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Census Hopes To Hire Over 3,000 In The Phoenix Area

The Census is a year away, and various governments around the Phoenix area are kicking off a campaign to make sure people get counted. They argue if there is an accurate count, communities in Arizona will get their fair share of federal dollars and Congressional representation.

At a Monday press conference, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said the Census is used to distribute over $675 billion in federal funds. “It determines funding for public safety, transportation, parks, libraries, housing, and education,” she said. “When we’ve responded to natural disasters, we’ve had the equipment we’ve needed thanks to Census funding.”

In order to better reach communities of color, which are more likely to face an undercount, the federal Census is hoping to hire workers from within those communities.

“We’ve hired our partnership staff earlier than we did last Census,” said Cathy Lacy, Regional Director of the Denver region of the U.S. Census Bureau. “If we pull them into the process earlier and we become a name that does not spell ‘fear’ but spells ‘this is important,’ then that will help us overcome that.”

Next year’s Census will allow people to fill out the form online; Lacy said the form will ask for “less information than a credit card application.” People will get two invitations in the mail to fill out the online form. If a household still does not respond, a paper questionnaire goes out.

Lacy wants to hire 500 to 700 Census workers from the Maricopa County area this year to work on address lists. For the actual headcount in 2020, the number of Valley-area employees jumps to 3,000 workers.

The Census website lists the pay range as $15.50 to $19.50 per hour for office and census taker jobs in Maricopa County.

The Census has made headlines for over a year due to the Trump Administration’s efforts to add a question about citizenship. That decision is the subject of many lawsuits and a case will be heard in the U.S. Supreme Court later this month.

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Bret Jaspers was previously the managing editor for news at WSKG in upstate New York. Before that, he was a producer at WYPR in Baltimore and at Wisconsin Public Radio.His stories have aired on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, and Here & Now, and also the BBC and Marketplace. Way back when, he started as an intern and fill-in producer at WNYC’s On the Media, and then helped out on The Brian Lehrer Show and Soundcheck.When he's not covering the news, he's probably running, reading, or eating. Jaspers is also a member of Actors' Equity Association, the union for professional stage actors.