Laura Fortman Submitted photo

DAMARISCOTTA — Skidompha Library’s Chats with Champions program is set to welcome Laura Fortman, commissioner of Maine Department of Labor at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 19.

Fortman will present an illustrated talk about looking toward the future of Maine’s labor force in Porter Hall, use the library’s Elm Street entrance.

She will speak about current trends in Maine’s labor market, innovative hiring practices, and what the Department of Labor is seeing and doing within the world of work, according to a news release from Jeannette Eaton, director of communications and online programming at the library.

Since her appointment in 2019 by Gov. Janet Mills, Fortman has led the Department of Labor through the COVID crisis toward Maine’s future. With its 500-person staff, the department works to help employers recruit and train a talented workforce, provide workers with the skills they need, assist individuals when jobs are lost, ensure safe and fair workplaces, and research employment data to support job growth.

Fortman has served as a senior executive at both the federal and state level, working to protect workers’ rights and ensure they have access to jobs that allow them to support themselves and their families.

Previously she served as commissioner of Maine Department of Labor from 2003-10 under Gov. John Baldacci. She was appointed by President Barack Obama as deputy administrator of the Wage and Hour Division at the United States Department of Labor, where she served from 2013-2017.

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From 2011 to 2013, Fortman was the executive director of the Frances Perkins Center in Damariscotta, where she celebrated the legacy of former Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, who led the way for the Fair Labor Standards Act.

As the executive director of Maine Women’s Lobby for over a decade, Fortman advocated for low-income women and their families and led efforts to end sexual assault, domestic violence and discrimination.

There will be time to ask questions. Masks are optional. Skidompha has invested in its ventilation system, and air quality and exchange have been significantly improved.

Chats with Champions is a free community offering. Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shops sponsors this program.

For more information, call the library at 207-887-0919.

 

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