Washington, D.C. — Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) announces the launch of “Chasing Work,” a storytelling campaign featuring the real-life struggles that American workers face due to unnecessary or burdensome work regulations, including occupational licensing. 

“Chasing Work” brings to life the need to reduce government-imposed barriers to work in fields like nursing, social work, nutrition, and other industries. It also highlights how states have recently rolled back various licensing requirements to expand the number of medical professionals who can support healthcare systems overwhelmed by the novel coronavirus.

Carrie Lukas, president of Independent Women’s Forum, said, “The COVID-19 crisis has put the issue of occupational licensing front and center. Hospitals in hotspots like New York and New Jersey have been inundated with cases, leaving their workforce understaffed, overworked, and fatigued. Thankfully, nurses and doctors from around the country have been able to heed the SOS for help because dozens of states fast-tracked licensing for professionals from other regions.”

“We’ve also seen states expand access to telehealth and telemental health, expand the services that qualified professionals can perform, and suspend regulations so that they could expand the number of beds at medical facilities without costly and time-consuming red tape. 

“Relaxing these regulations during this time of crisis was necessary. Policymakers should make them permanent so that states are ready for the next pandemic and so that more people have the opportunity to find work at this difficult time.”   

Patrice Onwuka, senior policy analyst at IWF, added: 

“Americans want to work, and government should not needlessly stand in their way. The regulatory reforms that have been put in place to deal with COVID-19 are encouraging– but they are only temporary. And what about regulations in other occupations that only serve to hold back willing and passionate workers from employment?  “With 22 million unemployed Americans, states should be looking for ways to remove the barriers that make it difficult to obtain jobs and start businesses. Massage therapists to preschool teachers to personal trainers face varying requirements for licensure, and many of those requirements aren’t even germane to the work they actually do. The regulations simply serve to keep out new competition.

“There are also work policies that simply kill opportunities for enterprising individuals under the guise of worker protections. “Chasing Work” brings the human costs of all of these unnecessary work regulations to life.”  

To learn more about “Chasing Work” and view the personal stories, visit www.iwf.org/chasing-work.