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Barriers Push Small Business Owner to Leave Nebraska

Connie Young provided these remarks at the Strong Jobs Nebraska launch event on December 13, 2016 at the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln.

My name is Connie Young, and I practice a form of therapy called reflexology. It’s one of the methods commonly taught in massage therapy schools, but it is not, in itself, massage therapy.

I also have a master’s degree for teaching writing, but because I had such a passion for helping people through the healing arts, I used my income from teaching to help start a home-based reflexology business in Omaha over the last 12 years. I have received professional training in reflexology, but even more importantly, I’ve built a list of clients in the area who have been very happy with my work.

Though I didn’t know this when I moved to Nebraska and started practicing, eventually, it was brought to my attention that reflexology licensing in Nebraska is actually lumped together with massage therapy. In order to practice reflexology, you have to be licensed for massage therapy, even if you don’t plan to practice massage.

Taking 1,000 expensive hours of massage therapy training, when only a small part of it would be related to my profession, was not going to be a practical option for me. Since I had received a cease-and-desist letter from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services demanding that I stop reflexology services under the threat of a felony charge, I moved my business to Council Bluffs, Iowa, which has no licensing requirement.

This change has still created a lot of financial difficulty for me. Most of my regular clients didn’t feel comfortable hopping on the interstate to come see me on a regular basis in Iowa.

As a result, I have lost substantial income; in addition to the overhead costs I’ve assumed setting up shop outside my home. It’s because of this burden that I have decided that it would be best for me to leave Nebraska.

I currently have an offer on my home in Omaha and I am planning to move to Indiana, which is where I was born. In Indiana, like most states, reflexology is not lumped in with massage therapy licensing.

In fact, because reflexology only deals with using my hands to apply pressure to my client’s feet and hands, most states do not require any occupational license to practice it. This includes all of the states surrounding Nebraska, according to the Reflexology Association of America.

Even though I am leaving Nebraska, it’s so important to me for Strong Jobs Nebraska to succeed in providing Occupational Licensing Reform for all working Nebraskans. I care deeply about the work I do and I want to make sure nobody else with the same passion and purpose has to goes through what I had to.

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