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.”

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.”

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Alaska’s labor crisis spurs Dunleavy to nix 4-year degree requirement for most state jobs

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Neil DeWitt says:

    This is great if he also lowers the pay scale to match. I don’t think a high school drop out deserves top dollar for driving the grader that you had to have a college degree for. This also was why I did qualify for any state jobs. I did 20+ years in the military and didn’t go to college full time. I had lots of credits when I got out but still didn’t qualify. Let me ask this; prior to covid we had it all, since we have nothing. Where did all the people go? I think they learned by staying home hacking people and crying they can’t get a job the government keeps sending out free money and food stamps and you’ll never get anyone back to work. It wont take long if they don’t have money they’ll start working again.

    • Sharon Alice Turner says:

      OH! Such a load of self aggrandizing, phony, snobbery. I passed a stringent civil services test block months before my 1964 high school graduation! Our East Bay area schools were considered best in our nation. And, Sir, and even decades later our high school diplomas were shown equal to ‘at least’ two+ year degree level of education. I learned how to learn, common sense, and how to be a Patriotic US citizen. My reading skills began at the kitchen table with recipe cards, hand written to teach me phonics. We lived between Auburn and Grass Valley, California. Later I turned a basic ‘job’ into a good career. You should climb down from your “high horse” , you could get a nose bleed. Grandma PS: Get rid of Unions, and bloated so called administration.. and try teaching for a change.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    The “four year college degree” requirement was a sham and I am glad that he is removing it. A college degree does not guarantee anything. I hope that a lot of competent, qualified individuals (without four year degrees) get jobs.

    • JS says:

      Exactly! I sure hope this becomes a trend. Employers then have to actually look at people as individuals not just check boxes for gov credentials. From personal experience I would say the auto-filtering of candidates through software has turned off or turned out many qualified candidates that would have been great employees.

      • Sharon Alice Turner says:

        Thank you. As an old relatives who, due to the Great Depression, one of whom was my Mom, said : “We have too many educated fools.” They could quote the Greeks and Roman Classics, Shakespeare, and America’s top authors, while growing your food! Making tools, and inventing solutions to problems as they arose. The phony snobbery of the “Red Diaper doper babies” in nauseating.

  • Me says:

    Stop paying them welfare and you’ll find there are a lot of people looking for jobs. This is another fake crisis intended to soften the way to bring illegal aliens into the state.

    • Sharon Alice Turner says:

      Absolutely: “Homelessness” here has become a huge and growing industry. One guy I now know by sight and name, was panhandling at 15th & Seward Hwy. I yelled out at him ” Hey ‘Joe” they’re hiring.. go get a job! He hollered back saying “But this IS my job.”

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Hey dunleavy how about stop funding the useless university system!!! Remember when you began your useless governorship? You did what the people advised. The university got mad at you, and like the withering limp whimp you’ve proved yourself to be , you gave them what they demanded and the state got a place dedicated to perverse people who engage in destroying society!
    Thank you again dunleavy!

  • Ceak says:

    great news!

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Always consider who is promoting the next idea to “solve “ a problem! Government never produced and never will , a product or service that was effective, efficient, or for that matter of reliable quality! They don’t have to! Therefore they don’t! Dumbleavy dumbing down the standards will make cost go up and quality go down! We will all pay more for less as a result!

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    One more important thing to mention is that this is a grand opportunity to reduce the size of this incompetent government! Why is that not on the table Dunleavy???? Can we really afford your unreasonable promotions of less efficient, effective, or to put it bluntly, a waste of time!?
    Your carbon dream won’t support your stupidity!!!

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Let’s take a look at Mike Dunleavy’s calendar of a year ago on February 7th 2022 at 9:00 am in the palmer courthouse complex! 1) Why the meeting? 2) Who was in the room? 3)What was the agenda? 4) Summary comments.
    1) The meeting was created by my persistence and unwillingness to submit to a stonewalling, lying, deep bench of corrupt government officials who use our funds to protect themselves from being exposed to the public that they purport to serve, but in provable fact do not!
    2) Mike Dunleavy, Todd Smolden, Treg Taylor ( AG), a friend of mine ( un named) my Wife, and myself.
    3) I served the state as an Electrician for 8 years. 5+at Avtec in Seward and 2+ at Palmer Corrections. While at Avtec I became a whistle blower, I was proven to be right, the response was to retaliate and persecute! I found myself to be trapped and as the persecution escalated. I had to resign with a one day notice! Subsequently I moved north when I found a job at DOC palmer. After I was already on the job for over six months, found out that HR followed me and started the persecution again. I lasted another year and a half then the corrupt administration decided it was time to fire me for made up charges like driving too slow on the compound ( 12 mph in a 15 mph zone) , not saying good morning to another staff member, my communication radio volume up too loud, etc. The real reason is because of whistle blowing at a previous department, DOL!
    4) My persistence finally paid off when Dunleavy began his tenure as the Governor! Two years prior at a public forum at Chugiak high school governor dunleavy was taking questions and I spoke and requested 1 hour of his time to reveal state corruption and retaliation! He gave me the affirmative and told me to call his scheduler. I was lied to as the scheduler indicated to me that the promised meeting was not going to take place.
    Two years later governor dunleavy was at real life church in palmer for a AMAC meeting where I questioned governor dunleavy publicly and declared him to be a liar! His conscience seemed to get the better of him while his knees buckled and his voice responded,”I get with you right after this meeting and get you on the schedule!!!”
    The meeting was cordial and filled with documents proving the lengthy efforts the state government takes to protect itself!
    My disdain for this governor that has been presented factual evidence of the wicked actions of the system he is accountable for is beyond words! His response one year later to suggest that the standards need to be dropped to become an employee of the state displays a human being that has lost all reality of what it means to be human! My hope is that this experience I have endured and partially explained will give impetus to not lessen the standards, for God sake’s no, we desperately need accountability, and primarily we need to expect more of those already in this depraved system!!!! Starting with the Governor Mike Dunleavy!!!!!