US government to prioritise skills over college degrees

Ivanka Trump is a co-chair of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.

By U2B Staff 

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The US government will prioritise job skills and talents over college degrees in an effort to improve its hiring practices.

This comes following the signing of an executive order to prioritise skill-based hiring that redirects the federal government to replace “outdated degree-based hiring with skills-based hiring.”

The president, upon signing the executive order, said his administration already valued merit but the federal government would no longer be narrowly focused on where an individual went to school, but rather the skills and talents they bring to the table.

This agreement recognises that there are many skilled workers who have been removed from the workforce due to the pandemic.

Adviser to the president and co-chair of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, Ivanka Trump told Fox News that the executive order will allow the government to “better recognise the talents and competencies of all Americans” it hires.

In the interview with Fox News, Ivanka said that the first step the advisory board will take is to review position requirements to identify the relevant knowledge, skills, competencies, and abilities for the job.

She added that some of these descriptions, known as “occupational classifications” have not been updated for more than 50 years.

The second step taken by the advisory board was to match those descriptions with what skills a job candidate has or does not have when determining their chances of succeeding in the job application.

Job candidates with college degrees were presumed to be qualified regardless of their skills in the past.

However, with the signing of the executive order, job candidates with the right skills that lacked the formal qualifications will be considered for these roles.

Even with the lack of formal qualifications, candidates can demonstrate these skills through prior work experience.

Candidates would also be able to undergo tests or assessments and even make use of their education history to fulfill the criteria required by the vacancies.

Through this initiative, federal agencies will identify the specific skills required for a job and candidates will undergo tests assessing their proficiency and knowledge in the field.

For example, candidates who have experience and can demonstrate the competencies related to copyediting will be considered, even if they do not possess a matching qualification such as a degree in English.

This initiative will allow candidates to highlight the skills they have acquired over the course of their careers and use this to secure federal jobs.

Candidates are also encouraged to highlight soft skills such as teamwork or leadership to fill jobs as these skills remain relevant despite the pandemic.


These efforts are in line with the country’s focus on modernising federal hiring. This initiative will encourage other employers to consider reviewing hiring practices and simultaneously diversify and strengthen their workforce.

Commenting further, Ivanka said, “We want to expand opportunity for the two-thirds of Americans, disproportionately lower-income and minorities, without college degrees whose skills and talents were overlooked,”

“We want to ensure that we are hiring the most qualified people to work on behalf of the American people,” she added.

Ultimately, through this initiative, job candidates will be encouraged to make communication a priority in an effort to improve their professional development.

Candidates should be able to communicate both their employment and education history including their skills to potential employers in a safe, secure, and verifiable way.