Count Massachusetts among the states forgoing degree requirements and embracing a more skills-based approach to hiring for government roles.
In an address to the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Gov. Maura Healey outlined a recent executive order she signed that institutes skills-based hiring practices for the state’s workforce.
Part of the state’s “Lead by Example” Employer Talent Initiative, the order mandates that the administration will focus primarily on applicants’ skills, knowledge and abilities, as opposed to educational credentials, “for the vast majority of job postings,” according to a statement outlining the recently issued order.
Job postings will only include degree requirements “when absolutely necessary to the performance of the job,” the same statement read, noting that hiring managers will receive training and tools designed to help them implement the new hiring approach effectively.
The order directs all Massachusetts executive departments and agencies to rely on skills-based employment practices to attract, recruit, hire, retain and develop workers, and requires all agency managers and support teams to complete a skills-based hiring training course.
Agency managers must also ensure job postings and interview questions are geared toward promoting applicants’ proven skills, knowledge and abilities. And, according to the aforementioned statement, Gov. Healey’s administration will also collaborate with private, non-profit and government employers to develop and publish best practices resources designed to help the state’s broader business community to adopt skills-based hiring strategies as well.
“As the state’s largest employer, we rely on a strong, diverse workforce to deliver crucial services and programs for Massachusetts residents, businesses and communities every day. But too many job applicants are being held back by unnecessary degree requirements,” said Gov. Healey, in a statement.
Directing the administration to put more emphasis on skills and experience figures to expand the state’s talent pool, “and help us build a more inclusive and skilled workforce than ever before,” she continued. “Our administration is leading by example, and we encourage the business community to join us by adopting similar skills-based hiring practices.”
In addition, the state’s human resources division will develop tools intended to make the recruiting process more skills-based, such as identifying and reducing bias, writing a job description and creating a recruitment plan, for example. The HR division will also provide best practices when screening and interviewing candidates.
Leaders from organizations such as the National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) and Massachusetts-based Northern Essex Community College have voiced support for the initiative and the Healey administration’s more skills-based hiring approach.
NAGE President David J. Holway, for instance, said the executive order was “long overdue,” adding that he was “pleased that Gov. Healey has moved state hiring into current day realities. Hopefully, this action will increase the talent pool for state positions.”
12 February 2024
HR News Article