Pennsylvania Governor Signs Executive Order Ending Four-Year-Degree Requirement For Most State Jobs

Pennsylvania Governor Signs Executive Order Ending Four-Year-Degree Requirement For Most State Jobs
Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro signed an executive order last week aimed at encouraging more people without college degrees to work within state government. This as Shapiro sets out to deliver on his campaign promise to end the requirement of college degrees for some state jobs. The order does not reflect a significant change in actuality, as a large proportion of positions within government have never required bachelor’s degrees.

Instead, what it does reflect is a shift towards state agencies requiring information about previous employment and work experience as opposed to qualifications.

“Every Pennsylvanian should have the freedom to chart their own course and have a real opportunity to succeed. They should get to decide what’s best for the—whether they want to go to college or straight into the workforce—not have that decided for them,” Shapiro told Politics PA.

The order states that over 90 percent of all executive positions don’t require four-year degrees. It will also review whether entry requirements for jobs that currently still require degrees can be eased.

“My view is that if you’re qualified for the job that you should get the job here in Pennsylvania. When we open up the doors of opportunity to everyone, it strengthens our families, it strengthens our workforce, and it strengthens our economy, ” Shapiro said as posted in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

In last year’s campaign, Shapiro primarily focused on levelling the field and allowing individuals without a college education to work within state government. While in theory this provided good ground for opportunities, with an average annual salary of $50,000, it also presented significant limitations.

According to figures released last July, only 135 out of the 2,600 job titles throughout the entire 72,000 workforce, had the requirement for a bachelor’s degree. Just over one hundred of those positions would potentially accept a combination of experience and training as an equivalent, as previously reported by Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Yet that at the time the figures were released, a mere 270 people with job titles such as counselors or engineers were required to have a bachelor’s degree.

Nonetheless, the order facilitated a wider scope of economic opportunities for Pennsylvania’s state workforce. Currently, around two thirds of Pennsylvania’s population don’t have a bachelor’s degree.

Shapiro said this should send a clear message to workers that regardless of whether they attended college or gained practical work experience or an apprenticeship, they are welcomed and valued. He added that he hopes the same will hold true for the private sector in the future.

“To our businesses, we can innovate. Find new ways to recruit and train a talented workforce. I hope you will join us in this mission,” Shapiro declared.

He also brought attention to the launch of “,” a newly-redesigned website where interested applicants are able to locate and apply for available positions within state government. Currently there are openings for over 500 positions on the website.

Shapiro’s statement on Jan. 18, was echoed by Darice Mayhew, director of administration within the Governor’s Office. She said that the new legislation would provide better opportunities for people of color, who previously had limited access to higher standards of education.

Adding that she earned her bachelor’s degree during her work career, she appreciates efforts that would equalize the prospect of opportunities for everyone.

“When I think about my own personal journey and career in state government, much of my success has been attributed to experiential learning, mentoring opportunities and on-the-job training,” Ms. Mayhew said.

By Kos Temenes