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Grand Rapids is in full prep mode for Census 2020

Kent County in need of census workers.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Census 2020 is getting close. Many people are beginning to receive invitations, in the mail, urging them to "Be Counted." There is still just over one month before official census reporting begins. However, the City of Grand Rapids has already kicked census efforts into high-gear.

"Grand Rapids is in full mode for the 2020 census, with the goal of having each and every Grand Rapids resident counted in the 2020 census," says Lou Canfield, the development center manager for the City of Grand Rapids and coordinator for the Census 2020 Complete Count Committee.

Canfield says the city has 7 census ambassadors going into communities, many of them under represented areas, such as immigrant and refugee communities, to educate people on important dates, to answer questions and to help calm concerns.

The census invitations being mailed out, right now, offer instructions on how to respond to the census, either online or by phone. However, city leaders and census workers know many people are apt to ignore those letters.

"Our job is to say acknowledge your fear. Let us answer those questions and let us tell you why the 2020 is so important and the role you have in this whole process, says Reouhidi Ndjerareou, a census ambassador.

The census count will impact everything from political representation, funding for schools, health care, roads and other vital services in the community.

"There is a lot of federal money that flows into Grand Rapids based on the census count and according to our calculations roughly $18,000 thousand per person counted over a decade flows into the city. And, it is not just to the City of Grand Rapids. It is to a lot of our partner organizations, things like neighborhood associations and health clinics, schools. All those service providers that matter to people's quality of life," says Canfield.

Right now, the Census Bureau is in need of census workers. City leaders urge those interested to apply. The Kent County region has a goal of 4,600 applicants -- currently at 65.9% of goal. 

Available positions include the following:

  • census takers
  • census field supervisors
  • recruiting assistants 
  • clerks
  • office operations supervisors. 

The largest number of openings are for census takers.  You can apply for all of these temporary jobs with just one application; the online process will guide you. Some of the temporary positions pay around $20/hour.

It is important to note, most positions are anticipated to last several weeks, but employment may end at any time or hours of work may be reduced if there is a lack of available work. 

There is no cap on the age for employment, however, applicants must be at least 18 years or older to be hired for all positions. 

The official Census 2020 count begins on April 1.

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