People with arrest and conviction records continue to demand that employers and policymakers remove unfair barriers to work. Their demands have spurred much-needed legislative change, including “fair chance licensing” laws that reform restrictions on working in occupations requiring a government license or certification. Such changes are crucial to achieving racial equity. Decades of biased policing and charging have left Black and Latinx communities with disproportionately high rates of records, thus compounding the economic disinvestment and other disadvantages resulting from structural racism.
In support of fair chance licensing advocacy efforts, the National Employment Law Project (NELP) recently developed a set of short fact sheets evaluating the legal barriers that face people with records who desire to work in growing occupations in eight states–Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, and Tennessee. Given the confusing tangle of statutory and regulatory restrictions in most states, focusing on growing professions in high-demand industries may prove to be an important strategy for state advocates who seek to maximize job opportunities for people with records.