December 22, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 22, 2015
Media Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 207-621-5009
AUGUSTA—The Maine Department of Labor is pleased to announce the appointment of Karen Fraser as the Director of the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services. For the past several months, Fraser has served in that capacity as acting director. The bureau works to bring about full access to employment, independence and community integration for people with disabilities, http://www.maine.gov/rehab/ .
Fraser joined the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services in 2003 and has been working with people with disabilities for over thirty years in a variety of roles. In 2008, she was chosen as the Department of Labor’s Manager of the Year. Her past experience includes providing technical assistance to employers and social service agencies, instruction to community rehabilitation personnel, oversight of accreditation and quality assurance activities and managing daily operations.
She holds a B.A. in Social Work from the University of Maine and a Master’s in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of New Haven in Connecticut.
“Karen previously served as the Director of the Division for System Improvement and Quality Assurance within the bureau, so she has a great deal of understanding about regulations and our organization,” said Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette. “Her background will help both the bureau and the department transition to the new federal workforce development regulations under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. We are delighted to make this appointment permanent.”
Fraser expressed her enthusiasm about taking on this larger role. “This is a demanding time for BRS, but a great opportunity to assist Maine residents with disabilities in living more independently and gaining work in their communities,” she said. “I’m pleased to take on this leadership role to help our team meet these new challenges.”
Fraser’s position is effective immediately.
The Department of Labor administers Maine’s unemployment insurance system, helps ensure the safety of employees and provides workforce development leadership and vocational rehabilitation services throughout the state. The department focuses on connecting Mainers to jobs and helping businesses create jobs through strengthening our workforce development system, improving outreach to businesses and clarifying employment regulations.