Noem signs Executive Order aimed at limiting need for Bachelor’s degree

The Executive Order is intended to cut red tape around eligibility for certain jobs in state government.
The Executive Order is intended to cut red tape around eligibility for certain jobs in state government.
Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 5:49 PM MDT
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PIERRE, S.D. - According to the South Dakota Department of Labor, state government employs roughly 18,000 people.

Not including seasonal and temporary jobs, there are currently almost 170 job openings in state government across South Dakota.

“These are jobs that may or may not require a specific skill set, they may or may not require a licenses, but all of them will probably require some kind of training to get an individual into a job and thriving,” Noem said during a press conference in Sioux Falls.

It is the steadily rising number of job openings in state government that helped prompt Noem to sign Executive Order 2023-05.

In essence, the Executive Order requires executive agencies to consider other relevant work and life experiences when looking at applicants during the hiring process. The Commissioner of the state’s Bureau of Human Resources, currently Darin Seeley, will review all current and future job postings to evaluate whether or not they should require a Bachelor’s degree, based on the requirements of the job.

“The reality is that we have open jobs, and we do not want to be disqualifying people based on their resume,” Noem said. “We want to look at them as an individual, what they can bring to the table, and see how we can work together to help them and the state of South Dakota be successful.”

It is a concept that has garnered bipartisan support across the country. In March, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, signed a similar executive order.

Keith Moore, State Director for the libertarian leaning “Americans for Prosperity,” says Noem’s move is one that makes to help working people, and to help attract more people to move to South Dakota.

“There are a number of jobs in the public sector and in government that don’t necessarily need college degrees,” Moore said. “Across the country, you have a large percentage of jobs that are opening, and then a larger percentage of people that aren’t qualified only because you are demanding a college degree. Many of these jobs don’t necessarily need that degree requirement.”

Qualities that will be considered more carefully during the hiring process include military service, relevant apprenticeship experience, and workforce expertise.

Tuesday, Noem also announced a $7.9 million dollar investment in apprenticeship programs, which she says will help encourage people in the state to think of jobs and fields that they may not have considered before.