Eleven States Chosen For Occupational Licensing Policy Study


NCSL press release

Chicago – Eleven states will be participating in a peer learning consortium focused on occupational licensing policy according to project partners The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center), and The Council of State Governments (CSG).

As a member of the consortium, these 11 states will become familiar with occupational licensing policy in their own state, learn about occupational licensing best practices in other states, and begin implementing actions to remove barriers to labor market entry and improve portability and reciprocity.

“This collaborative effort among elected officials and state and national experts will produce the playbook for policymakers in every state to address some of the barriers that are hindering the full potential of the American workforce and American worker,” said NCSL President Senator Deb Peters (R-S.D.).

The following states were selected through a competitive application process and are members of the learning consortium:

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Nevada
  • Wisconsin
  • Utah

 "At a time when states are striving to make themselves more attractive to working families, we must continue to tear down barriers that might prevent people from locating and working here. We need to provide them with the ability to seek and gain employment. In many cases, that involves helping skilled workers transfer their licenses from one state to another. By joining this CSG consortium, we hope to learn more about some of the best practices in other states that can help Delaware streamline and improve its processes to make the First State more inviting and user-friendly,” said CSG Vice-Chair, Representative Helene Keeley (D-Del.)

Over the next three years, the states will engage with one another in a structured, peer learning consortium in which they will be able to share ideas and solutions to complex occupational licensing issues. Learning consortium states will benefit from a variety of resources and tools to help states identify strategies to reduce labor market barriers and improve the portability of occupational licenses.

“We shouldn’t make it unnecessarily difficult for those who already have the necessary skills to obtain jobs,” said NGA Chair Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval. “I’m glad Nevada is part of this group of states that will work to reduce unnecessary burdens and help strengthen the nation’s workforce.”

NCSL, the NGA Center and CSG will provide targeted, state-specific technical assistance and support for the development and implementation of a personalized state action plan for each state. The partners will also convene three multi-state learning consortium meetings where state teams can hear and learn from other states on occupational licensing successes and lessons. Each state will also benefit from up to three in-state meetings to help states implement their action plans. Consortium states will also receive targeted, state-specific technical assistance and support.

In January, the partners were awarded $7.5 million from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration to help states look at reducing barriers to the labor market and improve the portability and reciprocity of occupations across state lines. In addition to work with the consortium states, the partners will be providing research on the current state of the national occupational licensing landscape.

The consortium states will focus on some of the populations most burdened by occupational licensing including skilled immigrants, people with criminal records, active duty military, veterans and their spouses, and unemployed and dislocated workers. Each state will work to identify areas of their occupational licensing policy that may be creating extra barriers to entry for these populations and will examine potential solutions to reduce related barriers.


NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.