National Occupational Licensing Meeting

Las Vegas| Ceasar’s Palace | June 19-21

You’re invited! The National Occupational Licensing Meeting is the culmination of a four-year collaboration between The Council of State Governments and National Conference of State Legislatures to reduce barriers to licensed occupations. Join us as we share the research and lessons learned from our work with the states and feature new and emerging trends in this important workforce topic.

Specifically, you will learn about best practices in occupational licensing, from the firsthand experiences of states that have been working on this issue. The meeting also will provide updates on a variety of licensing topics, including interstate mobility schemes, how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted licensing and regulation, and diversity and inclusion in regulation. Breakout sessions will focus on scope of practice, military family mobility and licensing for people with a criminal history.

You will leave the meeting with a better understanding of occupational licensing’s complexity, as well as the common pitfalls other states have faced in this policy area.

Assistance with travel expenses is available upon request. The deadline to register online is June 1, 2022. Click here to register.

Third-Party Verification of License Requirements

With the transition to online license application and renewal processes accelerated by the pandemic, states must consider how best to manage third-party verification in online licensing systems. Most states with such systems do not allow applicants to upload documents. Instead, documents must be provided by institutions of higher education or verified by a national association. In rare cases, applicants can upload a document signed by a school official as proof of completed education requirements.

“Primary source verification” (PSV) refers to verification of an individual’s reported credentials and qualifications through the issuing organization or governmental entity or through a designated equivalent source (i.e., an approved agent designated to maintain official credential information). Methods of primary source verification include direct correspondence, such as a documented telephone conversation or facsimile, email or letter. Obtaining original documents is not necessarily equivalent to primary source verification (communication with the original source through the applicant or his or her agent is not primary source verification).

As technology continues to become more sophisticated, more organizations will automate PSV processes. In a recent study, 83% of healthcare organizations have fully or partially automated the PSV process. Primary sources increasingly provide internet portals and/or web access for credentials verification, making the process more efficient. As part of the automation process, organizations may outsource PSV to a third-party. Credential Verification Organizations (CVOs) conduct PSV of practitioner credentials for other organizations.

Credential Verification Organizations (CVOs):

Verity StreamVerisysMedallionsymplrEverCheck

Some software interfaces with higher education institutions to automatically confirm the education requirements. For example, Michigan uses the software Accela, which interfaces with continuing education providers to automatically retrieve credentials and validate education requirements. Additionally, some state licensing boards are members of national associations that collect and maintain education and work experience for their member states.  For example, Connecticut’s Architectural Licensing Board is a member of the National Council of Architectural Registrations Board (NCARB). The applicant notifies the appropriate association to provide the individual’s record to the state. Then, the state board can securely access NCARB’s database to download records. See the table below for examples of state boards and their methods of third-party verification.

State Online Portal Software Method California – Board of Accounting (CBA) CPA License Online Application  Sent by institution – applicant must request transcripts be sent to the CBA Connecticut – Architectural Licensing Board and State Board of Landscape Architects ELicense Iron Data Solutions Sent by national association Florida – Barbers Online Services  Uploaded by applicant but must have signature of school official on portion verifying minimum education requirements Illinois State of Illinois | Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (  Uploaded by applicant Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Accela Interfaces directly with institutions to verify education credentials New Mexico – Counseling Apply Online  Exam scores sent by national association, other documents uploaded by applicant  Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing  Sent by institution – either sent online by institution or provided in a sealed envelope Vermont Vermont Office of Professional Regulation  Dependent on profession: sent by national board, institution or uploaded by applicant Washington Audiologist Apply Online :: Washington State Department of Health  Sent by institution 

This workforce product was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The product was created by the recipient and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership. This product is copyrighted by The Council of State Governments.

Inclusive Community College Career Pathways: COVID-19

This is the fourth of six installments in the series, “Inclusive Community College Career Pathways.” The last blog discussed the use of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles to make instructional content more accessible to students with disabilities.

In adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic, educational institutions have had to think critically about how to meet the unique and complex needs of students with disabilities. This means providing existing services, including accommodations and academic supports, and addressing additional challenges caused by the pandemic, such as technology access and mental distress.

The two Community College Pathways to Careers demonstration grants were able to adapt quickly to COVID-19, due to the strong foundations they had built around providing individualized support, delivering accessible content and services, and collaborating with community partners. By leveraging and enhancing these foundations, the projects were able to serve the many needs – academic, career and personal – of students with disabilities during the pandemic. States have developed a range of policies and programs to address these same needs.

