Study documents Native groups' economic impact

Companies provide about 2,750 jobs and $300 million in wages.

Associated PressJune 13, 2012 

FAIRBANKS -- Dozens of Native organizations in Alaska's Interior account for a large chunk of the local economy, according to a study.

In 2010, the more than 70 Native organizations provided an economic impact of more than $300 million in wages and provided about 2,750 jobs, according to the report paid for by five Native organizations.

The study conducted by Fairbanks-based Information Insights concludes that the region's Native organizations are the fifth-largest employer in the Interior and those wages make up about 7 percent of all civilian wages, says Tuesday's Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Aaron Schutt, the CEO and President of Doyon Limited, a for-profit Native corporation that employs thousands of people, said the findings amount to a concrete recognition of the significant economic role Native organizations, both for-profit and nonprofit, play in the Interior.

"If you combine our spending, it's quite significant here in Fairbanks," he said at a news conference Monday at Doyon's headquarters in downtown Fairbanks.

Fairbanks Native Association Executive Director Steve Ginnis said the report should be a wake-up call for politicians and government officials that the Native community is a key part of the community and should be treated fairly.

"My whole hope in this study is to reach out to the community and the people of the community to recognize the significance of our contribution to this economy," he said.

Schutt said it is a misconception that Native organizations hire only Native.

At Doyon, which is made up of multiple companies with work in the oil and gas industry, just 500 of the companies' nearly 3,000 employees are Native shareholders and, in all, 75 percent of the corporation's employees are non-Native, he said.

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