Maryland will no longer require four-year degrees for thousands of state jobs Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan called it a "first in the nation" workforce development program.
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Maryland will no longer require four-year degrees for thousands of state jobs

No college degree necessary: Thousands of state government jobs in Maryland will be available to people without four-year college educations, Gov. Larry Hogan announced. John Walker/Flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/whatcouldgowrong/4608963722 hide caption

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John Walker/Flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/whatcouldgowrong/4608963722

Maryland is officially dropping the four-year college degree requirement from many state jobs, Gov. Larry Hogan announced today.

The state is launching what the governor calls a "first in the nation" workforce development program to recruit qualified workers who do not hold college degrees. Rolling back the barrier will help fill government positions left vacant during the pandemic, the governor said during a press conference. More than 300 state jobs that don't require four-year degrees are currently open and posted online, he added.

It's "more important than ever that we work together to find new ways to build a steady pipeline of talented, well-trained, skilled workers for the jobs of the future," Hogan said.

Around 38,000 people are currently employed by the state of Maryland, and nearly half of those jobs could be performed by qualified candidates without four-year degrees, according to the governor. Hogan said that other qualifications, including relevant experience, training, or community college education, will be given equal weight for many state government positions in IT, administrative work, and customer service.

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Maryland is teaming up with workforce development nonprofit Opportunity@Work to vet non-degree-holding candidates for state jobs.

"We really want an economy that if you can do the job, you can get the job," Byron Auguste, CEO of Opportunity@Work, said during Tuesday's press conference. The organization calls qualified non-degree workers "STARS," short for "skilled through alternative routes."

STARs represent an "untapped pool" of workers who can help the state fill crucial positions, Hogan said. "People shouldn't be compensated based on their years of education, but what their skills are to do the job," he added.

Hundreds of unfilled state government positions are now posted on Maryland's job board. Outside of Maryland, the D.C. government also has a large number of job openings; the city is hosting two virtual career fairs this week to help fill them.

Jobs that require four-year degrees effectively discriminate against millions of veterans and workers of color across the U.S., according to Opportunity@Work. Roughly two-thirds of workers in the U.S. do not have a bachelor's degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

"Requiring a medical degree to treat patients or a civil engineering degree to design a bridge is common sense," Auguste wrote in a Washington Post op-ed last year. "By contrast, requiring a generic college degree to be considered for jobs such as office manager, sales representative, digital marketer or data-center technician may be common, but it makes no sense."

This story is from DCist.com, the local news site of WAMU.

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