Chicago Tribune: Need a job? Try the Census Bureau

Chicago Tribune: Need a job? Try the Census Bureau
January 25, 2010

In the midst of rising unemployment, at least one employer is preparing for a hiring binge: the U.S. Census Bureau.

The agency is expecting to hire roughly 60,000 people in Illinois--about 20,000 in Chicago-- this year to help assist with the 2010 census, which will be used to allocate more than $400 billion in federal funding, apportion congressional and state districts, and determine locations for new hospitals, schools and businesses.

"Conducting the census is a huge undertaking," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., today at a news conference in Chicago. "Hundreds of thousands of census takers are needed nationwide."
Census officials in Illinois are hoping to attract at least 100,000 applicants statewide, although the exact number of positions will not be known until about March when questionnaires are mailed back.

The part-time and full-time jobs are mainly to help collect questionnaires that have not been filled out. Workers are usually sent into their neighborhoods to help people complete the census form, answer any questions,and conduct brief personal interviews.

Jobs range from $14.25 to $18.25 an hour. Applicants must speak English, but bilingual skills are preferred in certain areas, according to census officials. Convicted felons are not eligible.

Monday's event follows a push by local charities to reverse historically low census participation in Illinois.

To apply, individuals need to call 866-861-2010 and ask where the nearest testing center is located. They must then schedule an appointment to take a test that measures skills such as filing, directions, spelling, and math, according to Muriel Jackson, spokeswoman for the Chicago Regional Census Center. Applicants are eventually evaluated on a range of criteria including test scores, language skills, schedule flexibility, and where they live. There are no education requirements to apply.

--Cynthia Dizikes
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