Panel: Certification, Licensing, and Apprenticeship in the U.S. Labor Market
(Employment and Training Programs)

Thursday, November 6, 2014: 2:45 PM-4:15 PM
Navajo (Convention Center)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Robert I. Lerman, American University
Panel Chairs:  Burt S. Barnow, George Washington University
Discussants:  Nan Maxwell, Mathematica Policy Research


Is Occupational Licensing a Barrier to Interstate Migration?
Janna Johnson and Morris Kleiner, University of Minnesota


Occupational knowledge and practice are generally critical to success in careers but are generally downplayed in discussions of skill attainment. Perhaps, it is because they do not fit neatly into categories of school attainment nor federally-funded training programs. Recently, scholars come to recognize the importance of developing and recognizing occupational skills. As one paper in the panel points out, occupational licensing at the state level has been rapidly increasing, with the percent of the workforce licensed at the state level rising from around 5 percent in the 1950s to almost 23 percent in 2008, with an almost 28 percent increase since 1980. Meanwhile, President Obama, Senators Corey Booker and Tim Scott, and other policymakers are proposing major expansions in occupational training through apprenticeships. This panel examines the largely overlooked institutions of state occupational certification and licensing in general and of training and certification through apprenticeship in particular. Two papers examine the direct and side effects of licensing. On one hand, licensing provides useful information to buyers of various services and to employers. On the other hand, licensing might unnecessarily restrict the supply of workers in selected occupations. Further, because licensing takes place largely at the state level, it may limit geographic mobility as licensed practitioners become reluctant to move across state boundaries. The third paper links occupational certification to occupational skill development through the institution of apprenticeship. Apprenticeship certifications recognize the successful completion of a lengthy period of learning by doing in the context of real production, along with related academic courses. As a result, skill development is integral to the attainment of apprenticeship certifications and, in some but not all cases, related licenses. The panel will be especially attractive to APPAM members who work on employment and training programs or who are concerned with skills and careers but who lack familiarity with the world of state certification and licensing and state and federal apprenticeship programs. The authors are highly qualified to address the issues. Janna Johnson is a young scholar with special expertise on migration. Her co-author, Morris Kleiner, is the leading economist dealing with the nature and impacts of licensing in the U.S. A second speaker, Mark Klee, is a young economist at the U.S. Census Bureau, who is analyzing new merged data on licensing, vocational enrollment, and outcomes. The third speaker, Robert I. Lerman, is the nationís leading scholar on apprenticeship and President of the American Institute for Innovative Apprenticeship.
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