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Dear Governor DeSantis,
On behalf of women across Florida who belong to Independent Women’s Network, a chapter-based organization that fights to enhance people’s freedom, opportunities, and well-being, we write to express our support for Senate Bill 1310, the "Expanding Public Sector Career Opportunities Act." SB 1310 is a common-sense, bipartisan piece of legislation that may
unlock opportunity and economic mobility for many Floridians who are currently held back because they do not possess a four-year college degree. SB 1310 “requires public employers (state agencies and branches, state universities and public colleges, counties, cities, special districts, school boards, and all other governmental entities) to prioritize direct work experience over postsecondary education in their hiring considerations.”
This is an important step in fighting against “degree inflation” or the proliferation of jobs with a bachelor’s degree as minimum education for positions that previously required less education. Florida enjoys the 10th lowest unemployment rate at 2.6%. Yet, there are still nearly 280,000
unemployed Floridians. According to data compiled by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Florida’s labor force participation rate at 59.3% is below the national average and there are only 57 available workers for every 100 positions. Worker shortages are severe in the sunshine state, and public-sector labor shortages are well-documented. Reducing degree requirements for public sector positions could be one way of attacking this problem. Only about a third of the U.S. adult population possesses a college degree. Some 70 million workers nationwide are skilled through alternative routes (such as work experience, certifications, and training). However, a bachelor’s degree joins other forms of credentialing, such as occupational licenses, in creating a significant barrier to opportunity for many people. While a college degree may be needed for some jobs, it’s not needed for many middle-skilled occupations that lead to middle-class lifestyles. As an HR shortcut, degree requirements filter applicant pools. However, they can make middle-skill jobs more difficult to fill leading to wage inflation as employers pay a premium to
attract degree holders. Removing degree credentials for thousands of state positions may address some of the public sector worker shortages, set a
powerful example for private-sector employers, and help non-college-educated Floridians become gainfully employed in upwardly mobile careers.
The fact that this bill was passed unanimously by both chambers of the legislature should give you confidence in the non-partisan nature of this reform. We encourage you to sign this bill into law.
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