New Occupational Licensure Law Will Help Address Workforce Challenges

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

PA Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement after Gov. Tom Wolf signed S.B. 637, legislation that helps Pennsylvanians with criminal records re-enter the workforce by reforming the process by which they can obtain an occupational license:

“Pennsylvania oversees the administration of more than 250 types of processional licenses – that’s 250 potential opportunities for individuals to find meaningful employment and help to close an existing jobs skills gap. Previously, the rules varied in terms of when a criminal record could prevent issuance of an occupational license and impede someone from entering into careers for which they were otherwise qualified. Under the new law, licenses may only be denied if the job applicant’s record is related to the occupation they’re pursuing – the same standard that employers follow if a job applicant has a criminal record. In addition, the new law requires agencies to determine and publicize the types of criminal records that relate to certain licenses – with language we suggested to ensure that the employer community’s perspectives are being sought in the process.”

“Providing this uniformity and clarity in the application of the occupational licensure law will help people make informed decisions related to the education and training opportunities they pursue. It will further help to ensure that good candidates are not being denied entry into their chosen career path based on a bad decision for which they’ve already paid their debt to society. Helping otherwise qualified people earn occupational licenses is one part of the Pennsylvania Chamber’s multi-pronged strategy to address our state’s workforce crisis, and we applaud Senator John DiSanto and Representative Sheryl Delozier for sponsoring bills in their respective chambers; as well as all lawmakers and the governor for their support of this important legislation.”