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Somebody is Hiring: Census Bureau looks to fill 1,300 jobs

Enlace, News Report, Hiram Soto Posted: Jan 13, 2009

At a time when jobs are scarce, there is at least one employer who is recruiting: the federal government.

The local office of the 2010 Census is looking to fill some 1,300 temporary positions in the next few months to help count the residents of San Diego County. The government especially is looking for bilingual applicants for jobs that range from office administrators and recruiters to workers who actually go house to house.

The job can last from a few weeks up to three months, and priority will be given to U.S. citizens, although legal residents are eligible, as well. Wages vary from $11.75 to $18.50 per hour.

Every 10 years, the federal government counts every person who lives in the country. The data derived from the counting are used to determine the needs of the population and to assign more than $300 billion in federal funds.

With more than 300 million people living in the United States, the authorities have never counted a population so large and diverse.

The challenge is bigger within the Latino community due to the lack of trust in the government that abounds, stoked in recent years by immigration raids carried out by federal agents at workplaces and homes.

That is why the government is launching an aggressive campaign to recruit not only more Latinos, but also more members of other minority communities, like Filipino immigrants.

Officials with the 2010 Census have met with Spanish-language media outlets and Latino community groups.

We want the community to participate since it's easier for people to open their doors to someone they know than to a stranger, said Daniel Mendoza, director of the local 2010 Census office.

To be eligible for employment, applicants must provide their fingerprints and be subject to a background search by the FBI.

They also must pass a 28-question exam on subjects like language, counting and data analysis. Most of the hires will be made from February to May.

One of the workers' main tasks will be to update residents' street addresses, which will begin in the spring.

In February and March of next year, the government will mail or deliver in person a 10-item questionnaire soliciting information like name, age, gender, birth date and ethnicity of every person living in the home. There will be no questions about immigration status and the information will be confidential and won't be shared with any other government agency.

For the first time, the Census Bureau will offer the questionnaire in Spanish. To date, just 45 people or so have been hired in San Diego County, and they are responsible for opening and operating offices in Escondido, El Cajon and Chula Vista.

Mendoza said the most important thing is for everyone to participate in the census, since a precise count is important to getting the right allocation of funds and political representation to all communities.

Everyone benefits.

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