Expanded Apprenticeships: The Untapped Potential in the Pathway to Work

The problem: Out-of-control licensing is holding workers back

Occupational licensing was originally designed as a way to protect consumers and ensure capable individuals were in high-skill positions. But licensing has moved far beyond its original purpose, and research shows that it has little effect on public safety for many professions and can even reduce service quality in some cases.

As licensing has stretched beyond its original purpose, the number of Americans who need licenses to work has skyrocketed. In the 1950s, only five percent of occupations required licensure. But today, nearly 30 percent of occupations require a license. That means nearly one-third of workers must now obtain licenses before moving into their careers.