Valentino named chair of workforce committee
AUGUSTA- Senator Linda Valentino has been appointed by Senate President Justin Alfond as the Senate chair of the Legislature's Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future.
“It was rewarding to serve on this committee last session with all that we accomplished for the people of this state,” said Senator Valentino of Saco. “It is truly a privilege to have the opportunity to chair this committee and I look forward to continuing this work.”
Senate President Justin Alfond’s policy priority of strengthening Maine’s workforce, downtowns, and small businesses, the Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future was formed at the start of the First Regular Session of the 126th Legislature in January.
During the session, the workforce committee traveled across the state meeting with, and hearing from, economic and workforce experts, employers and business owners, higher education officials, and workers. With the information gathered from these and other public hearings, the committee created first-of-its kind workforce legislation in Maine that received unanimous support from the bipartisan committee.
The legislation, now law, moves Maine forward in closing the state’s skills gap. The law creates new degree programs in high-demand, high-wage fields as well as expanding existing programs such as nursing, so as to reduce the backlog of enrollment wait lists. The measure also creates a scholarship fund for Mainers who started postsecondary education degree programs, but have not yet completed their degree, and creates a first-ever uniform and seamless credit transfer system to reduce the need for students to repeat classes when transferring. Additionally, the measure restores funding for the Maine Apprenticeship Program.
“Tasked with strengthening Maine’s workforce and economic future, the committee was a shining example of what can happen when lawmakers from both sides of the aisle work together,” added Senator Valentino.
Senator Valentino has a strong history of working to improve Maine’s economy and to support small businesses. She previously served as the Commissioner of the Maine Liquor and Lottery Commission, and on both the Maine State Legislature’s Joint Standing Committees on Taxation and on Appropriations and Financial Affairs. She also has sponsored legislation over her nine years in the State Legislature to support Maine businesses including a measure this session to expand and improve the Seed Capital Tax Credit Program.
In her new role as Senate Chair, Senator Valentino started working with the Senate President and other committee members to determine the issues they will focus on nextand to formulate a work plan going forward.
Senator Valentino is serving her first term in the Senate and has previously served four terms in the House.