In April (2022), the Tennessee State Senate voted twenty to seven, passing the Workforce Expansion Bill (SB2464), sponsored by Republican State Senator Shane Reeves of Murfreesboro. The Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition reported the historic bill was passed with bipartisan support.
On Friday, July 1, the bill sponsored by Reeves became law. According to the newly implemented changes, the laws now allow certain immigrants to obtain licensure in their desired specialty or trade.
DETAILS: What is called the Workforce Expansion law is now in effect. Certain immigrants, such as DACA recipients, and anyone who has a federally authorized work permit, will now be able to obtain Tennessee professional and commercial licenses in their desired specialty or trade under the Workforce Expansion law. Over 10,000 people in Tennessee, including 7,000+ DACA recipients, will benefit from this law.
"I got into nursing school at Lipscomb in 2015, however, I was unsure if I would even be able to pursue this career. Because of this, I ended up not pursuing nursing school. I still wanted to finish school so I decided to pursue social work. I graduated in May 2019 with a social work degree. I decided to go back to school last summer in 2021 to pursue my Master's degree to become a therapist. Despite all the sacrifices and challenges me and my parents faced, I had no idea that I could not access my professional license. Today that changes. I am grateful for this victory as it will allow me, allow us, all the young professionals, to continue pursuing our dreams, our parents' dreams, and for the future generation of professionals. I will be graduating in December of this year and will be applying to obtain my professional license to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). - Laura Lara, Master's students, University of Tennessee - Knoxville
"For years, we have heard from immigrant students and families facing the difficult question of whether to leave their home in Tennessee in order to pursue their careers. This law is something that thousands have been pushing and waiting for. So many young people across the state have been going to school, apprenticeship programs, and working to develop their skills only to be met with a giant wall preventing them from furthering their career goals.
This law will open doors for thousands of Tennesseans who are working to pursue their dreams and further their careers. This is a step forward and a victory for all of Tennesseeans, for our state's economic and workforce recovery efforts, and for immigrants who love to call Tennessee home." - Luis Mata, Policy Coordinator, TIRRC and TIRRC Votes.
See previous news story on this subject HERE.
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