Villa advances measure to remove language barriers for licensing exams

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Karina Villa advanced a measure that would secure reasonable accommodations during licensure examinations for individuals whose primary language is not English.

“We should remove hurdles that prevent individuals from seeking licensure when there is a need in our communities for more behavioral health professionals,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “Instead, we should empower individuals who are pursuing these professions.”

House Bill 5457 would codify accommodations that the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is required to provide under the Americans with Disabilities Act for individuals whose primary language is not English. The measure would apply to licensure exams for social workers, marriage and family therapists, and professional counselors.

“As a school social worker in my hometown of West Chicago, it became clear that our communities need access to professionals who speak their language,” said Villa. “Social workers, counselors and therapists guide individuals through extremely sensitive situations. It is critical that people seeking services do not experience a language barrier when connecting with these professionals.”

House Bill 5457 passed the Senate Licensed Activities Committee on Wednesday.