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Opinion: U.S. States Are Turning Their Backs on Bachelor’s Degrees. Work Is Needed.

April 07, 2023

Societal attitudes around the value of higher education continue to evolve, with states themselves now changing employment policies to meet labor demands. This commentary written by Stephen J. Handel, Ph.D., senior program officer, ECMC Foundation, and Eileen Strempel, the inaugural dean of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, was published by Times Higher Education on April 7, 2023.

The governor of North Carolina is the latest leader to drop the requirement of a four-year college degree for most state jobs. He follows governors in Alaska, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Utah who issued similar edicts.

The private sector is also responding to more skills-based hiring practices, including companies such as IBM and General Motors. Such decisions have ostensibly been motivated by a historically tight labour market. But they represent yet another indication of higher education’s lost lustre, reflected in declining enrolments and public opinion polls showing historically low public support.

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