By Anna Jauhola
The census is coming and the U.S. Census Bureau is looking for local people to be census workers.
The bureau hopes this decade’s census collection will be the most convenient and complete.
Sheila Lacher, partnership specialist with the Census Bureau, has been stationed at the Hallock Public Library every Thursday in January to reach out to those interested in being a census worker. The job pays $19 an hour for those who sign up and are hired in Kittson County. There is a training period as well in March, which is paid.
“After the self-response period is done, which is through the end of March, then those who haven’t responded to the questions, those are who the census takers go out to speak to,” Lacher said.
Although many people envision census takers to be invasive, Lacher said their job is more like dropping off a paper copy of the census a couple of times to give people a chance to respond.
If those who did not go online to answer questions during the self-response period also do not answer the questions from census takers, then the bureau may try to confirm from neighbors that someone lives in the residence or whether they have moved.
Census workers will carry tablet devices on which they can help willing participants to fill out their census questions, or let them use the tablet to do it themselves. Lacher said this is a new feature, which is meant to help reach those who perhaps don’t have direct or regular access to the internet.
Those interested in becoming a census taker can apply online at jobs.census.gov. Thus far, Kittson County has almost half of the people they need to be census takers, so they are looking for more people to sign up. Lacher said the applicants are asked questions about their experience and what they’d do in different situations.
“Based on those answers, then they decide whether to go further or not, like a normal application process,” Lacher said.
The position is listed as flexible for nights and weekends, plus mileage reimbursement. Depending on how many self-reported and the number of households census takers must visit, the positions are slated to last through July.
“So, if you do have another full-time job, it’s still an option for you,” Lacher said.
This year, the Census Bureau’s goal is to get 100 percent of the population counted, which is why they’re working so hard to recruit local people as census takers.
“We don’t know who lives in the county, but the local community does,” Lacher said. “That’s why we’re trying to hire from within, so it’s your neighbor coming to your door, trying to help you out.”
Anyone interested in becoming a census taker, or for more information about answering questions for the census, visit census.gov.
By Anna Jauhola