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A Degree: No Longer Required!

America’s ongoing worker shortage is forcing employers to reimagine how they identify qualified workers. Fewer employers are requiring a baccalaureate degree because arbitrary degree requirements restrict qualified applicants.
Moreover, many workers are finding they have a knack for certain fields or developed valuable skillsets through specialized programs, apprenticeships, and on-the-job experience. As our economy looks to fill millions of open jobs, employers should take a harder look at the kinds of skills workers have—instead of how they got them.
In Case You Missed It via The Wall Street Journal, many Americans are looking for alternatives to an expensive degree, and employers are excited to hire them.

Employers Rethink Need for College Degrees in Tight Labor Market
By Austen Hufford
November 26, 2022
The tight labor market is prompting more employers to eliminate one of the biggest requirements for many higher-paying jobs: the need for a college degree.
Companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Delta Air Lines Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. have reduced educational requirements for certain positions and shifted hiring to focus more on skills and experience. Maryland this year cut college-degree requirements for many state jobs—leading to a surge in hiring—and incoming Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro campaigned on a similar initiative.

The persistently tight labor market has accelerated the trend that builds on a debate about the benefits and drawbacks of encouraging more people to attend four-year colleges and as organizations try to address racial disparities in the workplace.

The majority of its U.S. roles at IBM no longer require a four-year degree after the company conducted a review of hiring practices, IBM spokeswoman Ashley Bright said.
Delta eased its educational requirements for pilots at the start of this year, saying a four-year college degree was preferred but no longer required of job applicants.
Walmart Inc., the country’s largest private employer, said it values skills and knowledge gained through work experience and that 75% of its U.S. salaried store management started their careers in hourly jobs. … The company’s goal is to shift the “focus from the way someone got their skills, which is the degree, to what skills do they have.”

A four-year college degree holder has more lifetime earnings than one without. The lifetime earnings of a worker with a high-school diploma is $1.6 million while that of a bachelor’s degree holder is $2.8 million, according to a 2021 report by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University.
But many people don’t finish college and are left with mountains of debt—more than 43 million people in the U.S. hold a total of $1.6 trillion in student-loan debt. While a college degree can provide specific workplace skills, workers can gain the skills needed for many jobs without a four-year degree.

Black and Hispanic people are less likely to have a college degree compared with white and Asian people, according to the Commerce Department. Men are less likely than women.
“Even though education is supposed to open up doors and windows of opportunity, they have, in some ways, become a means of closing off opportunity,” said Nicole Smith, the chief economist at the Georgetown center.

“College is a clear pathway to upward mobility, but it shouldn’t be the only pathway”…
Read the full article here
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