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Gov. Spencer Cox and Gov. Josh Shapiro.
Gov. Spencer Cox and Gov. Josh Shapiro.Rick Bowmer/AP file ; Matt Rourke/AP file

Governors from both parties scrap degree requirements for state jobs

Republican and Democratic governors have paved the way for those without a college degree to work for the state government.


On Tuesday, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy ordered a review of job descriptions in the state government, asking the state Department of Administration to remove college degree requirements from jobs that do not legally require them.

He is at least the fifth governor to change those requirements in their states, paving the way for people who do not have college degrees to apply for a wider array of jobs in state government.

In a statement, Dunleavy said the move would help address a labor shortage, echoing the reasons other governors gave for easing job requirements, too.

“Today people can gain knowledge, skills and abilities through on the job experience. If we’re going to address our labor shortage, we have to recognize the value that apprenticeships, on-the-job training, military training, trade schools and other experience provides applicants," Dunleavy said in the statement.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, signed an executive order earlier this year removing degree requirements for almost 65,000 jobs in the state government.

"Whether you went to college or gained experience through work, on-the-job training or an apprenticeship, we value what you bring to the table, and we want you here,” Shapiro said about the order.

Last year, former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Govs. Jared Polis, D-Colo. and Spencer Cox, R-Utah, implemented similar orders in their states.

In statements, governors highlighted the value of job experience, saying it can be of greater or equal value to a college degree.

These changes happening among states led by Democrats and Republicans could give those executives a political boost from important voters as well — including white voters without college degrees in the Republican base and voters of color without degrees in the Democratic base.