President Trump on Friday signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to focus their hiring based on job seekers’ skills, rather than on whether they earned a college degree.
The order, which was signed during a meeting of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board (AWPAB), requires agencies to revise outdated federal job qualification standards and candidate assessments, which the White House says will improve the quality and competency of the civil service.
Unnecessary degree requirements exclude otherwise qualified applicants from federal employment and disproportionately harm low-income Americans, according to a White House press release. The federal government is the nation’s largest employer with 2.1 million civilian workers.
“As a result of this reform, talented individuals with apprenticeships, technical training and apt backgrounds will have greater opportunity to pursue careers in the Federal civil service,” the release said.
Community college advocates have previously noted that some federal jobs, especially technical ones, only need workers with skills earned through certificates and associate degrees, yet federal job listings nearly always set a baccalaureate as the entry-level degree.