President Trump has issued an executive order downplaying the role of educational credentials in competitive service job qualifications and vacancy announcements, saying that they should be “based on the specific skills and competencies required to perform those jobs.”
Educational requirements still will apply in many positions but officials said the change would prevent agencies from automatically screening out candidates who lack college degrees but who have work backgrounds, technical training, apprenticeships or other qualifications. Currently, “degree-based hiring is especially likely to exclude qualified candidates for jobs related to emerging technologies and those with weak connections between educational attainment and the skills or competencies required to perform them,” the order says.
“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. We want that skill to be there. We want it based on merit. We’ve looked at merit for a long time, and we’ve been able to get that done,” Trump said at the signing ceremony.
The order tells agencies to review job classification and qualification standards for competitive service positions to ensure that they include minimum education requirements only when “legally required to perform the duties of the position.” If there is no legal requirement, education may considered only if it “directly reflects the competencies necessary to satisfy that qualification and perform the duties of the position.”
Those reviews are to be completed within four months and any changes are to be effective within six months.
The administration had expressed its intent in its budget proposal earlier this year to make the changes.