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News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Grants to Help Reform Licensing Requirements and Increase Portability

WASHINGTON, DC – As part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s ongoing efforts to encourage occupational licensing reform, the Department today announced $7.5 million in funds to help review and streamline occupational licensing rules. Funds will be available to states, and associations of states, to review, eliminate and reform licensing requirements, and to promote portability of state licenses. Additionally, grant funding will be available to post-secondary institutions and occupational licensing partners to address barriers to licensure for veterans and transitioning service members.

“Excessive licensing raises the cost of entry, often prohibitively, for many careers, barring many Americans from good, family-sustaining jobs. In 1950, only 1 in 20 jobs required an occupational license. Today, more than 1 in 4 require a license to work,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “These grants are part of the Department of Labor’s efforts to eliminate and streamline excessive licensing requirements. If licenses are unnecessary, eliminate them. If they are necessary for health and safety, then streamline them and work with other states for reciprocity.”

Grant Funds for States to Review and Streamline Licensing Requirements:

Individual states may apply for between $100,000 and $450,000 for a three-year grant. An existing association of states can apply for up to $1 million for a three-year grant.  The Department intends to make funding available for up to 20 states, and may also fund one to two associations of states. 

Successful applicants will objectively analyze the relevant licensing criteria, potential portability issues, and whether licensing requirements are overly broad or burdensome. Importantly, applicants should provide specific plans of action designed to reduce excessive licensing. Applicants are also encouraged to consider the potential of alternative approaches to licensing that would be adequate to protect public health and safety (such as professional certification).

Grant Funds to Address Licensure Challenges for Veterans and Transitioning Service Members:

To address barriers to licensure for veterans and transitioning service members, applicants for funded projects will select one or more licensed occupations, and conduct academic credit and gap analyses between military education and training in selected licensed occupations. Based on these analyses, grantees will develop bridge training curricula customized to close those gaps to enable veterans to qualify for state licensure in the selected occupation. Each awardee will identify and address licensing requirements in high-demand occupation areas such as transportation, healthcare, protective service, and mechanical/construction occupations.Successful applicants will support the development and wide dissemination of appropriate accelerated educational and licensing programs.

For additional information on grant eligibility and how to apply for funds, visit

Office of the Secretary
April 12, 2018
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Media Contact: Eric Holland
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