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By Ben Penn
June 17 — The Obama administration is continuing its push to overhaul state occupational licensing protocols by offering new grants intended to reduce burdens for workers, the White House announced June 17.
The Labor Department's Employment and Training Administration will administer $7.5 million in funds now available for nonprofits to develop strategies that “enhance the portability of licenses across states and reduce overly burdensome licensing restrictions in general,” according to a White House fact sheet.
The grants, which mark the first time Congress has appropriated funding for occupational licensing changes, is part of a 2015 initiative to offset the employment barriers created by occupational licensing requirements.
“Getting a license in a new state can entail various procedural hurdles, such as paying fees, filling out administrative paperwork, and submitting an application and waiting for it to be processed,” the administration said.
Grant recipients will work with at least three states to identify licensing criteria that “create unnecessary barriers to labor market entry” and ease licenses' applicability across state lines.
Further, the White House touted the progress made in the past year in 11 states that responded to the administration's 2015 policy recommendations. Legislators in those states have introduced 15 bills, four of which have been passed, according to the fact sheet.
For instance, Georgia and Illinois have passed laws that ban licensing boards, under certain conditions, from denying licenses based on a worker's criminal history.
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Text of the grant opportunity is available at http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=284696.
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