Providing individualized support

From the start of the Pathways projects, Onondaga and Pellissippi State provided individualized career, academic and personal supports to students with disabilities. This included one-on-one coaching to help students develop personalized academic and career plans, and hands-on support to guide their progress.

During the pandemic, the projects developed strategies for continuing and expanding such supports. Pellissippi State’s two Career Specialists called students at least weekly to check in, answer questions and provide relevant reminders. In addition, project staff identified stressors that each student might be facing due to the pandemic and worked to address those concerns. Likewise, Onondaga provided technology support to students and sent frequent reminders to keep them on track with their academic and career goals.

Delivering accessible content and services

Both projects previously trained faculty and staff about the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which gave them a framework for creatively developing content and services that are accessible and delivered in multiple ways for diverse learners.

Amid the pandemic, Onondaga provided additional trainings and resources to help faculty and staff apply these lessons to new remote and hybrid conditions. Onondaga held a virtual two-hour course on UDL and online instructional design for faculty and staff and began to post UDL resources online. Pellissippi State trained staff across career and student support services to deliver career assessments virtually.

However, despite these efforts both projects struggled to provide the same level of services as before the pandemic. Staff from Pellissippi State found virtual workshops and coaching to be less effective than in-person engagement and noted that new students had a particularly hard time adapting. In addition, Onondaga cancelled its five-day UDL Academy for the summer of 2020 due to the pandemic.

Collaborating with community partners

The two projects previously built strong networks within their colleges and communities to address the wide-ranging needs of students with disabilities. This included making referrals to other support services on campus, partnering with local health providers and serving on local committees to address disability issues throughout the community.

The projects relied on these connections to address the needs of students with disabilities during COVID-19. Pellissippi State referred students to counseling services and worked closely with a local health provider to address student mental health concerns. Also, representatives from the college participated in community meetings and task forces to discuss the various challenges facing students with disabilities amidst the pandemic. Onondaga worked with their campus social services hub and community partners to provide additional aid to students to help pay bills and meet other material needs.

State examples and other resources

States have taken a range of approaches to serving the needs of students with disabilities throughout the pandemic. While most states have focused on supporting K-12 students, some have addressed college students specifically.

Many states, including Arizona, Maine and New Mexico, have developed resources to support educators regarding remote teaching.The Wisconsin Student Services Prevention and Wellness Team is holding weekly “Community of Practice” Zoom calls to guide student-service professionals – including school counselors, psychologists, and social workers – on supporting student mental health during school closures.North Carolina House Bill 1105 allocated $6.5 million to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina to fund scholarships for students with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, several organizations have produced resources that can guide state policymaker responses to COVID-19:

The Association on Higher Education and Disability’s COVID-19 Resources page includes webinars and other resources on supporting students with disabilities amid the pandemic.The Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research hosted a webinar on Supporting College Students with Mental Health Conditions in the Wake of COVID-19.CAPE-Youth has conducted research on the ways that all 50 states are adapting services to continue serving youth with disabilities throughout the pandemic.

Previous Inclusive Community College Career Pathways blogs:

OverviewAccessUniversal Design for Learning

Using Youth Leadership Programs to Improve Postsecondary Outcomes for Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities

In “Guideposts for Success: Framework for the Future,” the Center for Advancing Policy on Employment for Youth (CAPE-Youth) identifies youth development and leadership as one of five key domains of comprehensive support to achieve successful employment outcomes for youth and young adults with disabilities (Y&YAD). The framework is intended for policymakers and administrators interested in improving their state’s future workforce by strengthening the programs and services available to Y&YAD.


CAPE-Youth Releases Research Web Page

The Center for Advancing Policy on Employment for Youth (CAPE-Youth) is excited to announce the release of our new research web page

This page outlines opportunities to get involved with CAPE-Youth’s research initiatives on innovative policy and programmatic approaches to improving outcomes for youth and young adults with disabilities.  Input from policymakers, professionals and state agencies who serve youth and young adults is vital to these efforts.

Visit CAPE-Youth to learn how states are promoting workforce inclusion for more than 1.3 million 16–24-year-olds who have a disability. 

To learn more about CAPE-Youth and our publications, visit

Inclusive Community College Career Pathways: Career Services

This is the final installment of the Inclusive Community College Career Pathways blog series. Read the previous blogs here.

Systems of Support that Work Together

Colleges can collaborate with disability services, career services and community rehabilitation professionals to create customized supports that help students with disabilities find employment after finishing school. These supports include self-advocacy instruction, mentorship opportunities and tailored training and assistance. Together, customized supports help students develop skills to direct their own careers.

