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Lawmakers to look into eliminating college degree requirements for government positions

Delaware Legislative Hall
Delaware Public Media
Delaware Legislative Hall

State lawmakers pass a resolution to hear the findings of a Department of Human Resources 18-month study reviewing college degree requirements across state agencies.

Gov. John Carney recently announced DHR removed the bachelor’s degree requirement for more than 350 positions within the Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families and the Department of Health and Social Services.

The resolution’s sponsor, State Rep. Ed Osienski (D-Brookside), says he hopes the findings of the review will determine if removing college degree requirements will help the hiring process for additional state agencies.

“If there’s somebody that has a lot of job experience but are being denied a position because they just don’t have a degree – that’s the change," he says.

Osienski says this legislation can be as simple as changing the language from degree “required” to degree “recommended,” but he says he will wait to see the findings of DHR’s report.

He hopes the report will also inform potential legislation on reducing barriers for promotions within government positions.

“We would like information on promotions because I’m aware of situations where somebody may have been working for the state for 15-20 years, and they couldn’t take that next step up because it required a degree."

He notes surrounding states have made similar changes, including Pennsylvania, whose governor removed four-year degree requirements for 92% of state government jobs last year.

The concurrent resolution gives DHR until the end of the year to compile a report on its findings and present them to the General Assembly.

Before residing in Dover, Delaware, Sarah Petrowich moved around the country with her family, spending eight years in Fairbanks, Alaska, 10 years in Carbondale, Illinois and four years in Indianapolis, Indiana. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2023 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science.