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Work not only provides a paycheck, but also human dignity and flourishing. Policies that discourage work, or make it harder for citizens to find work, stifle opportunities for everyone, especially the least well-off. States can uphold the dignity of work by opening pathways for workers to gain the skills they need to enter and advance in the workforce, freeing entrepreneurs to innovate and build, and tearing down unnecessary roadblocks to finding fulfilling careers.

Workers who lack necessary skills need multiple pathways for training opportunities to build those skills and land a job. Apprenticeships, certificate programs, microcredentials, bootcamps, formal education, prior work experience, and life experiences can all develop skills that enable workers to thrive in future positions. States should not discriminate in favor of or against particular skills development pathways.

State workforce policy must also encourage workers to be productive, meet the needs of their fellow citizens, and take risks. States need builders to form unique business arrangements, and should eliminate policies that punish innovation or discourage success.

Finally, states should limit barriers to work to those that are necessary to protect the public. Licensing is an important role of the state, but too often protects entrenched interests rather than the citizenry. Needless education or training requirements force young workers to take on debt and forgo income, but sometimes have little relevance for their day-to-day job responsibilities. Similarly, strict limitations on reciprocity for out-of-state licenses often push productive workers out of the labor force.

Our Solution:

EXPANDING PUBLIC SECTOR CAREER OPPORTUNITIES: College degree requirements for public sector jobs often needlessly restrict the pool of otherwise qualified applicants. This reform removes degree requirements from jobs unless the degree actually is necessary for the job. It recommends guidelines on how to implement a new hiring process for state and local government jobs and puts the onus on government employers to justify specific skills and degrees where needed. This will enable states and government agencies to hire skilled applicants more efficiently, while removing the barrier for qualified candidates to become employed.

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