In push for workers, Minnesota ends degree requirements for most state jobs

Dive Brief:

  • Minnesota is the latest state to end degree requirements for the vast majority of state government jobs. Gov. Tim Waltz on Monday signed Executive Order 23-14, focused on improving access to and retention within state employment. 
  • By the end of January 2024, state agencies will receive guidance on the hiring process to emphasize skills and work experience as work qualifications over degrees in jobs where degrees or certifications are not required by law. Agencies are told to “provide alternative pathways to qualification whenever possible.”
  • “So long as there are unnecessary barriers to state employment opportunities, the state will not be well positioned to recruit, advance and retain the workforce needed to deliver uninterrupted, high quality, and effective services and programs to Minnesotans,” the executive order reads.

Dive Insight:

Minnesota joins a slew of states, including Alaska, Pennsylvania, Utah and Virginia, ending four-year degree requirements for certain government jobs. The push is in part to open up jobs to a wider talent pool — especially as hiring challenges continue to plague state and local governments.

To improve recruiting and retention, some state and local governments have pushed to build clear career pathing and better training opportunities, one expert previously told HR Dive.

Other studies have shown that many job postings require degrees when degrees are likely not a good evaluation of the skills required for the job, a Bain & Co., OneTen and Grads of Life report found. Focusing on job skills instead may open up jobs to a more diverse pool of applicants, the report noted.

And increasingly, many Americans are skeptical of the value of a four-year degree, other polls have shown.