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Occupational licensing seen by some as unnecessary barriers to professional jobs | Illinois


(The Center Square) – Occupational licensing requirements and licensing fees are preventing too many people, particularly low-income Illinoisans, from getting jobs, the Illinois Policy Institute says.

Josh Bandoch, policy director for the institute, said that one in four workers in Illinois needs a state license or certification to do their jobs.

“That is 24.7% of the workforce who can’t do their jobs without a government permission slip,” Bandoch said.

The Illinois Policy Institute identified between 42 and 102 job categories where high licensing fees and long apprenticeships are unnecessary barriers. Two examples include security alarm installers and fire alarm installers, Bandoch said.

To be a licensed security alarm installer in Illinois, a worker needs three years of experience observing and working under the supervision of someone with a license. The license fee is $317.

Fire alarm installers need the same 1,095 calendar days of supervised work experience. Fees for the fire alarm installer license are $288.

“In 10 other states, no licenses and fees are required and these jobs are done safely,” Bandoch said.

Hairdressers and makeup artists must take 1,500 hours of classroom training at a cost of thousands of dollars before they can apply for a license, Bandoch said.

The Illinois Policy Institute says training requirements and licensing costs for as many as 102 different professions need to be reviewed and updated.

“When low-income workers have to ask the government’s permission to earn a living, it makes it harder to escape poverty,” Bandoch said.

The Illinois Policy Institute wants Illinois officials to review different job categories and licensing requirements and determine what is necessary.

Bandoch said that licensing requirements are a burden on low-income people who need full-time employment.

“We would like to see a process that is more effective and that rigorously scrubs regulations,” Bandoch said.

Under recently enacted legislation, Illinois is in the process of expediting the process of identifying and implementing a new professional licensure system after criticism over delays in the state’s process for various professions.

Signed Friday, House Bill 2394 gives the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation the authority to extend license renewal and corresponding fee deadlines. The measure also requires IDFPR to procure and implement electronic licensing software within six months of the bill’s immediate effective date.

“This process – the result of a collaborative efforts between IDFPR, lawmakers, and stakeholders – will ensure we set the gold standard nationally for professional licensing here in Illinois,” IDFPR Secretary Mario Treto, Jr. said in a statement. “We are eager and prepared to take these steps in securing the solution the hardworking people across the Land of Lincoln deserve.”

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Caleb Alexander

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