Approximately 77 million Americans, or 1 in 3 adults, have a criminal record. Having a criminal record can make it difficult, or even impossible, for an individual to work in a given field, especially one that requires an occupational license. In 2014, employment barriers faced by people with felony convictions including occupational licensing and other challenges, such as lower levels of education and job skills were associated with a reduction in the overall employment rate.
While occupational licensing can create hurdles for certain workers, individuals with criminal records can face additional challenges finding and maintaining employment—a critical aspect of reducing recidivism. Individuals with criminal records face many barriers to licensure including both those codified in federal and state law as well as implicit biases.