Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro speaks after taking the oath of office to become Pennsylvania's 48th governor, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) Pennsylvania Governor Inauguration
Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro speaks after taking the oath of office to become Pennsylvania's 48th governor, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

While campaigning for governor, Josh Shapiro said he would eliminate the four-year college degree requirement for most state jobs. On his first full day in office, he has done just that.

On his first full day in the governor’s office, Josh Shapiro delivered on one of the promises he made during his campaign by eliminating the four-year college degree requirement for most state jobs.

Shapiro announced Wednesday that effective immediately, 92% of state government jobs — about 65,000 positions — no longer require a four-year college degree, a prohibitive barrier to entry for many otherwise qualified candidates. He signed his first executive order instructing the Office of Administration to emphasize skills and experience in commonwealth job postings and ordering a review of the remaining 8% of state jobs that currently require a degree.

His administration also launched a new website listing all open state government jobs, currently about 550 positions, that don’t require a college degree.

“Every Pennsylvanian should have the freedom to chart their own course and have a real opportunity to succeed,” Shapiro said in a statement. “They should get to decide what’s best for them – whether they want to go to college or straight into the workforce – not have that decided for them.” 

In a tweet, Shapiro said he isn’t wasting any time delivering on the things he promised in his campaign.

Last year, while campaigning for governor, Shapiro said he would eliminate college degree requirements for thousands of state jobs. According to the Department of Labor & Industry, more than seven million Pennsylvanians do not hold a four-year degree, with many developing their skills through alternative routes such as two-year degree programs, apprenticeships, military service, job training, and on-the-job experience.

Shapiro stressed the importance of investing in apprenticeships and vocational training during his inaugural address, highlighting the fact the stage and podium were constructed by union workers.