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

President TrumpDonald TrumpUS gives examples of possible sanctions relief to Iran GOP lawmaker demands review over FBI saying baseball shooting was 'suicide by cop' House passes bill aimed at stopping future Trump travel ban 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 TrumpFox News's Bret Baier posts vaccination selfie Chelsea Clinton: Pics of Trump getting vaccinated would help him 'claim credit' Ivanka Trump gets vaccine, urges public to do the same MORE co-chairs with Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossFormer Trump officials find tough job market On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits MORE.

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


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.