<< All News Friday, February 28, 2020 - 02:23pm

The North Dakota Department of Commerce hosted the first Occupational Licensing Reform (OLR) workgroup meeting on Feb. 26. 

As a subcommittee of the North Dakota Workforce Development Council, the OLR workgroup is a joint effort between the Executive and Legislative branches that consists of legislators and a cross-functional group of individuals who represent those affected by North Dakota’s occupational licensing framework. 

“The overall goal of the workgroup is to remove barriers to employment while preserving the health and safety of North Dakotans and promoting competition,” Commerce Workforce Division Director Katie Ralston said. “To achieve this goal, the workgroup will study North Dakota’s current schema for occupational licensing in order to develop a thorough understanding of all aspects of occupational licensing.” 

National OLR experts joined the workgroup’s first session to share information on how North Dakota compares to other states and provided recommendations for improvements.  

“One component to recruiting qualified workforce is to review with input from licensing bodies the existing occupational licensing requirements, keeping in mind the health and safety of North Dakotans,” Rep. Cindy Schreiber-Beck said. 

“The first meeting was very successful,” Commerce Commissioner Michelle Kommer said. “We had an engaging group that all shared the same passion to expand and improve our state’s workforce. All participants provided beneficial insights and feedback that will prepare the workgroup for future meetings, and to achieve our overall goal.” 

Currently North Dakota has 61 licensing boards. Approximately 25% of the national workforce requires an occupational license to practice. At 23%, North Dakota has a higher percentage of workforce that requires a license than neighboring states.  

“There is a sense of urgency to remove unnecessary barriers to employment created by licensing requirements,” Sen. Randy Burckhard said. “There is a direct connection between workforce mobility and our ability to recruit and retain military service members and their families to North Dakota.”  

Through monthly meetings over the next five months, the OLR workgroup will work with national experts and occupational licensing boards, commissions and agencies to understand licensing requirements and identify opportunities to decrease unnecessary barriers and regulation while preserving health and safety of North Dakotans and promoting competition.   

More information can be found at belegendary.link/OccLicReform 

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