As part of their U.S. Department of Labor demonstration model grants, Onondaga Community College and Pellissippi State Community College offered customized supports to help students with disabilities build their confidence and success in the career development process. Supports included career assessments, goal-setting exercises, one-on-one counseling, group workshops and work-based learning experiences. The projects also aligned career supports with academic services, disability services and community partners to build coordinated systems of support for students with disabilities.

Supports that Lead to New Careers

Onondaga and Pellissippi State offered supports that addressed three key components of career development: (1) self-exploration, (2) career exploration skills and (3) career planning and management. The schools provided these supports through individual counseling, small group activities and campus-wide events. The projects also fostered student ownership of the process by encouraging them to identify their own work-based learning opportunities.

Onondaga offered one-on-one career and soft skills assessments to help students identify their employment interests, strengths and objectives. Students were then given a menu of opportunities, which included on-campus career fairs and job shadowing weeks, to advance their goals. The project also provided regular career readiness trainings for groups of students covering topics like choosing whether to disclose a disability to potential employers.

At Pellissippi State, project staff met weekly with students to help them pursue their career development goals. Career coaches helped students understand their career assessment and connected them with career readiness activities and work-based learning opportunities. Small group sessions covered topics like resume and cover letter writing, interviewing and self-introductions. The project also offered sessions specifically for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, covering interpersonal interactions, self-advocacy and other relevant topics.

Coordinated Services Are Stronger

The projects coordinated career services with other college and community services to develop stronger student support systems. This included collaborating with college academic and disability services, the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy’s Workforce Recruitment Program, and state vocational rehabilitation and workforce programs.

Onondaga integrated services on campus by placing disability and career services offices alongside one another and by adding a disability-specific staff member to the Career Center. The college also partnered with New York’s vocational rehabilitation agency, ACCESS-VR, to provide on-campus services for students with disabilities.

Pellissippi State career specialists served as case managers guiding students through the program, including coordinating weekly meetings with academic and career coaches. They also worked with instructors, coordinated documentation for students (such as accommodation requests) and served as the students’ primary point of contact.

State Examples

States can play a key role in supplementing and expanding the career supports provided at specific colleges. Below are examples of how states are providing or encouraging such support.

California Assembly Bill 504 requires community colleges to develop student equity plans in order to receive specific state funding. These plans must identify underrepresentation for specific categories of students (including those with disabilities) in access to, and completion of, basic skills, career technical education and workforce training. Community colleges must address any underrepresentation through the coordination of services using evidence-based practices.Delaware’s Supported Education at the Delaware Technical & Community College Program is a collaboration between the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Delaware Technical & Community College. It helps students with disabilities achieve objectives such as employment in their area of interest.

Previous Inclusive Community College Career Pathways Blogs:

OverviewAccessUniversal Design for LearningCOVID-19Work-Based Learning

CAPE-Youth Launches Apprenticeship Web Page

The Center for Advancing Policy on Employment for Youth (CAPE-Youth) is excited to announce the release of our new apprenticeship web page. This page offers examples of inclusive apprenticeships in states and resources for expanding diversity and inclusion in apprenticeship, such as recently published briefs from the Apprenticeship Inclusion Model (AIM).

Apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce and individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and a portable, nationally-recognized credential. Inclusive apprenticeships provide numerous benefits to states.

Visit CAPE-Youth to learn how states are promoting workforce inclusion for more than 1.3 million 16–24-year-olds who have a disability. 

To learn more about CAPE-Youth and our publications, visit

Inclusive Community College Career Pathways: Work-Based Learning

This is the fifth of six installments in the series, “Inclusive Community College Career Pathways.” It discusses how the U.S. Department of Labor Pathways to Careers demonstration grants developed and provided work-based learning (WBL) experiences to prepare students with disabilities to join the workforce.

Work-based learning prepares youth with disabilities for work

Work-based learning (WBL) refers to real-world work experiences that allow youth and young adults to strengthen their employability skills. It can take many forms, including service learning, job shadowing, job tours, pre-apprenticeships, internships and summer jobs.

WBL plays a key role in preparing youth with disabilities to find and maintain work as adults. It can help them build their workplace confidence, identify and explore strengths and interests, develop hard and soft job skills, build their resumes and expand their professional networks. WBL experiences can even become full-time jobs.

