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Labor Dept. releases new employee FAQ -- in Samoan

  • Author: Megan Edge
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published June 12, 2015

In an effort to reach Alaska's diverse workforce, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development is releasing new employee FAQ sheets for multiple languages. The first one released was in Samoan.

"As Alaska becomes more and more diverse, Commissioner Drygas has encouraged us to reach out and provide some of our basic information to more and more of the different cultures in their own language," said Joseph Dunham of state Department of Labor.

According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders, a group which includes Samoans, make up 1.2 percent of Alaska's population -- and 2.3 percent of the population in Anchorage, 0.4 percent in Fairbanks and 1 percent in Juneau.

In a statement accompanying the release, the Labor Department said the state's Pacific Islander population has more than doubled in the past 10 years.

"Alaskans have the same minimum wage, overtime pay, and other labor rights regardless of the languages we speak," Commissioner Heidi Drygas said in the statement.

The FAQ sheet is available online and at the agency's offices in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau.

Dunham said they hope to have FAQ brochures in Spanish and Korean available in two weeks. The census data shows Alaska's Hispanic population is 6.6 percent of the population, and Asian residents make up 5.8 percent.

There are no current plans for FAQ sheets in Alaska Native languages, but Dunham said it is "worth looking into." Alaska Native residents make up 14.7 percent of the state's population.

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