SB 2823: Use apprenticeship programs for occupational licensing

By Mississippi Center for Public Policy
February 21, 2020

Senate Bill 2823, sponsored by Sen. Dennis DeBar, would provide a new pathway to receive an occupational license, making it easier to earn a living.

This bill would allow individuals to complete an apprenticeship program in lieu of the traditional classroom hours to obtain an occupational license. You would still need to complete any necessary tests and pay all the required fees. The apprenticeship program will also count toward school credit.

This is a good step toward making it easier to earn a living in Mississippi.

Today, about 19 percent of Mississippians are in an occupation that requires a license. And this is particularly troubling in low and middle-income occupations. Mississippi currently licenses 66 of 102 lower-income occupations, as identified by Institute for Justice. 

On average, licensing for low and middle-income occupations in Mississippi requires an individual to complete 160 days of training, to pass two exams, and to pay $330 in fees. Those numbers will vary depending on the industry. For example, a shampooer must receive 1,500 clock hours of education. A fire alarm installer must pay over $1,000 in fees. 

The net result is a decrease in the number of people who can work. A study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that occupational licensing reduces labor supply by 17 to 27 percent.

In Mississippi, the Institute for Justice estimates that licensing has cost the state 13,000 jobs. That represents two Nissan plants that could be created by reducing our licensing burden, and it wouldn’t require a dime in taxpayer incentives. 

MCPP has reviewed this legislation and finds that it is aligned with our principles and therefore should be supported. 

Read SB 2823

Track the status of this bill and all bills in our legislative tracker


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