A high school degree no longer guarantees working-class adults sure footing in the labor market. But a four-year college experience may seem too long, costly, or risky. If not a bachelor’s degree program, then what other options can help working-class Americans get a leg up?

Nondegree credentials and work-experience programs are often presented as “alternatives” to postsecondary education. However, these credentials and programs supplement college degrees for higher-educated adults more often than serving as alternatives to degrees for less-educated adults, says a report from the American Enterprise Institute.