Gov. Cooper issues executive order to improve recruiting in state agencies

(Governor Roy Cooper's Office)
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 9:34 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Governor Roy Cooper has issued Executive Order No. 278, directing the Office of State Human Resources to help more people with relevant work experience and skills to get state jobs without an academic degree.

The order is intended to help state agencies that are facing challenges in recruiting and retaining the skilled workforce essential to ensuring North Carolinians have “safe, effective, and efficient government programs and services.”

“You don’t necessarily need to have a degree to be great at your job and North Carolina is in need of talented people who can get things done,” Governor Cooper said. “This order makes it clear that we recognize the value of work experience and don’t want the lack of higher education to be a barrier to starting or advancing in a state career.”

The Executive Order will also enact the following:

  • Directing OSHR to train Cabinet agency HR staff on how directly related experience helps an applicant meet minimum qualifications. Additional training will include support for hiring justice-involved individuals, individuals with disabilities, veterans and their families, and other priority populations.
  • Encouraging state agencies to hire employees who can fill a job with appropriate training, including through trainee progression pathways and apprenticeships.
  • Directing the Department of Administration to review state internship programs to encourage more students from community and technical colleges to participate, and create new internship opportunities for people who aren’t pursuing higher education.
  • Encouraging licensing boards to review their licensing requirements to determine whether any academic requirements are unnecessary.

A statement will be added to the state job posting to clarify that directly related experience can serve as a substitute for education for most state jobs. OSHR and Cabinet agencies will also review job classifications that do not allow experience and eliminate unnecessary management preferences for degrees in the hiring process that can add higher education requirements for jobs that do not need them.

“We want more qualified candidates to apply for positions across state government,” said State Human Resources Director Barbara Gibson. “People who have been working in a similar role successfully for years should be on equal footing with applicants with academic degrees.”

According to a press release from the governor’s office, approximately 75% of state job classifications either do not require a higher education degree or allow the experience to be substituted for education.

You can read the full Executive Order here. OSHR has also prepared a FAQ page to address questions about the order.

Anyone interested in employment opportunities within the state government can find them here. You can also submit your resume to Temporary Solutions at their email here to find temporary work at state agencies.