States continue to take significant actions in attempts to lessen barriers to workforce entry caused by occupational licensing. CSG currently facilitates a consortium of 11 states looking at occupational licensing reform as a part of the Occupational Licensing Assessing State Policy and Practice project in partnership with NCSL and NGA, funded by the US Department of Labor. However, the examples below come from states not currently participating in this project’s consortium, signifying that occupational licensing reform is a priority for states nationwide, and not just the 11 states participating in this CSG project.

A commonly cited argument for occupational licensing reform states that licensing results in restricted employment growth and higher wages for licensed workers, which in turn increases consumer costs. Higher wages benefit licensed workers, but wage disparity leads to inefficiency and unfairness, including reducing employment opportunities and depressing wages for excluded workers.

CSG Midwest
In many Midwestern states, the big policy question surrounding economic development these days isn’t how to create jobs, but how to make sure enough workers are available and ready to fill them.

WHEREAS, over the last 60 years, the number of jobs requiring an occupational license has grown from about one in 20 to nearly one in four; and

WHEREAS, when implemented properly, occupational licensing can help protect the health and safety of consumers by requiring practitioners to undergo a designated amount of training and education in their field; and

CSG Midwest
Indiana is planning to invest more than $20 million over the next two years into two grant programs that prepare workers to fill existing and looming job vacancies. Under the Next Level Jobs Initiative, the state will pay for workers to get trained at Indiana’s community colleges and help employers train their new hires.
The state currently has approximately 95,000 job openings, and by 2025, another 1 million are expected due to retirements and the creation of new positions. Many of these will be jobs that require some level of education or training beyond high school. According to the National Skills Coalition, by 2024, 55 percent of Indiana’s jobs will be considered “middle skill” — those requiring less than a four-year college degree but calling for some degree, certification or training beyond a high school diploma. 

As rural communities struggle to grow their economies and retain skilled labor, work-based learning experiences such as internships and apprenticeships offer a promising strategy to address workforce talent shortages and connect individuals to in-demand careers. To achieve scale, there are promising actions state policymakers can take to better align existing programs and resources to support economic development and educational attainment in the rural areas of their states.

Representative Gene Whisnant

Individuals with disabilities are major contributors to the modern workforce. However, the unemployment rate for those with disabilities is almost double  the unemployment rate of the general population according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Taking the proper steps to provide workers with disabilities the appropriate accommodations could reduce this high unemployment rate, and provide opportunities to thrive at work. Employment is the most direct and cost-effective...

The Trump administration announced a preliminary 2018 budget proposal that included elimination of the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). Funds from this program are allocated to states and national grantees in states to employ low-income senior citizens. SCSEP funds 43,600 positions nationwide at a cost of $9,698 per position.

The North Carolina Senate unanimously passed SB-8 on March 15th which eases occupational licensure burdens on veterans by allowing military members and their spouses to practice their profession with a license from another state while transitioning to the requirements of North Carolina. The bill, sponsored by Senators Andy Wells, Harry Brown, and Louis Pate, is a positive step towards helping military families working jobs that may require a license.

Maryland Delegate Cory McCray is currently sponsoring a bill moving through the House of Delegates entitled the POWER (Providing Our Workers with Education and Readiness) Apprenticeship Act (House Bill 467). As a graduate of a 5-year apprenticeship program, McCray has been a long-standing advocate for state expansion of apprenticeship legislation.


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