With the advent of Census 2010 looming, the U.S. Census Bureau has put in place a strategic campaign to ensure that every head is counted. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Bureau has appointed $120 million of its $1 billion budget to create 1.4 million new jobs. The balance will be utilized for other critical 2010 Census operations, such as expanding Census communications and advertising campaign to reach all communities. As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the census is performed every 10 years.
Census data are of particular importance given their potential to reconfigure budgets, resources, and political power. Among those positions, 3,000 partner specialists have been hired in 12 regional offices across the country to help guarantee accuracy and success. Regional offices are located in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and Seattle. The Bureau also has plans to open 500 local offices. Specialists are instrumental in developing and leveraging local partnerships, identifying and communicating with hard-to-count communities, reassuring those concerned about giving out personal information, and motivating local trusted voices.
Census results will help determine the allocation of $300 billion in federal funding to state and local governments for a range of services including new businesses and industrial development, highways, transportation, housing, schools, hospitals, and other social services. Undoubtedly, this also translates to increased employment and an economic boon for some communities. The data will also help determine numbers for Congressional appointments and districts and state and local legislative boundaries. All of this is crucial given shifting demographics and rapidly growing immigrant population.
The Partnership Specialist program includes management and administrative staff who speak more than 100 languages, representative of the country’s diversity. Specialists work under the supervision of a partnership coordinator and provide support to census field operations such as Recruitment, Be Counted, Questionnaire Assistance Centers, and Non-Response Follow-Up. Employees will also update the Census’ national address list, interview residents who fail to respond by mail, and perform other ad-hoc assignments vital to the national count. Additionally, specialists are responsible for assisting in coordinating Complete Count Committees, volunteer committees established by state, local, and tribal governments and community leaders to generate Census awareness and motivate community residents to respond. Committees are comprised of a sampling of community representatives, including government agencies; education, business, and faith-based organizations, as well as the media. Their goal is addressing the racial, cultural and geographic considerations of their communities.
To qualify, specialist positions require U.S. citizenship, a driver’s license, a thorough background check and, in some instances, use of a vehicle. Partner Specialist positions will continue through summer 2010 when the Census outreach campaign concludes. For information on how to get a job with the U.S. Census Bureau, visit http://2010.census.gov/2010censusjobs.