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March 9, 2010

 

Census count opens up jobs in county

Federal government expects to hire about 200 people by May to work through July

By CATHERINE WILDE
Staff Reporter
cwilde@cortlandstandard.net

The U.S. Census Bureau will likely hire about 200 people in Cortland County by May 1 to collect census count information through July.
Workers will be responsible for collecting questionnaires from people who have not returned them in the mail.
The bureau is conducting its 2010 census count and residents can expect the questionnaires to be mailed to them by Monday, said local census manager Dave Walsh, who works for the Syracuse Census Bureau office.
Walsh said the bureau already hired approximately 20 people to deliver the census questionnaires to about 3,000 residences in the more rural parts of the county where people may not have house mailing addresses.
The questionnaires are not delivered to Post Office boxes.
More workers are being hired in expectation that not everyone will return their questionnaire. The bureau is estimating over 17,000 households in Cortland County will receive the questionnaire in the mail.
Walsh said the number of jobs created is based on a historic pattern of about one-third of the population not returning the census questionnaires.
“The constitution mandates we must count every resident of the United States so ... we are expecting that the entire population will not return their questionnaires and therefore we need about 200 workers to follow up on ones (that don’t),” Walsh said.
Walsh said to qualify for the temporary, part-time job with the Census Bureau, applicants must be at least 18 years of age, a United States citizen and must pass a multiple choice test.
Access to a car is also required because of the rural location, he said.
Workers will be expected to work at least 20 hours a week and the pay is $13.50 an hour.
The project is expected to last until the middle of July.
In the meantime, the Cortland County Planning Department is telling residents to properly fill out their census count forms that are coming in the mail.
Planning Department Director Dan Dineen said Monday the department, at no cost to the county, is distributing several hundred informational pamphlets within the community to promote the census.
Dineen said pamphlets will not be mailed but will be distributed this month at meetings such as the Transportation Advisory Committee meeting and other functions.
“We are trying to get the word out that the census forms will be mailed out shortly and the importance of filling them out, so we do have an accurate count of the population for the county,” Dineen said.
The United States Constitution mandates that a census be taken every 10 years to establish the apportionment of the House of Representatives, Walsh said. In addition, the federal government often bases funding decisions on census counts. For example, Walsh said, funding for projects such as highways, libraries and schools, is often based on population counts.
Dineen said in 2000 the census recorded a population count in Cortland County of 48,599.
Dineen expects this year’s count to be about the same since the bureau has estimated the population to be holding steady yearly since the 2000 count.
Walsh did not verify this, saying he cannot make projections about what the count may be.
Dineen said the county chose to distribute the pamphlets this year to inform the public about the census instead of forming a “complete count committee” as it did in 2000.
Dineen said the pamphlets were a more effective way of getting the word out about the census.
The committee was composed of people in local government and various service agencies, Dineen said, who worked to promote the census within their organizations.
Dineen said the Census Bureau also did not provide funding for other advertising and promotional materials as it did in 2000. This year the bureau sent the pamphlets but no other promotional materials such as pens, pencils, and notepads, he said.
Walsh said the bureau has had a lot of feedback from the community interested in the temporary census jobs.
“We could use more applicants. The deeper the applicant pool, the better quality worker we’re going to have,” Walsh said.
Interested job seekers can visit www.2010censusjobs.gov or call 1-866-861-2010.

 

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