Executive Order

Executive Order  No. 627: Instituting Skills-Based Hiring Practices

Date: 01/25/2024
Issuer: Maura Healey
Mass Register: No. 1515

Table of Contents

  • In her address to the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), Governor Healey announced that she signed an executive order instituting skills-based hiring practices for the state’s workforce. Through this Executive Order, for the vast majority of job postings, the administration will focus primarily on applicants’ skills, knowledge, and abilities rather than educational credentials. Job postings will only be allowed to include degree conditions when absolutely necessary to the performance of the job. Additionally, for the first time, hiring managers will receive training and tools to implement this new hiring strategy effectively.   

  • WHEREAS, Massachusetts is in the midst of a transition to a skills-based economy, in which demand for skilled employee talent is at an all-time high, and employers are seeking to broaden and strengthen their talent pipelines by prioritizing individual skills over traditional credentials like degrees;

    WHEREAS, to fill jobs and recruit the skilled workforce they need, employers must open opportunities to nontraditional candidates, find and develop untapped talent, acknowledge the importance of practical work experience, and eliminate unnecessary degree requirements that discourage qualified applicants;

    WHEREAS, research has shown that skills are more predictive of successful job performance than educational credentials, and that employers who hire based on skills are able to create better-equipped, longer-tenured, and more resilient workforces;

    WHEREAS, Massachusetts residents are ready, willing, and able to succeed in the jobs of the future based on their skills from real-world work experience, military service, apprenticeship and certificate programs, internships, and other on-the-job learning;

    WHEREAS, the Healey-Driscoll Administration is committed to creating and expanding access to skill development opportunities—including through training partnerships, apprenticeship programs, early college, innovation and career pathways, and community colleges—that meet the workforce needs of Massachusetts employers and support long-lasting, family sustaining careers;

    WHEREAS, as the state’s largest employer, the Commonwealth must lead by example in its hiring practices and policies, and act to modernize and enhance its own recruitment and retention efforts for state employees;

    WHEREAS, our state workforce should be as talented, diverse, capable, and resilient as the people it serves;

    WHEREAS, skills-based hiring practices will strengthen the Commonwealth’s workforce, increase access to quality jobs for nontraditional candidates with varied backgrounds and work experiences, and reduce structural barriers that result in inequities in pay and access to employment;

    WHEREAS, skills-based hiring practices will support efforts to build a robust state workforce that is representative of the diversity of the state, and that has the knowledge, skills, abilities, and experiences to address the challenges of today;  

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, Maura T. Healey, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution, Part 2, c. 2, § I, Art. I, do hereby order as follows:

    Section 1.  All executive department offices and agencies are directed to utilize skills-based employment practices in their efforts to attract, recruit, hire, retain, and develop the careers of talented employees.  In making hiring decisions, hiring managers must consider the full set of competencies that candidates bring to the job beyond traditional education.  Hiring managers are directed to align job requirements and position prerequisites with the skills needed to accomplish a position’s job duties.    

    Job classifications issued or updated after the date of this Executive Order shall not specify a minimum level of education as an entrance requirement unless the Human Resources Division determines that a particular level of education is necessary to perform the job after completing a job analysis.  Job postings issued or updated after the date of this Executive Order may include preferred education requirements in excess of minimum entrance requirements only with approval of the agency’s cabinet secretary and the Human Resources Division.

    Section 2.  The Human Resources Division shall develop and promulgate a written policy on skills-based hiring practices consistent with the terms of this Executive Order.  The Human Resources Division shall notify all executive department employees of the policy and this executive order. 

    Section 3.  The Human Resources Division shall develop and implement a training course on skills-based hiring which executive department hiring managers shall be required to attend at appropriate intervals. 

    Section 4.  The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development shall develop and publish resources to assist Massachusetts employers in adopting skills-based hiring practices as a strategy for addressing workforce challenges and attracting and retaining talented employees. 

    Section 5.  Other state governmental entities, including state agencies outside the executive department, independent agencies, and constitutional offices, and municipalities are encouraged to conform to the terms of this Executive Order.

    Section 6.  This Executive Order shall take effect immediately and shall continue in effect until amended, superseded, or revoked by subsequent Executive Order.

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