State to Take Part in Occupational Licensing Study

October 2, 2017

Article as it appeared in the Rep-Am

Connecticut has been chosen to participate in an eleven state occupational licensing policy study.

The study, the first of its kind, is being coordinated by three national organizations, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, and the Council of State Governments. The goal of the study is for states to better understand local and interstate licensing policies to address barriers to employment. It runs three years.

State Senators Kevin D. Witkos, R-Canton, and Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, applauded Connecticut’s participation in the study. Both senators sought occupational licensing policy reform during the past year, with moderate success. Their bipartisan legislation eliminated six licenses they believed were cumbersome. As of Jan 1. licensing for swimming pool assembly, athlete agent registration, shorthand reporting, itinerant vendor licensing, and liquor wholesaler’s salesman certificates will be eliminated.

“This past legislative session my Democratic counterpart Senator Bob Duff and I worked together to craft bipartisan legislation that reduced the number of occupational licenses needed in our state,” Witkos said. “Unfortunately, due to the efforts of special interest groups looking to protect the limited number of people that can apply for such jobs, we were only able to eliminate six licenses.”

 Witkos, a member of the core team of state representatives for the study, was unavailable to identify the special interests he encountered, but supporters of occupational licenses argue that they protect consumers from fraudulent and dangerous practices. The National Conference of State Legislators reports that over the past 60 years the number of jobs requiring an occupational license or government approval has grown from one in twenty to more than one in four. Licensing requirements can vary from state to state. Part of the study’s mission is to help states find common ground with their licensing policies.

In Connecticut, the Department of Consumer Protection oversees more than 200 credential types and over 200,000 licenses, permits and registrations. The Occupational and Professional Licensing Division regulates 118 different professions and oversees 89,746 licenses. In addition, the Department of Public Health processes over 215,000 licensees for approximately 65 professional health care occupations.

Iris Hentze, research analyst for the National Conference of State Legislators, said that the study “stems from the U.S. Department of Labor’s commitment to examine occupational licensing in the states.”

Hentze said there was a competitive application process that required states to present letters of support from their governor, leader of the state’s workforce agency, and legislative leadership. States also had to submit an application narrative that outlined their current licensing framework; their visions, goals, and preliminary outcomes; and their proposed strategies and activities.

According to the state’s application, submitted by the governor’s office, Connecticut hopes to reduce the number of licenses for occupations that don’t require formal training. The state government hopes licensing reform will raise employment.


“As our state becomes older and older, there is a constant need to fill the open positions in health care and transportation caused by the aging workforce and by the need to care for our oldest citizens,” reads the application. “Restrictive licensing requirements or inherent system barriers to including our increasingly diverse population must be address and reduced so that we can adequately meet Connecticut’s workforce demands.”

The members of the core team are Bill Welz, from the governor’s office; Kathleen Marioni, from the Office of Workforce Competitiveness for the DOL; Senator Kevin D. Witkos, Senate Republican President Pro Tempore; Bob Duff, Senate Majority Leader; Stephen Carragher from the Department of Public Health; and Richard Hurlburt, consumer protection division director of occupation & professional licensing from the Department of Consumer Protection.


The study calls for three multi-state learning consortium meetings, the first of which will be held in Arizona in December of next year.