Last week was the Census Bureau’s national recruiting week. In order to help recruiting efforts, last Tuesday the Newburgh Free Library held a Census hiring event.
Applicants were brought to a room setup with computers. Although the 2020 census is possible to fill out online, the Census Bureau is still seeking out census workers.
“People will be able to respond to the census for the first time online,” said the Census Bureau’s Deputy Director Ian Hull. In addition, this census will be the first census that can be filled out completely over the phone. One of the positions that the Census Bureau is hiring for are phone operators.
In addition to phone operators, the Census Bureau is looking for enumerators. Enumerators are individuals that go from house to house counting occupants. Although this year’s census has more fill out options, there will still be the traditional paper form and house to house count option.
For hard to count communities like Newburgh, it is especially pertinent for the bureau to be able to hire workers who understand and know the community
“Although the census is a national event, it’s got to be conducted at a local event,” said Hull. “We can’t just say we need to hire X number of people in Newburgh and call it a day. There are different neighborhoods, different communities.”
Historically Newburgh has had a lower count than other communities in the nation. In addition, Newburgh has more diverse demographics. For example, Newburgh has a high population of immigrants, both documented and undocumented. As a result, language boundaries exist. In addition, fears of losing residency status exist. “In order for this to be successful, we got to have people working in every neighborhood [in Newburgh],” said Hull. “Because we know people will be more reluctant to open their doors to someone they don’t recognize.”
Applications to work for the census will be accepted on a rolling deadline. “Right now, we’re just recruiting,” said Eric Marion, recruitment assistant with the Census Bureau. “Trying to get as many applicants as we can.”
At the moment there are field positions, administrator positions, recruiting positions, IT positions, and more available with the Census Bureau. “Field positions are definitely needed,” said Marion. “Because there are a lot of different communities that we need to count.” In addition, IT and office related positions also have a heavy need for applicants.
Although efforts are on a roll to recruit workers for the Census Bureau, some believe outreach efforts haven’t been strong enough. Maria Aurich- Garcia received an email about the recruiting event from the Newburgh Free Library. Aurich-Garcia had previously finished an application to see if she qualified to apply, and attended the event to check the status of her application. “I can tell you, not a lot of people know about this,” said Aurich-Garcia. Aurich-Garcia didn’t witness any other efforts to promote the event.
The event lasted from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. As each hour trickled by, people passed in and out of the library. Some partook in the recruiting event, and others didn’t. According to Hull, the recruiting goal in Orange County is over 3,300 people. Hull said only 900 people in Orange County so far have applied for the census.
“We’ve got a huge goal of people we need to recruit,” said Hull. “We really need help getting the word out that we have jobs.”