by Anthony Hennen
In his first executive action since becoming governor, Josh Shapiro abolished college degree requirements for state job listings in hopes of expanding economic opportunity.
“Every Pennsylvanian should have the freedom to chart their own course and have a real opportunity to succeed,” Shapiro said. “They should get to decide what’s best for them – whether they want to go to college or straight into the workforce – not have that decided for them.”
“I want to make it clear to all Pennsylvanians, whether they went to college or they gained experience through work, job training, or an apprenticeship program; we value your skills and talents, and we want you to apply for a job with the Commonwealth,” Shapiro said.
The executive order is effective immediately and will also review the 8% of jobs with a college-degree requirement “to determine which job classifications are appropriate to include practical experience, in lieu of, or in addition to, a four-year college degree requirement.”
The change represents a significant shift in Pennsylvania. Public-sector jobs tend to require college degrees at higher rates than private-sector jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Occupations typically requiring postsecondary education for entry made up 63.5% of state government employment and 61.1% of local government employment, compared with 35% of private sector employment,” the BLS noted.
In addition to the executive order, the Shapiro administration also launched a website where job-seekers can browse job listings that don’t require a college degree.
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Anthony Hennen is a reporter for The Center Square. Previously, he worked for Philadelphia Weekly and the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. He is managing editor of Expatalachians, a journalism project focused on the Appalachian region.