By Quinn TownsendAlaska Policy Forum

Governor Dunleavy recently announced that most state jobs will no longer require a four-year college degree due to workforce needs. He said, “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 provide applicants. If a person can do the job, we shouldn’t be holding anyone back just because they don’t have a degree.”  

Alaska Policy Forum applauds this forward-thinking action and encourages policymakers to consider additional policies that can improve workforce development in Alaska.  

Recent forecasts expect Alaska to add 5,300 jobs in 2023 alone, but like the rest of the nation, Alaska is also struggling with a worker shortage. Other states that have also removed college degree requirements for state jobs include MarylandPennsylvania, and Utah.   

Other related policies Alaska Policy Forum has written about include

— Providing a return-on-investment analysis for career and technical education (CTE) programs in Alaska 

— An online dashboard that tells parents and the public how well Alaska’s K-12 schools prepare their students for education, employment, or enlistment

— The creation of a student-facing resource website that provides clear information on a variety of educational pathways and earnings potential in Alaska

Of course, these are just a few ways to communicate to Alaskans what job opportunities are available in the state, as well as the earning potential of those jobs. Much more work needs to be done to educate Alaskans on viable opportunities other than college that provide comparable, or even better, earnings and also benefit the well-being of other Alaskans. 

Alaska cannot thrive without a strong workforce, and there is so much potential for steady, well-paying jobs that do not require a four-year college degree or require taking on massive student loan debt. A variety of training via apprenticeships, trade schools, on-the-job training, and other experiences can prepare Alaskans to provide for themselves, their families, and their communities.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

OPINION: Alaska Needs More Workers

Quinn Townsend
Quinn Townsend is the Policy Manager at Alaska Policy Forum with an M.S. in Resource Economics and Management from West Virginia University. Previously, she worked as the Economic Research Analyst at The Buckeye Institute. She is a graduate of the Heritage Foundation’s strategic communications fellowship and a Young Voices Contributor.


  • Mary says:

    How about rewarding people that get and maintain a job. If it doesn’t pay a survival wage, supplement it instead of paying them not to work.

  • Ruth says:

    We agree with Mary.
    Not meaning to discourage this trend to trade schools, etc. How many babies have been aborted under the
    Roe v. Wade catastrophe? How many of our workers have been slaughtered for a dangerous atheistic worldview and subsets.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    I used to work for state of Alaska! As a whistle blower reported corruption activity in the state consequently retaliated for it, would advise others to never consider working for this system of coercion and corruption. Dunleavy knows about it and doesn’t care! As goes leadership so goes the system!!!! Want to know more? Ask me , I have the documents.!

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Thinking about Dunleavy’s timing on dropping the college degree requirement. I do feel that there are many qualified people that have been turned away from state jobs because they did not hold a degree, so I am glad to see this requirement dropped. HOWEVER, interesting timing since the O’biden administration wants illegal immigrants integrated into society. I have seen a specific healthcare system here Alaska, Montana, Washington, Oregon, and California that would purposely hire non-US workers (incentive by the gov’t?) and toss US resident applications in the round file on the floor. Sometimes it isn’t that US residents do not want the jobs, but rather that they are being displaced by immigrants here illegally or holding work visas. Is this what is going to occur with the state jobs also? Will the state be hiring many non-US workers and turning away the US residents from these positions? Going to be interesting to see how this rolls out.

  • Mary says:

    Interesting, yes, but why will illegals want to work when they get so much from the U.N/U.S. ??? WE are headed down a dead end street if things don’t change yesterday!

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      Mary, at this point we are going to hit the wall at the end of a dead-end street no matter what. What is going to matter is what is done on the other side after we hit the wall. The world can get rid of the globalist system; but we have to start at the local level in preparing to start over under a new money system. The more states that can recover without using a globalist banking system, the better off the world will be. As for the illegals: the globalists want the illegals to take our jobs and drive the US to bankruptcy at the same time. Dunleavy has the power to enforce our state’s sovereignty and we have the power to enforce our own sovereignty and demand that Dunleavy uphold our individual sovereignty.

      • DaveMaxwell says:

        How’s that demand of dunleavy to do anything beneficial for the citizens going?

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        It is a dream Dave. We know that he does not have any plans to stand up for our individual sovereignty or our state sovereignty. He and McCable are slow-walking us into our social credit scoring system.