Labor mobility is a fact of modern life, and it’s not a new one. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans born between 1957 and 1964 held more than 11 different jobs between the ages of 18 and 48. Furthermore, older workers leaving long-term jobs end up back in the workforce more often than not. Of Canadians who exited a long-term job at age 55 to 59, 60% were reemployed within the next 10 years. Within all that reemployment and job-changing, professionals cross geographic boundaries—states, provinces, even international borders.
Social work licensing needs to keep up with that movement. While regulation must stay grounded in the commitment to public protection–ensuring that social workers are competent to practice and providing recourse for clients who are harmed by social work–the process of moving from one state or province to another can be simplified.
By working towards license portability and practice mobility, social work regulators can ensure public protection in a highly mobile labor environment. By facilitating professionals moving among states and provinces, social work regulators can increase the availability of licensed, competent social workers to the population they are required to protect.