DOL Consortium

The Council of State Governments (CSG), National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), and National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center), with support from the US Department of Labor (USDOL), are assisting participating states in improving their understanding of occupational licensure issues and best practices; becoming familiar with and discussing the existing licensing policies in their state; identifying current policies that create unnecessary barriers to labor market entry, especially for certain populations; and creating an action plan that focuses on removing barriers to labor market entry and improves portability and reciprocity for select occupations.

The Occupational Licensing Policy Learning Consortium is improving the understanding of occupational licensure issues among the participating states by providing a forum for the selected state team members and the expanded stakeholder group to learn about occupational licensing best practices; become familiar with and discuss the existing licensing policies in their state; identify current policies that create unnecessary barriers to labor market entry, especially for military families, immigrants, people with criminal records and unemployed or dislocated workers; and finally create an action plan that focuses on removing barriers to labor market entry and improves portability and reciprocity for select occupations.

The participating state teams have learned, networked and discussed the practices, costs, opportunities and challenges related to occupational licensing by connecting the state teams with evidence-based research, best practices in the field, possible alternatives to licensure, multi-state comparable data, state-specific data and the ability to network with other states and national experts. Each state in the Consortium has received technical assistance from CSG, NCSL, and NGA to develop an action plan that identifies strategies to reduce barriers to labor market entry and improve licensure portability and reciprocity, and work toward implementation of the plan. The participating states have been required to create a core team of officials to participate in the Consortium, as well as a broader group of stakeholders that have been involved in the project. Each state selected specific occupations and target populations to focus on through this work, as well the aspects of licensure regulation that they will address in their action plan.

Project Overview


Frequently Asked Questions

How many states are participating in the consortium?

There are 16 states currently participating in the consortium. They are Arkansas, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin.

How were the states selected?

States were selected through a competitive RFA process. Applications were scored by the partner organizations and outside experts, and chosen based on scoring methodology.

Who are on the state teams?

Each state has formed a project team to include representation from relevant stakeholders involved in occupational licensing, including: state legislators, the governor’s office, state workforce agencies, state regulatory or licensing boards, and state administrative agencies involved in occupational licensing.

What do states in the consortium receive?

Although there is no direct funding available consortium states benefit from:

    • Multi-state team meetings
    • In-state learning consortium meetings
    • Targeted, state-specific technical assistance
    • Support for state action plan development and implementation
    • Access to national experts
    • Peer to peer learning opportunities

What are the “target populations”

Licensing regulations can create unique barriers and challenges for certain populations who are entering the labor market or moving across states lines. This Barriers to Work series focuses on the specific barriers that may exist for four different population groups:

    • Immigrants with work authorization.
    • People with criminal records.
    • Low-Income, unemployed and dislocated workers.
    • Veterans and military spouses.

See the reports tab of this website for briefing papers on each of these disproportionately affected populations

What have the states done during the project?

Led by facilitators from the partner organizations, each state team has developed a formal action plan to guide their efforts throughout the three-year project.

Topics of interest to the states include:

    • Licensing barriers for the target populations
    • Licensing board authority, composition and structure
    • Sunrise & sunset provisions
    • Interstate compacts

Consortium Case Studies

The American Institutes for Research authored case studies of the original 11 consortium states to examine some of the policy actions taken during the course of the project.