Recruitment is underway for U.S. Census workers in Eagle County
Census officials haven’t said how many workers they need, just note it will be ‘a lot’
EAGLE COUNTY — This week the U.S. Census Bureau launched its national recruitment campaign during an official event held in Phoenix.
When the effort comes to Eagle County, recruiting census workers won’t be an easy task. According to data from the Colorado Department of Labor, on average there are about four local job openings for every local job hunter. What’s more, there is an expiration date on census employment, and people interested in a short-term job can find a nearby ski resort willing to put them to work.
According to Abby Dallman, special projects manager for Eagle County, census officials haven’t specifically said how many workers they want for the local county.
“They have always just said ‘a lot,'” Dallman said.
Conducting the census is a labor-intensive proposition in Eagle County primarily for one reason — very few local households receive home mail delivery. The census doesn’t accept post office box addresses for form delivery.
“In our communities, it literally takes a person going to every door and dropping off census materials,” Dallman said.
The census forms will include a unique code for households to complete forms online. Workers will drop off census flyers up to three times at individual households, Dallman said.
“After those visits, they will do what is called non-response follow-up,” Dallman said. That will involve an actual, in-person interview.
“The hope is always that you get people to respond right away,” Dallman continued. “With the first couple of flyers, that’s where we hope people will understand, through our outreach, that they need to answer the census right away.”
But if workers need to visit Eagle County homes, Dallman said the goal is to have locals making the contact. She noted having someone come to your door just isn’t as common as it used to be and census interviews will be more successful if a familiar face, or at least a face that’s familiar with Eagle County, rings the bell.
‘A job that counts’
Being a census taker is a unique gig. Locally, it will pay $16 per hour and include mileage reimbursement.
Dallman said it could be an appealing option for students who are at least 18 years old and retirees.
“It can be an opportunity those folks who are looking for some extra money in addition to their current employment,” she added. “It could help people cover some life expenses.”
Another target group for census recruiters is community-minded individuals as evidenced by the enlistment tagline “Get a job that really counts.”
As one recruitment public service announcement notes “The census only happens once a decade and it is mandated by the constitution. The results will have a 10-year impact on community services, as well as congressional representation. The information collected will also help decide how 675 billion federal dollars will be distributed to states and communities every single year.”
Dallman said census recruiters recently participated in job fairs held in Summit County and Lake County. There isn’t a similar fair planned in Eagle County, but the Eagle River Valley Complete Count Committee — the local group that includes 70 contacts and 25 active members that is working to promote census participation — has been reaching out to residents via email announcements. The committee’s next meeting is planned in November.
While the task ahead is daunting, Dallman said good groundwork is underway.
“Nationally, the census is doing a big recruiting push now with plans for job training in January and people hitting the ground in May. It sounds like there is a fairly long lead timeframe planned,” she said.
For more information or to apply to be a census taker, visit 2020census.gov/jobs.
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