HARRISBURG, Pa. (ErieNewsNow) - Less than 24 hours after taking the oath of office, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro signed his first executive order, eliminating the four-year degree requirement for roughly 65,000 state government jobs, or about 92 percent of them. 

“Every Pennsylvanian should have the freedom to chart their own course and have a real opportunity to succeed. 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. Today, we are making sure Pennsylvanians know that the doors of opportunity are wide open to those who want to serve our Commonwealth, regardless of whether or not they have a degree,” said Gov. Shapiro.  

Shapiro signed the order earlier this afternoon alongside Lt. Governor Austin Davis and dozens of Commonwealth employees. 

“In Pennsylvania, our Commonwealth is one of the largest employers. I come from a lower middle-class background and I know, directly, what this will do for working class folks to give them a chance to serve their community,” said Lt. Gov. Davis. “Pennsylvania government should be a place where every single person has the opportunity to serve and to succeed. This is a significant step in tearing down barriers for employment here in Pennsylvania,” Davis added. 

It's a welcomed change for many state employees, like Beth Christian, who say college just wasn’t the right choice.  

“I love the independence of working, and doing work that matters and had an impact. But I didn't realize how that stigma would follow me through my career,” said Christian, who is now the Acting Deputy Secretary of Administration. “I had tears in my eyes when I heard then-Governor elect Shapiro's campaign promise to remove this requirement. As a long-time Commonwealth employee who does not have a four-year degree, Governor Shapiro’s signing of this Executive Order means so much to me, both personally and professionally. This executive order tells current Commonwealth employees and anyone looking to come to work in the state of Pennsylvania, we support you with or without a degree,” she added. 

Shapiro noted that the order, which is now in effect, can help alleviate the employment shortage, while also providing additional opportunities to qualified candidates. 

“My view is if you're qualified for the job, then you should get the job here in Pennsylvania. The people should decide what path is best for them, not have it decided by some arbitrary requirement or any arbitrary limitation,” said Shapiro. “I encourage every Pennsylvanian who wants to get off the sidelines and get in the game, to check it out. We want you on our team,” he added. 

Shapiro noted that the most of the eight percent of state government jobs, that do require a four-year degree, do so because it is statutorily required. 

The administration also launched a new website today that lists the roughly 550 state government jobs that do not require a four-year degree, you can view it here. 

To learn more about additional Commonwealth employment opportunities, visit: www.employment.pa.gov