ORLANDO, Fla. – The United States Census is looking to hire thousands of people in Central Florida to help collect data for the upcoming 2020 census and it could be just the job you’re looking for.
Greg Engle is a local spokesperson for The U.S. Census Bureau and said the agency is offering anywhere from $13 an hour to $19.50 an hour for one of their part-time jobs to collect crucial data that is collected only once every 10 years and that could help Central Florida gain billions of dollars in federal funds
“This is the largest civilian mobilization in America,” Engle said. “We get a chunk of $675 billion that we can take advantage of from the United States government.”
Engle said they are pushing hard to recruit anyone looking for a way to get results for their community by becoming part of the 2020 census count team.
Engle encourages anyone over the age of 18 and willing to take a background check to apply.
“We need half a million people and more across the country,” Engle said. “And what we need people to do is go to www.2020census.gov/jobs, they can get all the info they need there, because it’s not just knocking on doors.”
Engle said there are also support jobs and clerical jobs that need to be filled as well as jobs you can do from home from your computer.
Engle said these upcoming census jobs can be filled by anyone who has a full-time job looking to make some extra money on the side or even retirees looking for something meaningful to do.
“It’s flexible,” Engle said. “It’s paid training, flexible hours, its great for students, retirees, my veterans and I want all my veterans counted, I want them working here.”
Engle said they will start hiring for these census positions starting in January as they lead up to April 1, 2020, which is Census Count Day across the country.
"The importance of the census is to make sure everyone is counted once only once, and in the right place," Engle said.
Engle said that’s because the count affects how much federal money a county is awarded to help with community programs. It also helps drive businesses decisions on where to build roads, businesses and how much to invest in school programs such as Head Start.
Engle confirms that in the 2010 census, billions of dollars were not awarded to Florida because the count was off by more than 20 percent. Engle said the 2010 count showed Florida had 72% of people fill out the census, close to the national average of 74% of people accounting for where they were living at the time.
“So if you’re not counted, then we have less of a chance of getting our fair share of money,” Engle said.
Engle said much of this year’s census will take place online and that modern technology should help improve accuracy numbers for the 2020 census count.
“We get a chunk of $675 billion that we can take advantage of from the United States government,” Engle said.
Lavon Williams is with Orange County Community Action and helped with the census 10 years ago. She said she knows how crucial it is to make sure every person living in her community is counted.
“We know that we have lost significant amounts of money -- up into the billions -- because we did not have an accurate count, particularly in certain census tracks,” Williams confirmed. “In the 2010 census, we would get information a week or two behind. In the 2020 census, we will get real time results.”
Williams said she was frustrated to learn Central Florida lost its chance at more than a billion dollars in federal aid because some areas were undercounted, because some people simply couldn’t read the survey that was sent to them or were afraid to respond due to their immigration status.
"We noticed we have areas where large pockets of Latino communities were undercounted in 2010,” Williams said. “We also know that areas of low income were undercounted. We don't get the responses from those areas. When we don't get an accurate count, it impacts our funding from federal and state government. There are so many federal and state programs that are based on formulas and those formulas have at their root -census data.”
Williams said the census survey for 2020 is a lot shorter than the one sent out in 2010, with only nine questions on it. Williams said that alone could improve the chances of getting a more accurate census count.