In hopes of mitigating an unprecedented workforce shortage in state government jobs, Gov. Mike Dunleavy has ordered the removal of four-year college degree requirements for most positions.
Dunleavy’s Feb. 14 order amends state personnel rules to place an emphasis on “minimum competency requirements,” while allowing for the broadest use of background experiences when hiring new state workers.
Like most parts of the country, Alaska is experiencing a lack of workers across nearly every job sector, including government. As of Feb. 14, the state’s job board included 414 openings.
“The State of Alaska is not the immune from the nationwide labor shortage,” Dunleavy stated in announcing the change. “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. If a person can do the job, we shouldn’t be holding anyone back just because they don’t have a degree.”
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Dunleavy’s order notes that the lack of state workers is now impacting the delivery of essential services.
Specifically, the order directs the state to identify all jobs that currently require a four-year degree, and to then review which posts could do away with this formal education in leu of “practical experience.”
Wherever possible, the Department of Administration is tasked with proposing and presenting amendments to the Personnel Board, recommending that they replace of any requirements for a four-year college degree for all state jobs in which a degree is “not legally required.”