PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — With unemployment in Maine hovering around 7 percent, a forum on joblessness is being held at the University of Southern Maine.

Organizers say Wednesday evening’s event comes as some political leaders suggest that unemployed workers are at least partially responsible for their own plight and have advocated erecting barriers to unemployment benefits or cutting them.

The forum at USM’s Portland campus will explore what organizers call Maine’s continuing unemployment crisis. Forum panelists will look back at labor history and forward to where this problem may lead. The state Labor Department says Maine’s latest unemployment rate is 7 percent.

The forum will be led by former Maine Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman and is co-sponsored by the Frances Perkins Center, League of Young Voters, Working America and other groups.