Bluesky presents FCC with a clean slate in its hiring practices
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — “There are no pending or resolved complaints involving Bluesky filed during the past five years alleging unlawful discrimination in the company’s employment practices,” declared Justin Tuiasosopo, chief executive officer of AST Telecom LLC, d/b/a Bluesky in its filing with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The locally based privately owned telecom provider filed on Nov. 17 a 34-page response to the FCC Enforcement Bureau’s 2022 Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Audit. Bluesky was among the providers in the U.S randomly selected for the audit.
Tuiasosopo informed the FCC that Bluesky currently has 94 full-time employees; 88% of the company’s workforce is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 7% is Asian and 4% is multi-racial.
Additionally, the company’s workforce comprises 25% females and 48% males.
“Bluesy... is proud of its commitment to following hiring policies and practices that not only prevent any discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender or age, but [has] also proactively ensured that the Company has a diverse workforce,” Tuiasosopo explained.
On the issue of “Recruitment Initiatives” from the FCC audit questions, Bluesky pointed out that the territory’s population — from the 2020 Census — is 49,719. And fits the definition of “smaller market” in accordance with FCC rules, Bluesky is required to perform one initiative within a 12-month period — pursuant to a provision of FCC rules.
The FCC was also informed that outreach community programs were reduced since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, ASG declared a public health state of emergency and mandated certain protective measures to prevent the spread of COVID.
Furthermore, around Feb. 21 this year, ASG officially declared Code Red in the territory because of the community spread of COVID-19. And much of the mandates on public and private sector business were restrictive to minimize social interactions and community events such as job fairs at the high school levels and community colleges, career days, apprenticeship programs, etc.
Documents submitted by Bluesky with its filing, also provided a summary of examples pertaining to the company’s “recruitment initiatives” between Oct. 01, 2021 and Sept. 30, 2022 — the reporting period mandated by the FCC.
For example, the Bluesky Future of American Samoa Scholarship, which offers financial assistance to high school graduates pursuing their AA degree at the local community college or at an accredited college or university in the U.S. Students must major in a field that is relevant to Bluesky’s line of business.
One of the scholarship recipients returned back to American Samoa after graduating from Harvard University and she was offered an internship within Bluesky’s Marketing and Business Process Management departments, according to Bluesky.
Another recruitment initiative, held between May 2021 and May this year was with the American Samoa Community College, for which Bluesky initiated a summer internship program for students who are interested in technology fields relevant to Bluesky’s business. Bluesky hired two interns from the ASCC Computer Science Department during 2021 to 2022.
Bluesky also participated in the ASG’s Department of Human Resources Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) this year. Bluesky took in eight participants from the program and placed them in the Customer Service, Sales, Human Resources, Finance, Retail Sales, Marketing and Technical departments. “Each student gained valuable work experiences during the summer,” the company explained.
Regarding the company’s “Analysis of Its Recruitment Program” — an issue raised by the FCC audit, Tuiasosopo explained that Bluesky undertakes periodic assessments concerning the effectiveness of its recruitment program in meeting the hiring needs. This analysis includes a focus on achieving broad outreach, since Bluesky is committed to managing its recruitment program in a manner that advances its EEO policies.
In addition, “ensuring the scope of the recruitment program achieves a broad outreach throughout the pool of prospective employees has the further benefit of advancing the Company’s goals concerning the hiring of individuals who will advance the Company’s overall business objectives and goals.”
Bluesky also response to the issue of “Analysis of Its EEO Policies and Employment Practices” saying that the company’s Employee Handbook is reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that Company policies and practices comply with local and federal EEO as well as employment laws.
According to Bluesky, the annual review focuses on a range of policies and practices — including seniority, promotions, pay, benefits, selection techniques and tests — for the purpose of ensuring and confirming that these policies and practices provide all Company employees with equal opportunity, and do not have any discriminatory effect.
Also provided for the FCC — as well separate documents — are Bluesky responses to:
• “Most recent EEO Program Information” for the period of Oct. 01, 2021 through Sept. 30, 2022 and the information is also available on the company’s website (www.bluesky.as/careers);
• Copies of Advertisements and Similar Communications, announcing positions available. Additionally, Bluesky partnered with ASG and the American Samoa Community College on their employment training programs; and
• Total number of interviewees for each vacancy, and the referral source for each interviewee for all full-time vacancies filled by Bluesky.
In accordance with provisions of federal law, and FCC rules, the FCC annually audits the EEO programs of randomly selected broadcast licensees and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs). And each year, approximately five percent of all broadcast stations and MVPDs are selected, according to FCC (with more details on www.fcc.gov).