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Help Wanted: No Degree Neccesary


The doors of opportunity have opened a little wider in Georgia and Florida. They are the latest states to remove an unnecessary barrier to state jobs. Government employers can now hire any worker with the skills necessary to do a particular job, regardless of whether he has a college degree. Gov. Brian Kemp signed Georgia’s bill into law on April 27. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Florida’s on Friday. 

In the past year, governors in Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah and Virginia have taken executive action to filter prospective employees by skills, not degrees. This reform opens paths to opportunity and helps states fill jobs. 

The problem of “degree inflation” is partially to blame for a workforce shortage in state government. Employers have for many decades used the college degree to screen candidates, even when a degree has no relevance to the job in question. Before Maryland’s reform in 2022, Gov. Larry Hogan’s team found that highly skilled military veterans were denied information-technology jobs with the state because they didn’t have college degrees. Removing unnecessary barriers to employment and shifting to skills-based hiring helps qualified workers gain access to jobs for which they wouldn’t otherwise be considered.

Read the rest in the Wall Street Journal here.