Middle-skilled workers are among the 44 million Americans who struggle to find work, and as the world has settled into a new world of work amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, that challenge is becoming more difficult. Additionally, hiring practices rooted in a degree-first approach may be exacerbating the disparity between open positions and those qualified to fill them. As the United States unemployment rate hits 11.1% - that’s 17.75 million Americans out of work - employers in some of the hardest hit industries can’t afford to quibble over degrees and inflated credentials when it comes to hiring. In order to stem the tide of a devastating skills gap and attempt to address a growing recession, employers need to change how they define qualified applicants.