by Sarah Roderick-Fitch


Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is taking historical measures by eliminating degree requirements and preferences for nearly 90% of commonwealth classified positions.

The new “landmark” hiring preferences will provide equal consideration for all qualified applicants and allow state agencies to broaden their recruitment and talent pool.

“On Day 1 we went to work reimagining workforce solutions in government and this key reform will expand opportunities for qualified applicants who are ready to serve Virginians,” said Youngkin

The new hiring practice is set to take effect July 1, adding Virginia to a growing list of states eliminating the degree requirement for state jobs. Youngkin’s office noted the commonwealth advertises an average of over 20,000 job opportunities every year.

Secretary of Administration Margaret McDermid hopes the new hiring reforms will focus on measuring candidates by considering their diverse skills, knowledge, experience and professional development.

“Changing how we think about workforce planning, talent acquisition, and leveraging knowledge, certifications, technical skills, apprenticeships, and work experience into measurable business results has been a Day 1 Workforce Development priority for this Administration,” McDermid said. 

Secretary of Labor Bryan Slater emphasized the need to streamline credentialing and recognize out-of-state licenses to attract candidates outside the commonwealth.

“We are also working hard to examine regulated occupations and professions to find ways to simplify and speed up credentialing processes and universal licensing recognition for individuals who want to live and work in Virginia,” said Slater.

Youngkin touted the commonwealth’s strong labor force rate, hoping the reform will continue to boost employment numbers while meeting the quality needs of Virginians.

“This landmark change in hiring practices for our state workforce will improve hiring processes, expand possibilities and career paths for job seekers and enhance our ability to deliver quality services,” Youngkin said. “Last month, Virginia achieved the highest labor force participation rate in nearly ten years demonstrating the Commonwealth’s sustained workforce developments.”

McDermid emphasized Virginia’s diverse workforce while expanding opportunities to include relevant practical experience, weighing those equally to traditional qualifications such as education requirements.

“As an employer, state government has one of, if not the most diverse occupational portfolios in Virginia,” said McDermid. “Our employees design, build, manage, and sustain public services across hundreds of lines of business and giving equal consideration to all job applicants, including those who have experience solving real world problems is a smart business practice.”

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Sarah Roderick-Fitch is The Center Square’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Editor. She has previously worked as an editor, and has been a contributing writer for several publications. In addition to writing and editing, Sarah spent nearly a decade working for non-profit, public policy organizations in the Washington, DC area.