Alternative Qualifications for Federal Employment Act

Last week, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced the Alternative Qualifications for Federal Employment Act, legislation that would allow federal agencies to hire job candidates who possess educational credentials or training from “alternative providers,” rather than from a traditional college or university.

The act would establish a five-year pilot program to allow those individuals to be hired into certain predetermined agency positions. Lawmakers would later examine the results of the pilot to develop future hiring policies. Rubio said the current hiring system has “created a barrier to entry into the workforce” for many workers who have received education from an unaccredited provider.

“Today there are an infinite number of ways for people to learn and master trades, including many low-cost online opportunities,” Rubio said in a statement. “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.”

“By creating a federal pilot program to test the employment of these individuals, I believe we will find that the source of an employee’s education is far less important than some previously thought,” Rubio said.

Rubio said a successful pilot could also bolster the confidence of private-sector employers in hiring workers with a non-traditional education.

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