Georgia House approves bill requiring the state to determine whether college degrees are required for some jobs

ATLANTA – The Georgia House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation this week requiring the state to assess whether educational requirements are necessary for many state jobs.

This story also appeared on the Capitol Beat News Service

The “Reducing Barriers to State Employment” bill also requires the Georgia Department of Administrative Services (DOAS) to reduce “where practicable” the number of jobs that require a four-year college degree. The state might still require college degrees or other certifications for jobs they deem necessary.

“As you know, both the private and public sectors are in a war for talent right now, and we don’t want to put artificial obstacles in their way,” said Rep. Scott Hilton, R-Peachtree Corners, who sponsored the bill in the house.

“We want to make sure we don’t require a four-year degree, advanced degree, or certification that doesn’t apply to the [state] job that we are currently looking for and are missing out on the opportunity for our best and brightest to apply for this job.”

According to a state labor force report released by DOAS, Georgia had a record high turnover last fiscal year.

“What’s the point of getting people on your doorstep if they’re going right back out the back door for a more competitively-paid job?” said Rep. Jasmine Clark, D-Lilburn, during a brief debate on the bill.

Wages for government jobs are not at private-sector levels, making it difficult to retain government employees, Clark said.

Gov. Brian Kemp has proposed a $2,000 pay rise for most state employees in his fiscal 2024 budget. Law enforcement officials on the state payroll and employees in several agencies with particularly high turnover would receive an additional $2,000 raise for a total pay increase of $4,000

The bill, which the state Senate passed last month, now goes on to be signed on Kemp’s desk.

This story is available through a news partnership with the Capitol Beat News Service, a Georgia Press Educational Foundation project.