Bill Would Let Agencies Hire Workers with Alternate Credentials

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by rmm0484, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. rmm0484

    rmm0484 Member

    By FederalDaily Staff
    March 07, 2014

    Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced legislation that would allow federal agencies to hire job candidates who possess educational credentials or training from "alternative providers," rather than from a traditional college or university.

    The Alternative Qualifications for Federal Employment Act, introduced March 5, would establish a five-year pilot program to allow those individuals to be hired into certain predetermined agency positions. Lawmakers would later examine the results of the pilot to develop future hiring policies.

    “Today there are an infinite number of ways for people to learn and master trades, including many low-cost online opportunities," Rubio said in a statement. "Unfortunately, our current higher education model is based on a broken accreditation system that favors established institutions while blocking out the new providers that are more affordable and accessible to many Americans."

    Rubio said the system has "created a barrier to entry into the workforce" for those who have received education from an unaccredited provider.

    "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 some previously thought," Rubio said.

    The lawmaker said a successful pilot could bolster the confidence of private-sector employers in hiring workers with a non-traditional education.

    Bill would let agencies hire workers with 'alternative' credentials --
  2. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

    I realize that I'm stating the obvious here, but I predict that if this law is passed, the number of unaccredited, online schools will increase drastically.
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I'm not so sure. A five year pilot program, which can actually be pretty small, means nothing major actually happens for five years. And in many cases the feds already allow experience to substitute for a higher education requirement. (Rich, please correct me if I'm wrong.) I've seen this bill described as a "nothing sandwich" and I think that may be the case, that it may just be Rubio grandstanding against higher education.
  4. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    It's not like the federal government has trouble recruiting people. They receive hundreds to thousands of applications for almost every position.
  5. 03310151

    03310151 Active Member

    Pfft. The .gov already accepts NA degrees, what's one more step downward?
  6. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    It does seem like a solution in search of a problem, doesn't it?
  7. Orville_third

    Orville_third New Member

    I wonder if this has anything to with BJU or similar colleges- though BJU is going through a crisis of sorts right now.
  8. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Think of the advertising possibilities. We could see ads like this:

    And it would literally be true.

    Under the proposed Act, "alternative educational experience" means "training or education in 1 or more subject areas or occupational fields from an educational provider that does not meet the requirements of section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965."

    Section 101(a) requires recognized accreditation. MUST University obviously does not have recognized accreditation, so it does not meet the requirements of section 101(a). Yet under the proposed Act, not meeting the requirements of Section 101(a) is precisely what would make MUST University degrees eligible for government employment consideration.

    There is nothing in the Act to distinguish between legitimate unaccredited schools and outright diploma mills. So MUST University degrees would appear to qualify as a form of "alternative educational experience". And as such, they would be eligible for consideration under the proposed program.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2014
  9. rmm0484

    rmm0484 Member

    I would follow the money....perhaps Rubio is getting contributions from groups lobbying on behalf of these kinds of schools.

    Can you imagine cybersecurity professionals being hired with unaccredited credentials?
  10. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    That connection is non sequitir, and needlessly inflammatory. On the contrary, this is one of the very few things our Government gets right.
  11. jhp

    jhp Member

    There are several Federal and DoD positions that require accredited degrees, some as high as PhD, specially in research, high level law enforcement and IT. You can verify this by looking on
  12. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Maybe, but if they can afford to buy a name brand senator you'd think they could afford DETC.

    Yes, since in information security CISSP certification is worth more than any degree. This is actually an example that supports the position that degrees are overrated.
  13. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    I think it's a worthy notion, but the whole thing seems very minimalist: fill a minimum of 25 jobs a year (covering 10 diverse areas) for five years, and then look at whether those 125 (or more) people were still employed in that job, promoted, or terminated. (Nothing about job performance or satisfaction, or if they voluntarily quit.) And, as others point out, nothing about how the alternate providers are chosen. The text of the Bill is here:

    Mildly interesting that the Bill comes from Senator Rubio, himself a master of the 'embellished' resume (Marco Rubio’s compelling family story embellishes facts, documents show - The Washington Post).
  14. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    It's the opposite. In some entry-level jobs, advanced education can substitute for experience.

