An Alternative Pathway to Employment



Credential inflation has been going on so long that it is now commonplace to see middle-skill and even low-skill jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree. In fact, George Leef described the problem way back in 2002 in an article for the Martin Center:

“In 1950, for example, most management positions were open to people with high school diplomas but no college degree. Gradually, businesses stopped considering applicants without a college degree. Now an MBA is considered essential for many positions. It isn’t the case that the work in business management has become steadily more difficult so that no person could handle the job without the additional years of formal education.”

In today’s competitive job market, this means that students who would be otherwise disinterested in higher education force themselves to attempt college with the hope that it will help them get a foot in the door to a good job. (Many students who enter school with this mindset never end up completing a degree.)

Now, a new company, Strive Talent, is offering some of those reluctant students an alternative path to employment. An article in Tech Crunch recently profiled the company. Their model is to make the job market more accessible without the need for a college education. Strive is a competency-based platform based on ability and potential rather than college degrees.

The article quoted CEO Will Houghteling: “I asked myself; what is the future of college and what is the future of college for these populations that college is not serving well? . . . There are faster, better, cheaper ways for people to get those great jobs they desire.”

Strive partners with large employers looking for “middle-skill” sales and customer service personnel. “Middle-skill” jobs are traditionally defined as those that require more education and training than a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree. Houghteling says that such jobs now make up 40 percent of the American economy.

Candidates for jobs using Strive Talent first take a cognitive assessment and a work sample test. They are then matched with companies for a structured interview. Candidate selection is based on both scores and personal evaluations.

Strive says its process is more reliable than just looking at someone’s resume. The company’s website points to research showing that education has only a 10 percent correlation with workplace success, while cognitive ability and work samples have 51 percent and 54 percent, respectively.

Strive helps students and employers “just say no” to credential inflation.

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