- First Lady Jill Biden extolled the benefits of credentials beyond four-year degrees during a speech Thursday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute.
- “For most people, a high school diploma alone isn’t enough to find a great career,” Biden said at the institute-sponsored event. However, degrees don’t have to be students’ only postsecondary options, she said.
- She said President Joe Biden understands the need to expand credentials beyond four-year degrees, and that the administration supports options like students taking college-level classes in high school or enrolling in apprenticeships.
The First Lady acknowledged that many of the pathways she referenced, such as college classes in high school, aren’t new. But she said that more jobs continue to emerge that won’t require college degrees, referencing students she met studying welding and manufacturing.
Indeed, even if an employer says a job requires a four-year degree, that might not be the case. A recent report by Bain & Company, OneTen and Grads of Life argues 60% of “middle-skill” jobs should not impose bachelor’s degree requirements because they are not needed. Middle-skill jobs are those that typically require more than a high school diploma, but not a four-year degree.
State policymakers are also loosening degree requirements — some states like Pennsylvania and Alaska have dropped them for certain state jobs.