Maryland is moving toward eliminating four-year degree requirements for thousands of state government jobs.
Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday he had launched a workforce development initiative that will formally end the four-year degree requirement, and market state employment opportunities to job seekers who formed their skills through alternative means, beyond a traditional college program.
“Through these efforts we are launching today, we are ensuring that qualified, non-degree candidates are regularly being considered for these career-changing opportunities,” Hogan said in a news release. “This is exactly the kind of bold, bipartisan solution we need to continue leading the nation by giving even more Marylanders the opportunities they need to be successful.”
The effort will see state labor officials working with workforce development nonprofit Opportunity@Work to identify job seekers who are Skilled Through Alternative Routes, or STARs, currently working in the IT, administrative and customer service sectors.
According to Opportunity@Work, STARs are age 25 and older, have a high school diploma or equivalent and achieved their skill level through community college, military service, apprenticeships or other avenues. The nonprofit estimates more than 70 million Americans fall under this criteria, including around 1.3 million Marylanders — just under half of the state’s active workforce.
Opportunity@Work’s talent marketplace, Stellarworx, lists hundreds of open state government jobs that no longer require a four-year degree. The Maryland Department of Budget and Management estimates more than half of the state’s 38,000 present jobs could accept relevant experience in place of a standard college degree.
“By launching this initiative and sourcing STARs talent on Stellarworx, Gov. Hogan and his administration are making clear that Maryland values all the skills of its diverse workforce,” Opportunity@Work CEO and co-founder Byron Auguste said, joining Hogan and Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson in unveiling the initiative.
“This will enable more Marylanders to work, learn and earn to their fullest potential and is a promising model for other states and employers to follow,” he added.