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Universities of Wisconsin, DSPS partner to facilitate faster licensing

The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) and the Universities of Wisconsin announced an agreement today that will allow the Universities to help facilitate the occupational licensing process for their students entering health care fields.

“Wisconsin is in a war for talent. It is real and it is urgent,” Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman said during the announcement at UW-Milwaukee. “This collaboration has so much potential for the graduates in these high-demand fields at UW-Milwaukee and all of the 13 Universities of Wisconsin.”

The agreement involves use of the LicensE Educator Access Portal (LEAP), a new tool that gives the Universities limited access to LicensE, the online occupational licensing system DSPS launched last year.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations with a lot of different groups over the past year about how we can safely bring innovations and efficiencies into our licensing processes, and this idea is one that makes sense for all involved,” said DSPS Secretary-designee Dan Hereth.

Representatives from the Universities will be able to log in to LicensE and view student rosters, verify graduation dates, verify program completion, and generally monitor their students’ progression through the licensing process. LEAP also allows the Universities to save time by notifying DSPS of graduation through a “batch” process for each graduating class, instead of the previous process of attaching a statement of graduation for each of their students applying for a professional license.

DSPS piloted the LEAP tool at nursing schools, including the UW-Milwaukee School of Nursing, and is now expanding it to all health-related programs across Universities of Wisconsin campuses.

“The key is the ability for students to transition to become a licensed professional with as few barriers as quickly as possible,” said UW-Milwaukee College of Health Professions and Sciences Dean Kim Litwack. “More than 80% of graduates from UWM stay in the state of Wisconsin, so there’s benefit for our students, their families, Wisconsin employers and Wisconsin citizens.”

“Just last week our Board of Regents approved a proposal asking the legislature to release $32 million in state funding to help grow the number of graduates in four high-demand fields, including nursing and health care,” President Rothman explained. “If this funding is approved by the Joint Finance Committee, we anticipate expanding our capacity to educate nearly 2,400 more nurses across Wisconsin in the next five years. So, this new portal could not come at a better time for the Universities of Wisconsin.”

DSPS has taken several steps to upgrade its licensing processes since Gov. Evers appointed Hereth to lead the department last August. Those include streamlining the licensing of dentists and pharmacists, expanding opportunities to take trades exams, working with other states on data-sharing agreements to speed up licensing for those moving to Wisconsin, and investing in technology that improves processes. According to the DSPS performance dashboards, Occupational Licensing: By the Numbers, the average time for the department to review new application submissions for a health license is currently 3 calendar days. That means a qualified applicant who submits all necessary documentation and meets all legal requirements can expect to have their license approved in a matter of days.