California Awards US$9.1 Million to Boost Multilingual Accessibility

Category: News
Published: 2022-10-11
California Awards US$9.1 Million to Boost Multilingual Accessibility

CALIFORNIA – In an effort to strengthen services for California’s diverse communities, the Employment Development Department (EDD) has awarded a $9.1 million grant to further boost multilingual accessibility to unemployment insurance benefit programs.

“One in five Californians speak languages other than English and this grant will help us continue to support these diverse communities,” said EDD Director Nancy Farias.

The new grant will help fund a major multilingual expansion of EDD’s online Unemployment Insurance portal (currently available in English and Spanish) to add Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Tagalog and Armenian.

Grant funds will also help launch three additional dedicated UI phone lines in Armenian, Korean and Tagalog. Dedicated phone lines are currently available in Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Teletype, and free interpreters are available in more than 100 languages.

The expansion of the dedicated phone lines will directly connect more customers with EDD agents who speak their language. In addition, customer satisfaction surveys will be added to these lines to continue to find ways to improve services and supports for multilingual customers.

The Department launched its Office of Language Access in July, and previously that it had increased the translated content of its website, including program information, forms and publications, contact information and access to interpreters in more than 100 languages.  This $9 million grant also supports key multilingual access initiatives to improve equity in government services.