The Democratic representative from Minnesota says she may be the first member of Congress to end a bachelor’s degree requirement for all staffers.
April 27, 2023
BURNSVILLE, Minn.—Rep. Angie Craig announced Thursday that her staffers will not be required to have college degrees, in a move designed to expand the pool of candidates at a time of declining enrollment and rising higher education costs.
In an interview with KARE 11, Craig said that she is the first member of Congress to her knowledge to drop a degree requirement in her office.
Between her offices in Burnsville and Washington, D.C., Craig employs about 15 staff members. Two of those current staffers, Craig said, already do not have four-year degrees.
I learned not to insist upon a college diploma when hiring back in 1985. I was in charge of introducing personal computers, so I advertised for somebody to help me set them up and fix them. When asked by the HR person writing the ad if I wanted to require a college degree, I replied, without much thought, “Sure.”
Fortunately, a fellow without a college degree wrote me a long, detailed letter in which he said, “Here are seven problems you run into with the new PCs in your office every week and here is how I’d solve them for you.”
He didn’t have a college degree because he was a blue-collar guy from a rural town and had tested at age 18 into the Navy’s nuclear engine technician career.
About a day and a half after he started, I realized that he was smarter than me.
The only time I noticed his lack of college education hurting his performance was once when he came to me and said that instead of buying PCs from Dell or Gateway, we should buy the parts and assemble them ourselves. Being an Econ major, I replied, “Nah, personal computer assembly is close to a perfectly competitive industry, so doing it ourselves in expensive downtown Chicago wouldn’t save us enough to be worth the hassles.” He didn’t believe me, so he made up an elaborate spreadsheet… and discovered I was right.