WBL in the Pathways Projects

The U.S. Department of Labor Community College Pathways to Careers demonstration grants at Pellissippi State Community College in Tennessee and Onondaga Community College in New York provided various WBL experiences to help students with disabilities prepare for employment after college.

At Pellissippi State, students developed increasingly ambitious WBL goals in individualized student contracts. Staff supported students as they progressed from job shadowing to internships. Students also took progressively greater responsibility in arranging their WBL experiences so that by their third year they took the lead in finding their own internships with minimal assistance from project staff. By taking on greater responsibility arranging and engaging in WBL opportunities, students developed confidence and skills to find and maintain work after college.

Onondaga also provided several WBL experiences to students. The project held a job shadowing week and arranged a series of job site visits, informational interviews, internships and practicums. These opportunities were listed in a “student menu,” which students could use to identify and engage in WBL experiences that corresponded with their career goals.

Engaging employers

The two projects engaged and built strong networks with local employers to develop these WBL opportunities. They focused on developing WBL experiences that varied in intensity and scope and mapped to the majors, credentials and interests of their students. In addition, they collaborated with local employer networks as well as individual businesses and public-sector agencies to identify and develop WBL opportunities.

At Pellissippi State, business liaisons, career coaches and students reached out to businesses to develop and expand WBL opportunities. Pellissippi State worked with its local Employment Consortium to identify WBL opportunities and to educate businesses about hiring individuals with disabilities. The project also developed an employer toolkit to educate companies about disability etiquette and accommodations.

Onondaga engaged with the Central New York Employment Network to identify WBL partners. They focused on finding businesses across the nine industry tracks that students were pursuing and created a digital tool to organize this information. Onondaga also developed a brochure to educate employers about the advantages of hosting WBL experiences for students with disabilities.

Lessons learned

Onondaga and Pellissippi State encountered early challenges securing enough WBL opportunities and developed strategies to encourage more employers to host WBL experiences.

The project teams needed to take multiple approaches to engaging employers. Some businesses readily agreed to host WBL experiences for students, while other employers were more reluctant. Project staff learned to develop champions by first asking for small commitments (such as doing informational interviews with students) and eventually asking for bigger commitments (such as hosting interns).

The project teams further realized they yielded greater results by framing the initiative like other WBL programs, rather than as a disability-specific program. They focused on conveying the value of hiring credentialed, well-qualified candidates. This allowed students to disclose their disability if they chose and to practice asking for accommodations, if needed.

State examples

All states offer WBL experiences to youth with disabilities as a component of Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS), which state Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies are required to provide to students eligible or potentially eligible for VR services. Below are a few examples of state WBL programs offered in a college setting.

Florida’s Postsecondary Comprehensive Transition Program provides grants to help institutions develop “inclusive and experiential postsecondary education” opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities, which include internships, work-based learning and employment opportunities.Louisiana’s Postsecondary Apprenticeship for Youth (PAY Check) is a three- to five-semester program that allows students with disabilities to take classes at a community college and gain employment experience through paid internships or apprenticeships.Nebraska’s Certificate Programs allow students to take community college classes, tour businesses, and work part-time or participate in an internship with employer partners.

Previous Inclusive Community College Career Pathways Blogs:

OverviewAccessUniversal Design for LearningCOVID-19

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Rule to Increase Minimum Wage for Federal Contract Employees

By Abeer Sikder, Policy Analyst

On November 24, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor published a final rule that increases the hourly minimum wage to $15 for federal contract employees beginning January 30, 2022, up from the current rate of $10.95 per hour. The rule also eliminates the exemption for federal contractors with disabilities to be paid less than the minimum wage.

Additionally, the rule eliminates the tipped minimum wage for federal contract employees by 2024, meaning federal contract employers will be required to pay the full minimum wage to employees – not counting tips – at restaurants and other businesses. The order also restores minimum wage protections to outfitters and guides operating on federal lands. 

The Department’s ruling can lead to future pay increases (starting January 1, 2023), which will be determined by the Secretary of Labor based on rates of price increases throughout the economy. (The rule continues to index the federal contractor minimum wage in future years to inflation.)

The rule also implements Executive Order 14026, signed by President Biden on April 27, 2021. “Executive Order 14026 states that the Federal Government’s procurement interests in economy and efficiency are promoted when the Federal Government contracts with sources that adequately compensate their workers. The Executive Order raises the minimum wage paid by those contractors to workers performing work on or in connection with covered federal contracts to $15.00 per hour.” The EO applies to all new federal contracts, as well as renewals and extensions of existing federal contracts in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and specified territories.

