Some Michigan businesses drop college requirement to combat worker shortage

81% of lower wage jobs have no educational requirement beyond high school. 80% of higher wage jobs require a bachelor’s degree or higher.
It’s a growing trend with the idea being that skill outweighs a traditional college degree.
Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 6:23 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 27, 2022 at 1:37 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - To fight back against the ongoing worker shortage, some businesses in Michigan said they will no longer require employees to have a college degree. It’s a growing trend with the idea being that skill outweighs a traditional college degree.

65% of employers are struggling to hire employees. Two-thirds of those believe college degree requirements are part of the issue.

“For what we were doing, I didn’t feel like you needed a degree to do that,” said CEO of Mommy Maid Cleaning, Iesha Westbrook.

Mommy Maid Cleaning never required a college degree to be a cleaning technician. But, now Westbrook wants to expand her management team.

“I would say a lot of their job description, it doesn’t require you to have a degree. It does require some training because I feel like there’s just certain things that you need to know,” said Westbrook.

Westbrook said sometimes the desire to learn skills for a job can be more important than having a college degree.

“As we expand, I want to make sure that my employees have the right management to guide them into bettering their careers with us. But even then, I don’t feel like you need a degree,” said Westbrook.

Experts found some employers are accessing different kinds of talent by not requiring a college degree.

Westbrook started filling management positions with employees she’d already hired as cleaning technicians – a job position that does not require a college degree.

“Even some of our positions in management, I pulled some of my people up that were with us for the longest and they’d just seen how I ran the company and we’re growing it together,” said Westbrook.

Researchers think nearly 1.5 million jobs could open to workers, without college degrees, over the next five years.

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