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STATEMENT: Maine’s New Union-Led Unemployment Insurance Navigator Program Is a Model for Other States

Washington, D.C. — Today, Maine Gov. Janet Mill (D) signed into law a bill that will reform the state’s unemployment insurance program. The legislation includes provisions to create a new “peer workforce navigator program” to help the jobless access unemployment benefits and reemployment services. Following the bill signing, David Madland, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:

Maine is helping to ensure that jobless workers actually receive the unemployment insurance benefits and reemployment help they need and deserve. The peer navigator program is a model for other states. Jobless workers shouldn’t have to tackle the unemployment insurance system alone.

Research shows that only one-third of jobless workers access unemployment benefits, and participation rates are even lower among workers of color and those with fewer years of education. Unions have a long track record of boosting sign-up rates and closing participation gaps among their members. Now, Mainers will benefit from the assistance of unions and other worker organizations that have experience working with the labor department and advocating for workers

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