In recent years – and especially in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic – many Americans have called for increased pay to support essential workers, maintain standards of living and improve the economy for traditionally marginalized populations, such as the BIPOC population (black, indigenous and people of color) and individuals with disabilities.

The goals of the wage increase are to raise worker productivity, reduce employee turnover and absenteeism, and decrease recruiting and training costs. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh stated that the adjustment to $15 per hour “improves the economic security of these workers and their families, many of whom are women and people of color” and “ensures that the federal government leads by example” in creating good jobs across the country.  

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates this new increase will provide a wage boost for hundreds of thousands of employees working under federal contracts, and annual pay increases of thousands of dollars for low wage federal contractors. It comes after movements in states and localities throughout the nation to increase the minimum wage.

The rule also clarifies that workers with disabilities whose wages are governed by special certificates issued under section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (subminimum wages) must receive no less than $15 minimum wage for work on federal contracts, effective January 30, 2022. Section 14(c) does not apply unless the disability actually impairs the worker’s earning or productive capacity for the work being performed. The fact that a worker may have a disability is not in and of itself sufficient to warrant the payment of a subminimum wage.  

It should be noted that fourteen states have prohibited or are phasing out subminimum wages for employees with disabilities through legislation or executive order. In 2018, Alaska eliminated subminimum wages for workers with disabilities. Earlier this year, Hawaii repealed the “disability subminimum wage” for employees in the state. Minnesota recently established a task force on eliminating subminimum wages by August 2025.

Review these links for more information about the new minimum wage increase:

U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh on The Federal Contractor Minimum WageSecretary Walsh stands with workers in Alabama to announce final rule to raise minimum wage to $15 for federal contract workersUS Department of Labor announces final rule to increase minimum wage for workers on federal contractsPresident Biden’s Executive Order on Increasing the Minimum Wage

Review these links for minimum wage guidance for workers with disabilities:

Employment of Workers with DisabilitiesSubminimum WageState Subminimum Wage Policy

Review these links for examples of states increasing their minimum wage:

D.C. Minimum Wage Increase24 U.S. States Will See a Minimum Wage Increase in 2021

Review these links for background information about minimum wage:

State Minimum Wage LawsHistory of U.S. Minimum Wage LawWage and Hour Division | U.S. Department of Labor

National Apprenticeship Week

By: Chip O’Connell

The seventh annual National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) takes place November 15-21, 2021. NAW is a nationwide celebration where industry, labor, workforce, education and government leaders host events to showcase the successes and value of Registered Apprenticeships for re-building our economy, advancing equity and supporting underserved communities.

Apprenticeships are employer-driven programs that provide hands-on technical training for individuals seeking new skills and employment. Training and instruction are tailored to help the apprentice master skills needed to succeed in a specific occupation. Apprenticeship is a high-quality career pathway, with 92% of apprentices retaining employment in their field and earning an average starting salary of $72,000. Employers utilize these programs to train new employees as well as reskill their existing employees to meet changing demands, resulting in a steady pool of qualified workers. These programs also benefit state governments by lowering unemployment rates and attracting new industries. The Job Corps website contains examples of apprenticeships from programs in industries ranging from automotive and machine repair to homeland security.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has taken several steps to increase inclusion and accessibility in apprenticeship programs. According to DOL, between 2017 and 2019 the number of apprentices who identify as having a disability increased 550%.  Research shows that participation in apprenticeship programs produces a number of benefits for students with disabilities, including experience, employability skills and nationally recognized credentials. An apprenticeship can be a viable career pathway for more than 1.3 million young people with a disability between the ages of 16 and 24.

States are increasingly enacting policies engineered to increase the inclusion and engagement of youth with disabilities in apprenticeship programs. Below are a few examples:

New Jersey’s Youth Transition to Work (YTTW) Program provides multiple financial incentives for employers hiring youth apprentices, with an emphasis on targeted industries such as health care, information technology or public service.Louisiana’s Postsecondary Apprenticeship Pilot for Youth (PAY Check) is a three-to-five semester program that allows transition age youth with disabilities to take classes at Delgado Community College related to specific apprenticeship areas, participate in career development activities, learn community and work skills, and gain employment experience through a paid apprenticeship at the University Medical Center.Oregon’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Plan specifically outlines identified issues and how agencies can strategize to make apprenticeships more inclusive and useful in the state.

Apprenticeship programs are a proven way for individuals to discover exciting career pathways and for states to secure employment for their workforces. Be sure to check out National Apprenticeship Week events happening near you