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Agencies in Massachusetts to eliminate minimum education level for hiring

Massachusetts Statehouse.
Elizabeth Román
Massachusetts Statehouse.

State agencies will no longer specify a minimum level of education when they look to hire new employees, under an executive order Gov. Maura Healey signed Thursday.

“Massachusetts is in the midst of a transition to a skills-based economy, in which demand for skilled employee talent is at an all-time high, and employers are seeking to broaden and strengthen their talent pipelines by prioritizing individual skills over traditional credentials like degrees,” the order says.

Healey announced the new policy at an Associated Industries of Massachusetts event Thursday morning, where she encouraged business leaders to adopt similar practices.

She said the state needs to shift to a “skills-based economy,” and that hiring practices just based on a degree “reduces people to a line on a resume.”

“We know how difficult it remains to fill open positions – and frankly, as the state’s largest employer, we face this challenge as well,” Healey said. “Massachusetts has the highest percentage of working-age adults with a four-year degree, at around 50 percent. We can be proud of that. But the other half of our workforce also makes immense contributions to our economy. Yet too often, job postings – both in the public and private sectors – call for a degree as a minimum requirement, even when that degree is not necessary to perform well in the role. That creates a barrier for both employers and workers alike.”

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