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Virginia's workforce development reforms create opportunities.

In Virginia, the key to economic growth starts with low tax rates, restraining government spending and avoiding onerous regulations. But an overlooked part of that mix is developing a highly skilled workforce. Thankfully, Gov. Glenn Youngkin has made this issue a top priority and taken common-sense action.

As of July, Youngkin scrapped the college degree requirement for about 90% of state government positions. This is a shrewd move in a state where the unemployment rate is just 2.7%. While a 50-year low in unemployment is welcome news, it creates a tight labor market, making it a daunting challenge to fill more than 20,000 state government job openings per year.

In dropping the bachelor’s degree prerequisite, the governor removed an unnecessary employment barrier for a large segment of Virginia’s population. Commonwealth agencies now benefit by being able to more broadly draw talent from candidates with corresponding skill sets and relevant certifications. Thanks to Youngkin, Virginia joins our neighboring states of Maryland, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, along with several other states, in rethinking how to expand the public service talent pool.

Read the full piece in the Virginia Pilot.