Fans of former President Barack Obama like to tout his academic pedigree, which includes having studied at Columbia University and graduating from Harvard Law School.
Yet in what may seem like a surprising move, the former president recently said employers should attach less importance to having a college education.
Here’s an example of a smart policy that gets rid of unnecessary college degree requirements and reduces barriers to good paying jobs. I hope other states follow suit! https://t.co/ik8SOeoMem
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 19, 2023
Written by reporter Rachel M. Cohen, it details how Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro has eliminated the requirement that applicants for most state jobs have a college degree.
"In Pennsylvania, the people should decide what path is best for them, not have it decided by some arbitrary requirement or any arbitrary limitation," Shapiro said in a statement earlier this month.
For his part, Obama called the move "an example of a smart policy that gets rid of unnecessary college degree requirements and reduces barriers to good paying jobs."
Insider noted that Shapiro is not alone in taking such actions, as Alaska Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy has signed a similar executive order.
"Today people can gain knowledge, skills and abilities through on the job experience," The Hill quoted Dunleavy as saying in February.
"If we’re going to address our labor shortage, we have to recognize the value that apprenticeships, on-the-job training, military training, trade schools, and other experience provides applicants," he continued.
"If a person can do the job, we shouldn’t be holding anyone back just because they don’t have a degree," the governor went on to add.
Meanwhile, the Republican-led Georgia House of Representatives passed a bill last week which directs the state to assess whether educational job requirements are necessary.
The bill was sponsored by Republican state Rep. Scott Hilton, and according to the Statesboro Herald he said that the legislation is intended to address labor shortages.
"As you know, both the private and public sector right now are in a war for talent, and we don’t want to place any artificial barriers in their way," Hilton explained.