Media Highlights

Senator Rubio’s Proposed Legislation Creates More Paths to Careers

by Melanie Anderson   •  

Recognizing the importance of supporting multiple pathways to educational and career success, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) recently submitted legislation that would enable workers without traditional higher education degrees to get jobs in federal agencies that currently require them.


Sen. Marco Rubio at the Opportunity Nation 2012 Summit. 

Sen. Rubio on March 5 submitted the Alternative Qualifications for Federal Employment Act. The bill would encourage federal agencies to hire employees who have gained skills and training from alternative providers and experiences, rather than from a traditional college or university.

The bill would establish a five-year pilot program, the results of which would be tracked and reported to Congress to evaluate whether the program should be expanded.

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

The traditional higher education model used to fill many private-sector and federal jobs favors established institutions and has blocked out new providers that the senator said are “more affordable and accessible” to many Americans.

These could include Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), Badges for Vets that provides U.S. Veterans with a way to demonstrate relevant military experience to prospective employers, and other forms of online courses and credentials.

“…This has created a barrier to entry into the workforce for those who received their education from an unaccredited, alternative provider,” he said. “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 previously thought.”

Opportunity Nation’s Shared Plan promotes the expansion of multiple pathways. Our campaign believes that program such as the one proposed by Sen. Rubio could help increase private sector support for hiring employees who lack a traditional higher education degree. If successful, the pilot program would give employers confidence that moving beyond a four-year bachelors degree requirement as the only measure of success is smart business, and that other forms of experience and credentials should be valued in the workplace.

Melanie Anderson Melanie Anderson is the Director of Government and External Affairs at Opportunity Nation. She directs the campaign’s government relations and policy efforts. Read Melanie's bio.

« Back to Blog

Stay Informed