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NJ joins the growing list of states ditching college degree requirements in hiring process. Photo: Michael M. Santiago / Getty

Another state loosens degree requirements

NJ Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 327, which aims to allow individuals with practical skills and experience access to attain high-paying jobs.

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Earlier this month, State of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 327, which prioritizes skills and work experience over a college degree for some state employment opportunities. 

The New Jersey Civil Service Commission (CSC) will identify the job classifications that require college degrees and determine which fall under practical skills and experience. The goal of the Executive Order is to open the door to family-sustaining, high-paying jobs with sailors that can top $120,000 a year. 

“Every American should have the ability to attain a good job with growth opportunities and secure their place in the middle class, regardless of whether or not they have a college degree,” Murphy said in the statement.

“Employment qualifications for good-paying jobs in our state workforce should not exclude individuals with qualifying experience, unique skill sets, and diverse backgrounds,” he said. “Today, we open the door to that opportunity for applicants across our state, and urge other states, as well as private sector employers, to remove barriers to opportunity.”

However, this executive order adds New Jersey to the list of States that have de-emphasized college degrees in the hiring process, which includes Maryland, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Colorado, North Carolina, and Utah.

To provide some local context, in January, Gov. Josh Shapiro announced the elimination of the four-year degree requirement for almost 92% of state jobs. According to the Department of Labor & Industry, more than seven million Pennsylvanians do not hold a four-year degree. 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.

Based on a recent research by HR Dive, more than 60% of middle-skill jobs don’t need a four-year college degree. 

The executive order goes into effect immediately, as of April 10. 

 

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