July 2, 2007
Augusta- Maine Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman today applauded recent efforts by members of Maine’s congressional delegation to support a national rollout of the Lifelong Learning Accounts (LiLAs) initiative.
“I commend the work of Senator Snowe and Congressman Allen in introducing legislation to make this important benefit available to workers throughout the country,” said Fortman.
LiLAs are employer matched, portable individual savings accounts that are used to help finance a worker’s education and training. Maine recently became the first state to offer the program, which lowers barriers to higher education for adult workers and assists Maine employers in upgrading the skills of their workforce.
“The LiLA initiative is helping Maine workers and employers access the education and training they need to remain competitive in a changing economy,” Fortman said.
Maine began enrolling employers in the program last year and 13 employers to date have signed up and are offering the benefit to workers. LiLAs were recently highlighted by the Maine Compact for Higher Education as an employment best at Thomaston-based Ask…For Home Health Care. The company implemented the program last year to help improve the skills of the workforce in order to increase the quality of service provided to customers. Ask…For Home Health Care also expects LiLAs to help improve recruitment and retention of employees in the highly competitive health care market.
The Lifelong Learning Accounts model was developed by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning and the Maine initiative was sponsored by Governor Baldacci’s Workforce Cabinet. The program is funded in part by grants awarded to the state by the Ford Foundation and the U.S. Department of Labor.
For more information about the Lifelong Learning Accounts Program, please call (207) 623-7975 (TTY: 1-800-794-1110) or go online to: www.mainelilas.org.