Trump signs order updating federal hiring practices
- By FederalSoup Staff
- Jun 29, 2020
On June 26, President Donald Trump signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to update their job qualification standards and candidate assessments.
Under the Executive Order on Modernizing and Reforming the Assessment and Hiring of Federal Job Candidates, federal agencies must update federal job qualification standards and candidate assessments with merit-based reforms that will broaden the civil service and build a more demand-driven labor force.
“Unnecessary degree requirements exclude otherwise qualified Americans from Federal employment, impose the expense of college on prospective workers, and disproportionately harm low-income Americans,” administration officials said in a statement.
The effort aims to bring federal hiring on par with that of private-sector firms, which use skills- and competency-based hiring. As a result of the order, “talented individuals with apprenticeships, technical training, and apt backgrounds will have greater opportunity to pursue careers in the Federal civil service,” the White House said.
“I'm taking a bold action to reform the federal workforce,” Trump said at the order’s signing. “Today I'll sign an executive order that directs the federal government to replace outdated -- and really outdated -- it's called ‘degree-based hiring’ -- with skill-based hiring. So we want it based on skill.”
According to the executive order, the Office of Personnel Management, working with the Office of Management and Budget director and agency heads, has 120 days to review and revise job classification and qualification standards to ensure that agencies require a minimum educational standard for employment “only when a minimum educational qualification is legally required to perform the duties of the position in the State or locality where those duties are to be performed” and when “the candidate’s education directly reflects the competencies necessary to satisfy that qualification and perform the duties of the position.”
Additionally, job descriptions should be based on the specific skills and competencies required to perform those jobs, rather than focusing on a college degree.
To improve the use of assessments in hiring, OPM will work with agencies to ensure that their assessment of candidates “does not rely solely on educational attainment” to determine if they have the ability to do the job. Further, agencies may not “rely solely on candidates’ self-evaluations of their stated abilities,” the order said. “Applicants must clear other assessment hurdles in order to be certified for consideration.”
“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,” Trump said at the order’s signing. “We want it based on merit.”