MA state seal in colorNorth Shore Community College (NSCC) is lauding Governor Maura Healey’s “Lead by Example” Employer Talent Initiative, which will institute skills-based hiring practices for the state’s workforce.

Through this Executive Order, for the vast majority of state job postings, the administration will focus primarily on applicants’ skills, knowledge, and abilities. Job postings will only be allowed to include degree conditions when absolutely necessary. This new initiative will dramatically increase access to state jobs and for NSCC students earning certificates and associate degrees.

With this directive, Massachusetts joins a growing number of public and private sector employers in relaxing the requirements for higher education degrees in their hiring practices. With the highest educational attainment levels in the nation, some employers in the Commonwealth in particular, have demanded degrees that many would argue far outstrip what is needed to do a job.

“The shift to focusing on skills an applicant has, rather than their education level, is a good thing for community colleges, especially when an associate degree or certificate adequately prepares a graduate for the position,” said NSCC President William Heineman.

The growing attention to skills coincides with other current trends, including public questioning of the value of traditional higher education and advocacy for more work-based learning. “My view is that we do not serve students well if we look at on-the-job learning opportunities and classroom education as an either/or proposition. Both have value and the most successful graduates are likely to emerge from colleges that feature a well-integrated mixture of these approaches,” Heineman added.

“There are many ways to demonstrate knowledge and skills beyond college degrees, including prior learning assessment, micro credentials, apprenticeships, internships, and on-the-job experience.  The state’s community colleges are ready to help workers and employers alike through the “Lead by Example” talent initiative,” Heineman said.

 “As the state’s largest employer, we rely on a strong, diverse workforce to deliver crucial services and programs for Massachusetts residents, businesses and communities every day. But too many job applicants are being held back by unnecessary degree requirements,” said Governor Healey. “We are leading by example here in the Healey-Driscoll Administration, and we encourage the business community to join us by adopting similar skills-based hiring practices.”

Further, the administration will work with the Commonwealth’s business community to encourage the evaluation and elimination of unnecessary education requirements for open positions.

The Executive Order for the “Lead by Example” Initiative directs all executive departments and agencies to utilize skills-based employment practices to attract, recruit, hire, retain, and develop workers. The Executive Order also requires the completion of a skills-based hiring training course for all agency managers and support teams and ensure job postings and interview questions promote a candidate’s set of skills, knowledge, and abilities.

Additionally, as part of the Administration’s “Lead by Example” Employer Talent Initiative, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development will collaborate with private, non-profit, and government employers to develop and publish best practices resources for the broader business community to also adopt skills-based hiring strategies.

Residents interested in a career in state government, including roles in health, human services, transportation, IT, finance, housing, economic and workforce development, veterans’ services, energy, climate, environmental affairs, public safety, and education, can visit the MassCareers website for job opportunities.

Those interested in learning more about degree and certificate programs, as well as workforce training opportunities at NSCC can visit


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