In his first official act, Gov. Josh Shapiro signed an Executive Order on Wednesday, eliminating four-year degree requirements for approximately 92 percent or 65,000 state jobs in the Commonwealth.
The governor instructed the Office of Administration to emphasize skills and experience in Commonwealth job postings and ordering a review of the remaining eight percent of state government jobs that currently require a four-year degree, many of which are required statutorily required.
“Every Pennsylvanian should have the freedom to chart their own course and have a real opportunity to succeed,” said Shapiro. “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.”
“Today, we are making sure Pennsylvanians know that the doors of opportunity are wide open to those who want to serve our Commonwealth, regardless of whether or not they have a degree. 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 also ordered all state agencies under his jurisdiction to take steps to emphasize work experience in their hiring. As part of that order, the Shapiro Administration launched a new website where applicants can easily search among the thousands of open positions that don’t require a four-year degree. That website is now linked from the homepage at www.employment.pa.gov.
“As a long-time Commonwealth employee who does not have a four-year degree, Governor Shapiro’s signing of this Executive Order means so much to me, both personally and professionally,” said Acting Deputy Secretary of Administration Beth Christian. “This Executive Order tells current Commonwealth employees and anyone looking to come work for the state of Pennsylvania, we support you, with or without a degree. Thank you, Governor Shapiro for recognizing the importance of this topic and ensuring that removing barriers for state employment is a priority.”
According to the Department of Labor & Industry, more than seven million Pennsylvanians do not hold a four-year degree, and millions of Pennsylvanians develop their skills through alternative routes such as two-year degree programs, apprenticeships, military service, job training, and on-the-job experience.
The move follows a similar order from former Maryland governor Larry Hogan in March of 2022.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board wrote in September that “while four-year college educations can impart job-specific knowledge and intangible skills, such as problem solving and time management, most or all of those can be learned in other academic settings, such as community and technical colleges, or on-the-job.”