What works and what workers try: Social mobility paths beyond the bachelor’s degree and the impact of racialized inequality

Grant Type: doctoral

Grant Year: 2018

Grant Amount: $15,000

Grant description:

This project will look at what alternative approaches could allow those in low-income communities—the majority of which are communities of color—to negotiate an exit from poverty. As the middle of the jobs market has hollowed out and the college wage premium has increased, much of the conversation around policy solutions has focused on upskilling or encouraging more people to pursue higher education. Two-thirds of Americans, however, still lack a bachelor’s degree, a proportion that hasn’t changed much over the decades. This raises the question of what alternative policies could encourage mobility. Hill will explore how economic inequality shapes the perceptions and knowledge of opportunities and options among those in low-income communities of color. In light of deeply racialized American inequality, this project aims to shed light on mechanisms creating and prohibiting social mobility among “low-skilled” or noncollege-educated workers of color.

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