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Fair Chance Licensing Reform: Opening Pathways for People with Records to Join Licensed Professions

NELP-logo-2016More Americans have an arrest or conviction record than ever before even while there has been a concurrently dramatic expansion of occupational licensing requiring people to obtain permission from a government agency—and, commonly, pass a background check—before they can work. As a result, despite efforts to improve reentry practices, more than 70 million people with a record in the United States either face significant barriers when seeking a license to work or are automatically disqualified from many well-paying jobs, sometimes for life. Laws that function in this way can permanently stigmatize and keep opportunity out of reach for many. This toolkit from the National Employment Law Project is intended to provide lawmakers and advocates in states across the country with the resources necessary to set about the work of fair chance licensing reform.