Barriers to Rapidly Growing Professions State Fact Sheets

Workers with records are calling on employers and policymakers across the country to remove unfair barriers to working and supporting their families and communities. Recognizing that state laws often block workers with records from entire professions, recent campaigns have focused on reforming background checks for occupational licenses and certifications, which roughly one in four workers need to do their jobs. Such “fair chance licensing” campaigns have succeeded in many states in recent years, but further reform remains necessary in most states to eliminate unfair occupational barriers. 

Given the confusing tangle of occupational restrictions across the nation, reformers may consider strategically focusing their efforts on the laws governing high-demand industries. To that end, these factsheets provide information about the state licensing laws regulating growing occupations in eight states and recommend policy improvements for each state. Although the laws and jobs data vary across states, occupations in healthcare, childcare, education, and private security are salient areas for reform in most states. Moreover, every state can do better to limit the scope of background checks, deny licenses only when the conviction is directly related to the occupation, and require consideration of evidence of rehabilitation and mitigating circumstances.

These fact sheets discuss growing occupations in states where law requires a criminal background check, and offer recommendations for Fair Chance licensing reforms for each state.

For more information, please visit NELP’s “fair chance licensing” campaign page and check out the variety of resources there, including the following:
Contact members of NELP’s Work Equity team for more information:

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