Federal agencies should hire more employees who have not attended “traditional” colleges and universities, according to a prominent Republic senator.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced the Alternative Qualifications for Federal Employment Act Wednesday, which would establish a pilot program for agencies to hire individuals who did not attend a four-year college but instead completed occupational or trade training.
Rubio’s bill would direct the Office of Personnel Management to designate certain positions throughout the government to be filled by applicants with “alternative” high education credentials. Agencies would be prohibited from making a college degree a prerequisite for the job.
“Today there are an infinite number of ways for people to learn and master trades, including many low-cost online opportunities,” Rubio said.” Unfortunately, our current higher education model is based on a broken accreditation system that favors established institutions while blocking out the new providers that are more affordable and accessible to many Americans.”
Rubio said this creates a barrier to those who received an education from an unaccredited provider. He added the pilot program will prove “the source of an employee’s education is far less important than some previously thought.”
The bill would require OPM to select at least 25 positions in 10 different occupational fields to participate in the program for each of the next five years. OPM would then report back to Congress on the program’s progress.
Rubio said he expects this action in the public sector would encourage private-sector businesses to hire individuals with non-traditional educations.