Alaska will no longer require four-year degrees for most state jobs, according to an administrative order signed Feb. 14 by Gov. Mike Dunleavy.
“Labor shortages are impacting the delivery of essential state services,” the order reads. “Labor pools are extremely limited and state agencies compete for the same employees. At present, there are not enough qualified applicants to fill all the state’s job vacancies.”
The Department of Administration was directed to review which job classifications would allow for practical experience to be used in lieu of a four-year degree. Job postings will also be required to include which experience is relevant “whenever reasonable,” the order said.
“This unprecedented demand for labor throughout the State of Alaska requires the government to be flexible in recruiting, hiring and retaining a talented and able workforce capable of serving the people of Alaska,” the order noted.
One by one, states have begun to loosen degree requirements for public jobs, largely in response to concerns about talent shortages. Pennsylvania did so in January, noting the move would open up 65,000 jobs to workers without four-year degrees. Utah and Maryland have also dropped degree requirements.
The private sector has also been changing tactics to open more jobs to workers with the right skills. Cleveland Clinic, for example, revised more than 250 job descriptions to drop degree requirements, partly in an effort to improve the hiring and retention of Black workers.