Shapiro Signs First Executive Order, Announcing 92 Percent of Commonwealth Jobs Do Not Require a Four-Year Degree

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HARRISBURG – On his first full day in office, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro announced that effective immediately, 92 percent of state government jobs – about 65,000 positions – do not require a four-year college degree.

As part of that announcement, Governor Shapiro signed Executive Order 2023-03, the first of his Administration, instructing the Office of Administration to emphasize skills and experience in Commonwealth job postings and ordering a review of the remaining 8 percent of state government jobs that currently require a four-year degree, many of which are required statutorily required.

Shapiro also ordered all state agencies under his jurisdiction to take steps to emphasize work experience in their hiring. As part of that order, the Shapiro Administration launched a new website where applicants can easily search among the thousands of open positions that don’t require a four-year degree. That website is now linked from the homepage at www.employment.pa.gov.

“Every Pennsylvanian should have the freedom to chart their own course and have a real opportunity to succeed. They should get to decide what’s best for them – whether they want to go to college or straight into the workforce – not have that decided for them. Today, we are making sure Pennsylvanians know that the doors of opportunity are wide open to those who want to serve our Commonwealth, regardless of whether or not they have a degree,” said Shapiro. “I want to make it clear to all Pennsylvanians, whether they went to college or they gained experience through work, job training, or an apprenticeship program: we value your skills and talents, and we want you to apply for a job with the Commonwealth.” 

Shapiro was joined at the announcement by Lt. Gov. Austin Davis. Secretary of Administration Neil Weaver, Beth Christian, and Darice Mayhew – the latter two of whom are Commonwealth employees who have worked their way up in government service without a four-year degree.

“As a long-time Commonwealth employee who does not have a four-year degree, Governor Shapiro’s signing of this Executive Order means so much to me, both personally and professionally,” said Acting Deputy Secretary of Administration Christian. “This Executive Order tells current Commonwealth employees and anyone looking to come work for the state of Pennsylvania, we support you, with or without a degree. Thank you, Governor Shapiro for recognizing the importance of this topic and ensuring that removing barriers for state employment is a priority.”

Getting a four-year college degree is only one path to building skills and expertise in a particular field. According to the Department of Labor & Industry, more than seven million Pennsylvanians do not hold a four-year degree, and millions of Pennsylvanians develop their skills through alternative routes such as two-year degree programs, apprenticeships, military service, job training, and on-the-job experience.

Shapiro has pledged to invest in apprenticeships, vocational training, and career and technical education, saying in his Inaugural Address that “real freedom that comes when we create pathways to new opportunities by investing in vo-tech and job training programs.”

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