WASHINGTON — Applicants for federal government jobs will now be vetted based on their skills rather than if they have a relevant college degree after President Trump on Friday signed an executive order directing his agencies to change their hiring practices.
At a signing ceremony at the White House, the president and other administration officials said the order would create a more merit-based system and opportunities for Americans who had previously been excluded from the workforce.
“The federal government will no longer be narrowly focused on where you went to school, but the skills and the talents that you bring to the job,” Trump said during the signing which coincided with a meeting of his American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.
The order will direct federal agencies to shift to skills- and competency-based hiring rather than degree-based hiring which “excludes capable candidates and undermines labor-market efficiencies,” the order read.
Trump praised his daughter, senior advisor and policy board co-chair Ivanka Trump for leading the charge on the hiring edict.
“This will allow us to better recognize the talents and competencies of all Americans we hire,” the First Daughter said, calling on the private sector to follow suit.
With 2.1 million civilian workers, the federal government is the largest employer in the US and the order will open doors to the two-thirds of American adults who do not possess a college degree.
White House aides said the new order would level the playing field and lift barriers to employment with a whopping 47 million Americans filing jobless claims since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Job applicants for federal gigs will be now be vetted by relevant experts who will assess whether they possess the skills and ability to perform the job that they’re applying for, said Michael Regas, the acting chief of the Office of Personnel Management which oversees all federal hiring.
College degree requirements won’t be tossed completely, but skills in jobs where having a degree is less important will be stressed under the new order, which will be implemented by Regas’ office.
“Those without a degree are at a a major disadvantage in the federal hiring process. While education credentials are critical in many lines of work, such as the medical and legal field, this is far less clear in other areas,” Regas said.
“The civil service will create a more merit-based system. I’m very eager to pursue the directive the President will sign today,” he continued, vowing to overhaul standards that are “limiting opportunity for those with diverse job backgrounds.”