Strada Education Network released a new analysis of its biweekly, nationally representative survey tracking the impact of the global pandemic on Americans’ lives, work, and education.

This week’s analysis finds that 52% of Americans say it is either difficult for them to get a good job or their opportunities to advance at work are limited. Many Americans feel powerless to change that situation, with 46% saying the hiring and advancement system isn’t fair. Similar shares of Americans cited a lack of employer support for training or insufficient skills and credentials as the major impediment to advancement.

And while the majority of Americans believe additional education would give them some advantage in the labor market, those without college degrees were less likely to say so. A quarter of Americans without a college degree said more education and training would make no difference in their ability to get a good job or advance in their career, compared to only 16 percent of Americans with an associate’s degree or higher.

“As we strive toward an equitable economic recovery, Americans’ skepticism about their ability to advance professionally is deeply concerning,” said Dr. Dave Clayton, Senior Vice President at Strada’s Center for Education Consumer Insights. “This speaks to the broad need for change to better illuminate pathways and strengthen connections between education and work. People need a clearer understanding of how education can lead to a good job for them.”

Americans without college degrees say stronger connections between work and education programs, more support, and help navigating education and career options would increase their confidence in the value of education. And among Americans considering education in the next six months, 44% prefer work-based learning, nontraditional online training programs, or employer training over college programs. That’s up substantially from earlier in the pandemic, with only 1 in 3 Americans expressing a preference for work-based options in May.

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