The Platte Institute is rolling out its Strong Jobs Nebraska initiative.
The goal is to ease what it calls the burdensome requirements for licensure in the state, which CEO Jim Vokal says is costing the state jobs.
“Nebraska is extremely uncompetitive when we look at other states that we compete with, that we border with,” Vokal tells Nebraska Radio Network. “If we look at their regulatory or occupational licensing requirements, they’re reasonable, they’re keeping their public safe. This is just a matter of Nebraska being much more stringent, very unnecessarily.”
Vokal says they are looking at approximately 200 jobs in Nebraska that require a government license to see what regulations can be eased.
The Platte Institute will unveil a legislative package next month that Vokal says will take on industries that are trying to protect the status quo.
“We’ll have the opportunity to get up there and say this is about competition and they don’t want additional competition coming into their marketplace,” he says. “That’s unfair, it’s sad, and it doesn’t help the public. It certainly doesn’t help these other folks who are trying to make a living.”
The initiative’s launch featured several Nebraskans whose careers have been stymied by licensing requirements.
Connie Young practices reflexology, but the state is requiring her to get a massage therapist license, which means hundreds of hours of additional training.
“[Reflexology] is not massage. We don’t work on muscles. We work on nerves and nerve endings,” Young tells Nebraska Radio Network. “For me, it’s a principle that we shouldn’t have to have a massage license when you’re trained in reflexology already.”
Young has decided to move from Omaha to Indiana, her home state, which does not require a license for reflexology.