The House Oversight and Reform Committee this week approved a bill that aims to put in place a Federal workforce hiring policy that places greater emphasis on prospective employees’ work experience, rather than their educational credentials – a policy put forward in an executive order from then-President Trump in 2020.

The committee on April 6 voted to approve the Chance to Compete Act, which was introduced last month by Reps. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., and Jody Hice, R-Ga., who is the ranking member of the House Government Operations Subcommittee.

“Shifting to a more skills-based assessment can open up government employment opportunities to applicants from diverse professional backgrounds and education levels,” the House Oversight Committee said in reporting the vote.

The House bill, its sponsors said, would shift assessments of prospective Federal employees “toward focusing on the candidate’s ability to perform the actual job rather than where or if they received their college degree.” The measure also would give Federal agencies the ability to share job applicant assessments, and allow subject matter experts to service as interviewers.

“There’s no reason a college degree should be required for a job if the candidate is able to demonstrate that they have the skills necessary to succeed in the role,” said Rep. Khanna last month.

“For far too long, the Federal government’s hiring priorities have focused too much on whether a candidate has obtained a degree rather than whether they actually have the skills needed to serve Americans best,” said Rep. Hice, who added that the measure “builds upon Trump-era policies allowing agencies to hire based on a candidate’s skills rather than just their education.”

Former President Trump’s executive order issued in June 2020 required Federal agencies “to focus hiring on the skills job seekers possess, rather than focusing on whether they have earned a college degree.” The White House said the order was aimed at transforming the Federal hiring process “to replace one-size-fits-all, degree-based hiring with skills-based hiring.”

The House bill has Senate companion legislation introduced by Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Bill Haggerty, R-Tenn.

Read More About
More Topics
John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.