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Bridging The Gap For Workers Without Bachelor's Degrees

Bridging The Gap For Workers Without Bachelor's Degrees

In October 2023, Representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois, and John James, R-Michigan, introduced the bipartisan Opportunity to Compete Act, a groundbreaking legislation designed to address the challenges faced by job seekers without bachelor’s degrees. The act aims to ensure fair consideration for these individuals in the hiring process, emphasizing skills-based evaluation over traditional educational qualifications.

The Need For Change

The current hiring landscape is heavily influenced by automated recruitment systems, which often utilize degree requirements as a primary filtering mechanism. A 2021 study revealed that over 90% of employers rely on such systems, with half using education level as a decisive filter. This approach inadvertently excludes a significant portion of the workforce, as approximately two-thirds of U.S. workers do not hold a bachelor’s degree.

Addressing Bias And Promoting Diversity

The Opportunity to Compete Act seeks to rectify this imbalance by mandating that large employers using automated degree requirement settings disclose the expected years of experience applicants need. In addition, it allows for the substitution of relevant work experience for a four-year degree. This shift in evaluation criteria would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to eliminate bias against individuals who have acquired valuable skills through alternative routes such as military service, community college, or training programs.

Advocacy And Support For The Act

Industry experts and advocates have strongly supported the Opportunity to Compete Act, emphasizing its potential to foster diversity and inclusion while expanding access to job opportunities. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of YUPRO Placement Michelle Sims highlighted the legislation’s role in diversifying the evaluation criteria during the initial stages of hiring, thereby promoting fairer consideration for all candidates.

In addition, this bill emphasizes the significance of the millions of workers who have honed their skills through alternative educational paths such as community college, apprenticeships, and on-the-job experience. The act is positioned as a critical enabler for these individuals to showcase their capabilities and contribute meaningfully to the workforce.

Empowering Alternative Educational Routes

The proposed legislation acknowledges the value of alternative educational pathways, which provide accessible and affordable means for individuals outside traditional talent pools to develop skills relevant to various early and mid-career roles. By recognizing the value of these non-traditional routes, the act supports a more inclusive and equitable approach to evaluating job candidates.

Hiring And Recruiting With A PEO

Should this bill go into effect, small business owners will need to remain compliant. However, you didn’t start your business to stay on top of laws and regulations or spend countless hours hiring and recruiting top talent that will help your business grow. That’s why small and medium-sized companies turn to a professional employer organization (PEO) like GMS for help. A PEO provides comprehensive HR services to its clients, including payroll, benefits, compliance, and more. This partnership allows businesses to outsource the administrative and legal aspects of hiring and recruiting. In addition, at GMS, our HR experts can access a larger pool of qualified candidates, offer competitive compensation and benefits packages, and reduce your turnover and hiring costs. If you want to learn more about how GMS can help your business grow, contact us today. We’re here to help you and your business thrive.

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