As commissioner of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, I want to clarify information shared in the article published in the Jan. 25 Press Herald regarding barber licensing exams and foreign language speakers.

The Kennebec Journal article discussed the challenges of Arabic speakers who want to become licensed barbers, noting that the tests were currently only available in four languages – Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish and English.

While it is true that the exam is not available in Arabic today, we also shared with the reporter that the National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology will be adding 10 new written translated exams this year. Five translated written exams are expected to be released in the first six months of 2020, and the remaining languages are projected to be released in the following six months. The approved translations include Chinese, Russian, Arabic, German, Japanese, Tagalog, Hindi, Mon-Khmer (Cambodian), Persian and Laotian. Arabic is expected to be in the first five translated written exams.

The department appreciates the frustration of those who wish to work in Maine but who may face language barriers. We are actively working with the licensing boards internal to the department to address those barriers and are proud to be part of efforts to grow Maine’s workforce.

Anne L. Head

commissioner, Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation

Gardiner

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