Occupational licensing is a hot-button issue, one that often brings legislators together from both sides of the political aisle. For this reason, licensing data provided by the nonpartisan Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation (CSOR) continues to motivate lawmakers at a state—and now federal—level.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a $7 million grant to nine states and two associations of state governments for the purpose of reviewing and streamlining occupational regulation rules. Pennsylvania will receive $422,000 of that funding, a sum influenced by CSOR’s pioneering research of regulations and their financial effects on working Americans.
“Excessive licensing can create economic barriers for Americans seeking a job, including veterans and military spouses, and hinder competitiveness for businesses,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said in a DOL press release. “These grants provide an opportunity to examine licensing criteria and remove burdens that limit competition and bar entry to employment.”
The state of Pennsylvania has hired CSOR as its lead contractor for the 3-year DOL project, permitting the Center to spearhead the research of military spouse portability, skillset transferring, and the demographic data of PA licenses. The CSOR team will work alongside the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA).
“We look forward to our continued partnership with CSOR as we work to ease overly burdensome requirements and make licenses more portable, especially for military spouses,” Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of State Robert Torres said. “We will use this grant to explore transitioning from occupational licenses to certifications or registrations where possible, to adopt less burdensome criminal history policies for licensees and to find legislative and policy solutions to workplace barriers for veterans and military spouses.”
The massive federal grant comes on the heels of Governor Tom Wolf’s executive order to review and overhaul Pennsylvania licenses. Gov. Wolf’s final report acknowledged the “invaluable assistance of Saint Francis University’s Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation,” and went on to credit the Knee Center’s team with “working diligently to collect and analyze data that goes toward developing a national database of occupational regulations.”
CSOR, housed on the Saint Francis University campus in in Loretto, PA, researches a wide array of professions across the country, from barbers and physicians to crane operators and nurses. The data is then added to CSOR’s regulation database—the first of its kind in the nation—and drafted into extensive reports that government officials reference when drafting legislation.
“Our small team is committed to informing citizens, policy makers, and academics on the scope and effects occupational regulations have in every industry,” said CSOR Director Dr. Edward Timmons. “This project will allow us the opportunity to provide our services in a way that will significantly benefit working Americans.”
Established in June 2016 by founding Director and Associate Professor of Economics, Dr. Edward Timmons, The Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation at Saint Francis University’s Shields School of Business is a non-partisan academic research center funded by a generous grant from The Knee Family Foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation. In the creation of its widely-recognized national database, CSOR’s core mission is to raise awareness about occupational regulations, encourage discussion and research, and educate policymakers and citizens.
You can view the clip from the interview here