County helps bid to recruit census workers

For every person not counted in next year’s U.S. Census, St. Lucie County stands to lose $1,600. That’s why the county is working to spread the word that not only do people need to participate in the census, they also should help take the count.

County spokesman Erick Gill sent out word earlier this month about the bureau’s call for applicants. “I’m just the messenger,” he said, explaining that he’s already received calls from some asking why their application was declined.

That’s up to the Census Bureau, he said.

To that end, the bureau launched a website specifically for recruiting census takers and other jobs. The site can be found at
www.2020census.gov/jobs. Other positions that are hiring include recruiting assistants, office operations supervisors, clerks and census field supervisors.

Jobs, according to the bureau, offer flexible work hours that include daytime, evenings and weekends. The going hourly wage for a census taker is $17 in St. Lucie County, according to the website. Other positions might pay a different hourly wage.

Recruiting assistants travel throughout geographic areas to visit with community-based organizations, attend promotional events and conduct other recruiting activities, according to the bureau’s press release. Office operations supervisors assist in the management of office functions and day-to-day activities in one or more functional areas, including payroll, personnel, recruiting, field operations and support. Clerks perform various administrative and clerical tasks to support various functional areas, including payroll, personnel, recruiting, field operations and support.

Census field supervisors conduct fieldwork to support and conduct on-the-job training for census takers. They also follow up on situations when census takers have confronted issues such as not gaining entry to restricted areas.

Census takers work in the field. Some field positions require employees to work during the day to see addresses on buildings. Other field positions require interviewing the public, so employees must be available to work when people are usually at home, such as in the evening and on weekends.

Those who apply are placed in an applicant pool for 2020 Census field positions and are considered as positions become available. Applications remain active and available for update throughout the 2020 Census recruiting and hiring period.

The U.S. Census count will start with a survey that will be mailed to every residence in the United States in February and March. One member of the household is encouraged to complete the form by mail, phone or online, and count for every person living at the residence at that time.

The information is used by the federal government to determine how much revenue is then allocated to state and local governments for roads, schools, hospitals and other needs.

Gill said it is important for residents to know that the information is not shared with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, nor is it shared with local governments. He explained that residents should not fear law enforcement coming to collect anyone who isn’t a legal resident, nor will the government check to see if too many people are residing in a single dwelling.

Residents have until April 1 to fill out and return the census survey. Gill said that areas with low participation could expect census takers come and knock on doors to improve the participation rate. He said when door-knockers come into neighborhoods, the Sheriff’s Office endures a spike in calls. To avoid that, Gill said residents should fill out the surveys and return them.

For more information on the 2020 U.S. Census job opportunities, contact 1-855-JOB-2020 and select option three. Applicants may also contact the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.

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