Every 10 years since 1790, the nation embarks on the difficult task of counting every single person in the country. To do that takes people to do the actual counting.
That’s where Mesa County residents come in.
On Friday, the U.S. Census Bureau is hiring part-time, temporary workers to help it with the 2020 Census.
To get those workers, a hiring event is being held 1-4 p.m. at the Mesa County Workforce Center, 512 29 1/2 Road. Applicants can show up there to apply, or they can do so online at 2020census.gov/en/jobs.html.
To help those new hires do their jobs, the bureau this week also announced the start of a $500 million public education and outreach campaign that is to include more than 1,000 advertisements on electronic and traditional media about the census.
The campaign is designed to get Americans thinking about the importance of completing census forms.
Those census numbers are important on a local and state level because they help decide representation in the U.S. House and how billions of dollars in federal money is distributed for such things as roads, hospitals and schools, said Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham.
“Through advertising, public events, partnerships and digital and traditional media, we are embarking on a nationwide effort to let everyone in the country know about the upcoming 2020 Census and encourage them to respond online, by phone or by mail,” he said.
This year’s census, for example, is expected to show population increases high enough in Colorado to create an eighth congressional district. The last time the state saw an increase in congressional districts was after the 2000 census.
The jobs that the bureau is offering locally are called enumerator/census takers that pay $16 an hour. Hired workers are only asked to work 20 hours a week, and those hours generally are flexible.
The duties of census takers are to update address lists and interview household residents who haven’t responded to mail census forms. They also use smartphones and tablets to help in their work.
Most job offers are expected to be made between now and April, with paid training conducted from March to May. Those census takers then will work until July collecting census data.
Qualifications for the job are simple. Workers must be at least 18, have a valid Social Security number, are U.S. citizens, have a valid email address and be registered with the Selective Service System.
The applicants also must know how to speak, read and write English, though bilingual applicants also are needed. Most jobs also require applicants to have valid driver’s licenses and access to a vehicle, and access to the internet and email accounts.
Applicants also must undergo criminal history background checks and commit to completing the training.