    Very few federal jobs have specific job requirements. Those that do set them because the are that: "requirements." They don't then waive them.

    Rubio is implying what I've been harping on for years: a strong qualifications framework (QF). Such a framework would create a second, vocationally-oriented path for most occupations, where workers could--through training, experience, and examination--earn higher and higher levels of credentials in a give field. College degrees, in many cases, would substitute at certain levels in certain fields. So if you, say, looked at accounting, one could enter the field as a novice/apprentice after taking a course of training and passing an exam. Then after some prescribed amount of experience and additional training, that person could sit for the next level qualification. Alternately, one could take accounting as a degree major, get a bachelor's degree, then enter the qualifications framework at that level. More education and experience could lead to higher levels, or one could jump over to the vocational track. Either way, training schools would be incorporated into the framework--along with colleges and universities--and employers would be able to know what to expect at each level of qualification.

    Unaccredited schools would have to qualify somehow to be included as recognized providers. If they wanted to do that by awarding degrees, we have an accreditation process for that. If they wanted to qualify as providers of technical education to prepare workers for qualification exams, then the QF would have processes for that. So no, you wouldn't see a proliferation of unaccredited schools because they'd still have to qualify for entry into the system. (I have no idea about Rubio's bill, though. It probably does what Steve is concerned about.)

    National HRD is a very important topic in other parts of the modern world. Just not in ours.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2014
  15. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Or wrong. It is not inflammatory to have an opinion about this topic.
  16. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    Yes, that's his opinion. He's entitled. My opinion is: when someone suggests that NA degrees are only one step up from unaccredited and diploma mill degrees it's inflammatory, as I don't know how it wouldn't arouse a little anger from an NA degree holder who had to do years of legitimate, accredited work to obtain that degree.
  17. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

    While I see the utility of DETC-accredited programs, SOMETHING has to be "one step up from unaccredited and diploma mill degrees", right? The list usually runs something like this (from bottom rung to top):

    1. Diploma mill
    2. Unaccredited (but requiring actual coursework and possibly state-approved to operate)
    3. DETC or other NA accreditation
    4. RA and/or RA + programmatic accreditation (e.g. AACSB, CEPH, NACTE, etc.).

    Obviously, #4 runs the gamut from Generic State University up to the Ivy League schools.
  18. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    The comment 03 made was about the entire NA spectrum. And while I understand your thinking, I disagree with the concept in this context. Even though I'm one who has rooted for unaccredited programs to become accredited, I don't feel unaccredited programs and diploma mills even belong on the same list with accredited programs be them NA or otherwise, because, well, they're not accredited.

    Besides, 03's underlying point is that NA degrees are no good, and he's made that clear many times before if I'm not mistaken. And yes, he's entitled to have that opinion, but I'm entitled to disagree with it.
  19. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Pecking orders should get their marching orders

    Your list may run that way, and some others may agree with you. Other people's lists wouldn't make a distinction between your third and fourth categories, or would split them differently, e.g., for profit vs. other. And some lunatics even judge schools on their individual merits, rather than by which accreditor they use, what their tax status is, or otherwise categorized.

    I realize pecking orders are the "national pastime" of academia, but that doesn't mean it necessarily reflects student experiences or actual rigor.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2014
  20. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    Some of the dumbest people I have ever met held graduate degrees from ooh/aah schools. Some of the smartest people I have ever met never earned a single college credit. Call me a spectacularly maniacal form of lunatic, but I don't just judge schools on their individual merits- I go so far as judging individuals on their individual merits. :eek:mfg: Sadly, to say so happens to be off-topic in this thread, when it really shouldn't be.

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