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The state of Michigan will no longer require a bachelor’s degree for many state jobs if the applicants are military veterans who have completed at least two years of active service at the rank of staff sergeant or above.

The change, which went into effect Wednesday, is expected to open up “thousands of job opportunities,” according to a press release from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.

“If a veteran has at least two years of experience at the E-6 level, they have proven that they’re a professional in their craft and should be given credit for their experience,” Todd Butler, state division administrator of strategic outreach for the MVAA, said in the press release. “We anticipate this being a game changer for enlisted service members looking to transition to the civilian world.”

A person with E-6 rank is considered qualified to perform highly complex technical duties and supervise others. The new waiver gives qualified applicants access to positions in 13 different categories.

Michigan veterans can also earn up to five years of seniority credit for military experience, allowing them to receive additional annual leave and longevity bonuses. Veterans with higher rankings can qualify for other posts based on their level of experience.

Michigan is the first state to allow such a waiver, according to WWMT, the CBS affiliate in Kalamazoo.

“Military members gain valuable skills and knowledge through their service that can’t be replicated in a classroom, and that experience should be considered when applying for jobs,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “I am grateful for the efforts of the MVAA … and I encourage veterans who qualify to take advantage of this opportunity to come work for the State of Michigan.”