(DENVER) — The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) celebrates Gov. Jared Polis’ efforts to attract new talent to the state’s workforce by focusing on skills-based hiring practices. The Governor signed an Executive Order today that will support state agencies with recruitment and retainment strategies that put priority on the knowledge, skills, and abilities specific to the job rather than solely relying on postsecondary degrees and credentials as a baseline requirement.
“This focus to implement skills-based hiring practices will benefit workers across the state and further strengthen the state as an employer of choice,” said CDLE Executive Director Joe Barela. “CDLE has long been a supporter of skills-based learning opportunities across the state, most recently with the expansion of our registered apprenticeship programs, and we’re proud to see the Governor take action that will open new doors for many Colorado workers.”
In partnership with the Department of Personnel & Administration (DPA), which has been tasked with implementing the EO, CDLE will support efforts to develop guidance and strategies to integrate skills-based hiring practices into the state’s workforce. After conducting a survey of state agency hiring practices last year, CDLE and DPA found many agencies have begun using several skills-based hiring strategies like posting job announcements that clearly define the type of experience that can substitute degree requirements and using assessments to determine a candidate’s ability to do the job. The EO will ensure skills-based and experience options are interchangeable with degree requirements at all state agencies by FY 2023-24, and directs DPA to actively monitor job postings for compliance.
CDLE also has a longstanding partnership with the Markle Foundation which has developed resources and partnerships to help Americans without college degrees secure jobs based on the skills they have or can learn.
“The State of Colorado is a longtime partner with Markle and the Rework America Alliance in pioneering inclusive, skills-based practices that open access to good jobs and advance career opportunities for all workers, regardless of formal education or other credentials,” said Zoë Baird, CEO and President, Markle Foundation. “As nearly 70% of workers in the US have built capabilities through experience but do not hold a bachelor’s degree, this Executive Order, in promoting the adoption of skills-based practices, will unlock the potential of a valuable segment of our workforce and help the State of Colorado to find the talent it needs.”
“We’ve seen firsthand at CDLE how skills-based hiring practices can improve our talent pool. For example, in 2020 we hired an Audit Manager who doesn’t have a college degree but rose to the top of the candidate pool based on their progressively related experience in county government,” said Barela. “Or the human resources technician who was hired with a high school diploma but is now an Operations Manager with our Workforce Development Council thanks to their number of years of experience in employee and labor relations. This move is a step in the right direction for all state employees, and we are eager to be partners in the process.”
The full text of the executive order is available here.