Trump signs order directing federal government to focus on skills when hiring

President TrumpDonald TrumpMcCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Biden's Supreme Court reform study panel notes 'considerable' risks to court expansion Bennie Thompson not ruling out subpoenaing Trump MORE signed an executive order to shift the focus for hiring for federal government jobs from college degrees to skills. 

Trump signed the order on Friday afternoon at the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting, which his daughter and adviser Ivanka TrumpIvanka TrumpGrisham: Time in Trump administration 'will follow me forever' Grisham: Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump saw themselves as 'shadow president and first lady' Grisham says her 'enabling' cost lives during pandemic MORE co-chairs with Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossBannon's subpoena snub sets up big decision for Biden DOJ House panel, Commerce Department reach agreement on census documents China sanctions Wilbur Ross, others after US warns of doing business in Hong Kong MORE.

“The federal government will no longer be narrowly focused on where you went to school,” Trump said at the signing.

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Ivanka, on a call with reporters earlier on Friday, said, “This will ensure that we are able to hire based on talent.”

“The president built the most inclusive workforce in the history of the country prior to the pandemic and we will rebuild it,” she added.

The federal government is the largest employer in the U.S. and includes 2.1 million nonmilitary workers. 

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) sets the ground rules for hiring, and then agencies hire for specific jobs themselves. This order will direct agencies to move away from vetting candidates through self-assessments, OPM acting Director Michael Rigas said on the call.

The hiring process would include subject matter experts participating in interviews to assess candidates first and direct them to jobs they qualify for, based on skill sets.

“You can use a college degree in an unrelated discipline to qualify a candidate,” a senior administration official said. “We are not eliminating the college degree requirement, we are simply saying that you cannot use that to force out someone else from a certification who has qualifications for the job.” 

The official stressed this process will level the playing field and “isn’t at the expense of those with a college degree.”

“It truly is about lifting barriers for our Americans, especially those potentially living in vulnerable communities. ... What our White House is fighting for is opportunity for everyone in this country and not just for a certain select few,” the official said.