December 6, 2023

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Alaska will no longer require four-year degrees for most state jobs, according to the administrative regulations signed Feb. 14 by Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

“Manpower shortages are impacting the delivery of essential state services,” the regulation states. “The labor supply is extremely limited and government agencies are competing for the same employees. Currently, there are not enough qualified applicants to fill all of the state’s vacancies.”

The Department of Administration was ordered to review what job classification would allow practical experience to be used instead of a four-year degree. Job postings will also be required to indicate which experience is relevant “whenever reasonable,” the order said.

“This unprecedented demand for labor throughout the state of Alaska requires the government to be flexible in recruiting, hiring and retaining a talented and capable workforce capable of serving the people of Alaska,” the order states.

One by one, states began loosening degree requirements for public sector jobs, largely in response to concerns about talent shortages. Pennsylvania did so in Januarysaying the move would open up 65,000 jobs for workers without a four-year degree. Utah and Maryland degree requirements have also dropped.

The private sector has also changed tactics open more jobs to workers with the right skills. For example, the Cleveland Clinic revised more than 250 job descriptions to reduce degree requirements, in part in an effort to improve the hiring and retention of black workers.

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