In an effort to invest in equity and inclusion, Boulder County has removed the college degree requirement from 82 positions.
“We made the decision because we felt like there was not equitable access for applicants and also for internal staff to move into promotional opportunities where they didn’t have a degree,” states Julia Yager, division manager for Boulder County Administrative Services.
In years past, Boulder County tried to offer equitable access to higher positions to internal employees by offering internal educational opportunities.
“It would still be really difficult at times to achieve the level required to substitute for a degree,” says Yager. “We believe that we can teach people valuable skills on the job. Through on the job training they can learn many things if they are bringing in values that match our organizational values.”
This prompted Boulder County to review every position to determine if a degree was necessary to fulfill the requirements and duties of each position. In most cases, where a degree was required prior, an equivalent number of years experience and job skills can be substituted.
Some of the changed requirements apply to jobs including but not limited to: Volunteer Coordinators, Law Enforcement Records Manager, GIS Manager, and Web Applications Developer.
Salaries for these positions vary, however, in the case of the Building Service Division Manager position, only one example, a person has the potential to earn up to $142,596 annually.
“We think this is an important step to take in today’s competitive job market to help our departments attract larger pools of qualified candidates for their open positions,” said Commissioner Deb Gardner. “We also believe that this change will allow a more diverse group of highly capable candidates to apply who may have extraordinary experience and were previously excluded from applying simply because they are lacking a degree.”
“Our strong hope is that this will provide more access for more people, more opportunities for people, and that they aren’t limited. I think that what we have found to be true is that, historically, the generalized population can be limited. The County’s desire is to eliminate whatever barriers it can in order to try to further equity,” says Yager.
The Boulder County Human Resource division is currently helping hiring managers rewrite job descriptions, identify true competencies, and learn skills-based interviewing and hiring practices.
“I hope other organizations begin to make this shift as well, because the more we all start doing this and inviting that access to people, I think the better all of our work forces will be,” says Yager.
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