2009-01-29 / Front Page

Preparations Under Way For 2010 Census

Census Bureau now recruiting temporar y workers
By Jean Snyder STAFF WRITER

Although it may seem just like yesterday that you either received a census form in your mailbox or a census worker visited you, it has actually been nearly 10 years and now the U.S. Census Bureau is gearing up for Census 2010.

According to Cheryl Smith of Huntingdon, the census bureau is recruiting for five separate positions in order to begin the work necessary to be prepared for the next decennial census. Those positions are office clerk, administrative assistant, recruiting assistant, crew leader, assistant crew leader and enumerator. Smith added that only four of the job types will be filled in Fulton County as an office clerk will not be needed here.

Smith is currently in charge of four counties but indicated that a person who will direct the Fulton County census activities will be hired soon. Recruiting for the census has started and will continue through May 2010. The local census office is located in Altoona, Pa.

Persons interested in applying for any of the four job titles must take a 28 question exam that lasts about 30 minutes. The employment test consists of 28 multiple-choice questions designed to measure the basic skills and abilities required to perform a variety of census jobs. These include clerical skills, reading, number skills, interpreting information and evaluation alternatives, and organization skills. You may retake the test if you would like to improve your test score. The jobs are temporary and mostly parttime in nature.

Conducting the census is a huge undertaking. Thousands of census takers are needed across the country to update address lists and conduct interviews with community residents. Most positions require a valid driver's license and use of a vehicle. According to the Census Bureau Web site, census takers receive competitive pay on a weekly basis and are also reimbursed for authorized mileage and related expenses.

Interested parties may apply by calling the bureau's toll-free jobs line at 1-866-861-2010 and schedule an appointment to take the employment test. You can also download an application online at www.2010.census.gov. Applicants will be hired from almost every community and are selected based on the hiring needs of each particular area. Qualified applicants are contacted to work as census jobs become available. Most hiring will take place February through May 2009.

As a census taker, you will work individually as part of a small team in your own local community. Your work will be supervised by a crew leader. Although your work hours will be flexible, you will be expected to complete your work assignments on time.

Census takers are expected to visit all the residences in the assigned area to verify address lists. One thing has changed since the last census. Now all information will be recorded on a small, hand-held computing device,

which will transmit the data via wireless communications. You may qualify to be a census taker if: • Able to read, write, and speak English. • A U.S. citizen.

• Are a legal permanent resident or noncitizen with an appropriate work visa, and you possess a bilingual skill for which there are no available qualified citizens.

• At least 18 years old.

• Have a valid Social Security number.

• Must take a written test of basic skills.

• Have a valid driver's license (for field jobs only).

• Pass a background check.

• Commit to four days of training.

Trainees will be paid for these days at the regular hourly rate. Training can be held either during daytime hours or during evening and weekend hours.

The census is a count of everyone living in the United States every 10 years. It is mandated by the U.S. Constitution and participation in the census is required by law. The census normally takes less than 10 minutes to complete and federal law protects the personal information shared during the process.

The 2010 census will use one of the shortest questionnaires in history and will ask for name, gender, age, ethnicity, relationship and whether the home is owned or rented - or "ten questions in ten minutes" as it is being characterized. In the 2000 census, one in six households received a long questionnaire asking for detailed socioeconomic information. In 2010, every residence will receive a short questionnaire that is simple and fast to complete and return. More detailed information will be collected annually from a small percentage of the population through the American Community Survey.

Census data are used to distribute congressional seats to states, to make decisions about what community services to provide, and to distribute $3 trillion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments over the next 10 years. In addition, census counts determine which states gain or lose representation in Congress as well as the boundaries of legislative districts. Census information helps determine locations for schools, roads, hospitals, childcare and senior citizen centers and more. Businesses use census data to locate supermarkets, shopping centers, new housing and other facilities.

By 2010 there will be an estimated 310 million people residing in the United States. In the last census in 2000, the population of Fulton County was 14,261 with 6,790 housing units counted.

April 1, 2010, has been declared National Census Day and census applications should be received in the mail, completed and returned by that date. From April-July 2010, census takers will visit households that did not return a questionnaire by mail. By law, the census bureau must deliver the census report to the U.S. president in December 2010 for apportionment.

In the meantime, census workers will begin canvassing neighborhoods to update mailing lists in preparation for the questionnaire mailings to begin in February 2010.

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