Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik today introduced the Advancing Skills-Based Hiring Act to support employers seeking to adopt skills-based hiring practices that prioritize applicants’ job-skills and abilities over college degrees.

“While millions of Americans remain out of the workforce in the midst of a labor shortage, I am committed to helping employers broaden their applicant pool and identify talented workers who have gained skills outside of post-secondary education,” Stefanik said. “I am proud to introduce the Advancing Skills-Based Hiring Act to empower job creators to evaluate candidates based what they know how to do, not just where they learned, and more effectively recognize skills gained through prior work experience, military service, life experience, or education. Skills-based hiring expands economic opportunity for the two-thirds of Americans who do not have a four-year college degree, and the federal government should remove barriers for employers who want to use skills-based hiring to strengthen their workforce.”

"Skills-based hiring better recognizes the abilities of all workers, regardless of where these skills are learned. We applaud this effort to support employers in building more equitable and inclusive hiring practices while ensuring appropriate safeguards for workers," said Emily M. Dickens, SHRM Chief of Staff and Head of Government Affairs.

Employers implementing skills-based hiring often used pre-employment assessments to measure a prospective employee’s competencies and gauge their readiness for the job. However, navigating federal employment laws and regulations on the use of pre-employment assessments can pose a barrier for employers seeking to use skills-based hiring to meet their workforce needs, particularly for smaller employers.

Specifically, the Advancing Skills-Based Hiring Act will support employers seeking to adopt skills-based hiring practices through technical assistance on the lawful use of pre-employment assessments and proactive determinations that an employer’s usage of such assessments is consistent with effective performance of the job. It will:

  • Allow employers to voluntarily submit assessment validity evidence to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for proactive review,
  • Provide employers a safe harbor if the EEOC determines their use of an assessment satisfies the legal burden of being “job related”, and
  • Ensure employers can participate in this voluntary compliance initiative without risk by preventing the EEOC from using an employer’s participation as a basis for future investigation and protecting the information an employer submit from being used against them.

Read full bill text here.