Mandated by the Constitution, the decennial count helps determine congressional representation as well as hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding for cities, counties and states. Communities use the data to plan new schools and hospitals. Businesses use it decide where to build new factories, offices and stores.
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This week, the bureau began an advertising campaign for the hiring and announced nearly 4,000 recruiting events will take place across the country through this weekend. In all, the government is seeking 2.7 million job applicants for the 500,000 available census jobs. Almost 900,000 applications are already in the hopper.
Background checks and hiring decisions are expected to begin in January. Job training will follow. Most of the jobs will likely last several weeks and feature weekly paychecks. Some will require evening and weekend shifts.
To be eligible, an applicant must be a U.S. citizen and at least 18 years old, have a valid Social Security number and email address, complete an application and pass a criminal background check. Most of the jobs require a valid driver’s license and access to a vehicle, unless public transportation is available.
On Tuesday, Olson highlighted the need for bilingual workers. About a quarter of those who have already applied fall into that category. Collectively, he said, they speak more than 400 languages and dialects.
“It’s a good start, but we have a way to go,” he said. “We need people who speak the languages of the neighborhoods that they are going to work in. So if people are bilingual, please, please, please consider applying for these jobs.”