Exclusive with Ivanka Trump: Federal hiring to focus on skills, not degrees

Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 4:31 PM EDT

THE WHITE HOUSE (Gray DC) -- The Trump administration wants federal agencies to hire applicants based on their skills, not just their degree.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday authorizing the change alongside his daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump.

"The federal government is the country's largest employer, and we want to always ensure that we retain the best and the brightest and we attract the best and the brightest,” said Trump, who co-chairs the White House’s American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.

In an exclusive interview with Gray Television Washington Bureau Chief Jacqueline Policastro, Trump explained the executive order doesn't eliminate degree requirements for all jobs.

The idea is modeled after the success of private companies that are hiring based on skills, like Apple and IBM.

“So many companies were ruling out very qualified applicants based on outdated requirements, and we were doing it ourselves at the federal government. So, it echoes and mirrors what's happening in the private sector already,” Trump said.

Policastro asked Trump what this now means for the value of a degree in the job market.

“We never want to denigrate the college experience, and it's a great path for many Americans. But the majority of Americans don't go that route, and we want to share with them the opportunities that exist through apprenticeships through on the job learning,” Trump said.

May 2020 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the unemployment rate is more than double for high school graduates than it is for workers with a college degree.

White Americans earn degrees at a higher rate than Black or Latino Americans, so Trump hopes the new hiring changes will help diversify the work force.

"We want to both support Americans and then also position this country for a rebound,” Trump said.

The Trump Administration is also asking employers across the country to look at their hiring practices and consider hiring based on skills rather than degrees.

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