An increasingly important problem plaguing workplaces and individuals is the educational requirement many employers place on their employees. Oftentimes, a person can be very book-smart, but not intuitive or creative. This creates a huge problem for employers who want their staff to be able to innovate and problem-solve—qualities lacking in many college graduates. It is also an issue for say, creative people, who often can’t—or don’t want to—get a college education because most of it is boring or irrelevant – however they are very good at the arts like photography, for example. These people may have tons of experience, simply from developing their skills out of natural interest, but will be locked out of a job because they don’t have the college degree.

An executive order Trump implemented on Friday leads the way in bridging the gap between employers who want the skillful and talented employees, and people who have what it takes but not the piece of paper that says they graduated.

President Trump signed the Executive Order on Modernizing and Reforming the Assessment and Hiring of Federal Job Candidates, which will prioritize a merit-based candidate who has skills and talent, rather than an academic degree. Trump referred to the current way of federal hiring as “really outdated” as he explained the reasons why he feels this is necessary. He continued, “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.”

While a basic high school education will still be required, post-secondary college degrees will not be as important. The order enables specific changes to be made to the federal government’s hiring process. Specifically, it will start basing the hiring process off skill assessments and interviews with subject-matter experts who will determine an applicant’s hireability. The Director of OPM, OMB, and various agency directors will review job classification and qualification standards. The order states an agency may prescribe a minimum educational requirement only when legally required for a specific position.

According to White House adviser Ivanka Trump, this will “modernize recruitment and hiring in the federal government to look for specific skills and knowledge, rather than asking for college degrees and years of experience alone,” she continued, “This will ensure that we’re able to hire based on talent and expand the universe of qualified candidates.”

Of course, specific fields will be exempted from this order, including medical, legal, and other technical professions that require extensive training for a specific skill set.

The agencies should have federal job qualifications readjusted and available to the public within 180 days of the order’s signing. In addition to treating people who don’t have college degrees with just as much respect as those who do, this order will result in increased job demand and the standard of living for many people who normally would have been locked out of jobs. When implemented, it will also hopefully increase efficiency in the federal government with people who are more well-suited for a job rather than just taking anyone who has the educational background but perhaps not the talent to do the job well. I can see this as having a positive effect on America as jobs continue to open up after the coronavirus lockdowns. Best of all, if people can now get better jobs that come with better money, then it will increase wealth among more Americans.

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