly being considered for these career-changing opportunities,” Hogan said in the release. “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 program, according to the release, is the first in the nation of its kind and is a multi-pronged initiative spearheaded by the state’s Department of Labor and the Department of Budget and Management.

Currently, the state employs more than 38,000 individuals, according to the release, and it is estimated that more than 50% of those jobs could employ individuals with relevant experience, training, and or a community college education instead of a four-year degree.

“Through these efforts, we are ensuring that qualified, non-degree candidates are regularly being considered for these career-changing opportunities,” Hogan said. “Just today, we added more than 300 government jobs that are open and available that no longer require a four-year degree.”

Those jobs can be found at Stellarworx, the governor said.

“We’re partnering with Opportunity at Work to specifically identify STARs in the IT, administrative, and customer service,” Hogan said. “There are more than 70 million adults in the United States who do not have a four-year college degree who are skilled through alternative routes. These STARs are active in the workforce and have developed skills through apprenticeships, military experience, or on-the-job experience.”

According to the release, STARs are those workers who are 25 or older, are active in the labor force, have a high school degree or equivalent, and have learned skills through community college, apprenticeships, military services, boot camps, and on-the-job training.

“As a life-long small businessman, I know that a growing economy and private sector goes hand-in-hand with a flourishing and growing workforce,” Hogan said. “When I became governor seven years ago, we made it a top priority to build an unrivaled eco-system of job creation and economic growth in Maryland and to build lasting career pathways that put more people into work in good-paying jobs.

“It is more important than ever that we work together to find new ways to build a steady pipeline of talented, well-trained, skilled workers for the jobs of the future. That means pursuing bold, innovative ideas and being committed to leaving no skilled workers behind.”

This article was originally published on The Center Square.

Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers...

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