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Gov. Cooper Expands State Job Opportunities, Ends Degree Requirement For State Job Applicants

Source:  Wilson Times

More North Carolinians will have access to job opportunities after Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order for state job openings to no longer require higher education degrees. With over 1,400 job openings within the state, Cooper is encouraging state, county, and local government agencies as well as private employers to review their human resources policies to eliminate unnecessary barriers to employment, such as an academic degree requirement.

“You don’t necessarily need to have a degree to be great at your job, and North Carolina is in need of talented people who can get things done,” stated Cooper during a press conference announcing Executive Order No. 278. “This order makes it clear that we recognize the value of work experience and don’t want the lack of higher education to be a barrier to starting or advancing in a state career.” 

The executive order will help with employing DOT workers, healthcare workers with the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Corrections.

The executive order also:

  • Directs OSHR to train Cabinet agency HR staff on how directly related experience helps an applicant meet minimum qualifications. Additional training will include support for hiring justice-involved individuals, individuals with disabilities, veterans and their families, and other priority populations.
  • Encourages state agencies to hire employees who can fill a job with appropriate training, including through trainee progression pathways and apprenticeships.
  • Directs the Department of Administration to review state internship programs to encourage more students from community and technical colleges to participate, and create new internship opportunities for people who aren’t pursuing higher education.
  • Encourages licensing boards to review their licensing requirements to determine whether there are any academic requirements that are unnecessary.

Currently, more than 75% of state job classifications either do not require a higher education degree or allow experience to be substituted for education. “We want more qualified candidates to apply for positions across state government,” stated Barbara Gibson, State Human Resources Director. “People who have been working in a similar role successfully for years should be on equal footing with applicants with academic degrees.”

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