12/27/09 — Workers sought for '10 Census in Wayne

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Workers sought for '10 Census in Wayne

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 27, 2009 1:50 AM

The Census Bureau is looking for people it can count on in the coming year -- to knock on doors and to help ensure Wayne County gets its rightful funding.

"Census is coming in 2010, it's constitutionally mandated," said Rob Das, assistant director for the Community Service Block Grant through WAGES. "The function of the government is to count everybody."

But the census, done every 10 years since 1790, is about more than getting a head count for residential purposes, Das said.

"No. 1 is representation -- Congress and the state -- as well as to get Goldsboro and Wayne County's fair share of the dollars," he said. "Every last penny the federal government spends in the county is driven by the population. That's how they divide it up, so this is mission critical for our community."

The effort is also a perfect fit for WAGES (Wayne Action Group for Economic Solvency) as the bulk of its programs promote self-sufficiency, Das said. But ultimately, it will also benefit such areas as the school system, highway construction, water treatment, even flood control.

"Anything that the federal and state government does is ultimately tied to and goes back to the census," Das said.

An estimated 1.2 million canvassers, called enumerators, will be hired to help with the census nationwide. Locally, 300 to 500 workers will be needed to cover Wayne County.

It's a paid position, Das pointed out. Rate is $11 an hour plus 55 cents a mile.

"It's exciting, and it's coming at a perfect time," he said. "Folks are suffering out there with this economy. This is an opportunity for people to make some money, which is awesome. ... It's a win-win all around -- for the community, for the people earning the extra money, for WAGES because we're helping people become self-sufficient, maintain a household, pay their bills."

Some of the preliminary effort has already begun, Das said, with workers being sent out to canvass for existing addresses and locate new subdivisions, apartment buildings and new housing developed since the last census.

Pre-employment screening and testing for census workers in Wayne County will be conducted two days this week, Tuesday and Wednesday, at 10 a.m. in the multipurpose room of the WAGES office on Royall Avenue.

There are several criteria for the temporary part-time job, which will encompass March, April and May of next year, Das said.

"The No. 1 thing is you have to live in the community that you're counting," he said. "They want the enumerators to speak the language so those that are bilingual are strongly encouraged to apply."

Applicants need to bring two forms of identification, be prepared to fill out several forms for the government job, and be able to locate their own home on a map of the county.

"There's also a 30-minute test and a clerical component," Das said. "You have to be able to understand numbers, lists and geography."

A practice test can be found online at www.2010censusjobs.gov.

Because one of the aspects of the job involves knocking on doors and speaking to people, there will be some evening and weekend work, he said.

A seven-question survey will be mailed out in the spring to every known address in the country, Das said.

"We really encourage folks to send that in," he said. "It's a patriotic duty, it's constitutional. ... For those that are sent back, fantastic. For those families who are non-responders to the mailed questionnaire, that's when a census worker, enumerator, will knock on your door and ask you basically the seven questions that were on the mail-in questionnaire."

For more information on the census worker positions, contact Das at 734-1178, Ext. 223.