Census Bureau hiring to fill thousands of local jobs

By St. Clair Murraine

Outlook staff writer

While a temporary job with the Census Bureau doesn’t have benefits, taking a position could help individuals meet their living needs.

People in Tallahassee and surrounding counties – employed or unemployed – can apply for one of the thousands of openings that are available as census takers. The Census Bureau announced last week that it’s intensifying its efforts to hire people to carry out the census.

Jobs in Leon, Jefferson, Gadsden, Wakulla, and the rest of the Big Bend will pay $16.50, according to the Bureau. The search for census takers is nationwide and in five U.S. territories that include the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Thousands of part time jobs as census takers are available in Leon and surrounding counties. Photo courtesy Census Bureau

Those jobs not only help financially, but they could help to avoid resume gaps, said Kim Moore, vice president for Workforce Innovation and TCC2WORK.

“Securing temporary employment can often times create a long-term benefit by way of the new skills gained,” Moore wrote in an email to the Outlook.  “Additionally, it demonstrates your ability to quickly gain the skills needed to perform when placed in a new setting or employment opportunity which is very attractive to a prospective employer.”

While the Census Bureau is using several platforms to get the word out about available jobs, word-of-mouth has been effective. It is how one worker said she heard of the opportunity and successfully applied.

The worker, who requested anonymity, agreed that the experience as a census taker could be invaluable.

“It would give you some experience,” the source said. “It may open up an opportunity where you run into somebody that could give you a permanent job.”

Applicants have to be at least 18 years old, have transportation and don’t mind working flexible hours, making it a good way to make extra cash. Perks include authorized expenses for mileage and those who do field work will be reimbursed.

The population counting began in 1790 and has taken place every 10 years.

Census takers will go door-to-door collecting vital information this year.
Photo courtesy Census Bureau

The information that is gathered either by census takers door-to-door, telephone or mail is vital. It’s used to determine Congressional seats, and help the government distribute billions of dollars for hospitals, schools and roads. 

While some positions have been filled in the Big Bend area since December, the selection process is underway in earnest this month. The Bureau offers paid training that will take place in March and April. The ones who are hired will begin work between May and early July, according to the Bureau’s website.

“Our aim is to reach interested applicants right now, inform them of updated pay rates in their area, and get them into the applicant pool to be considered for these critical jobs,” said Timothy Olson, Census Bureau associate director for Field Operations.  “The hiring process occurs in stages, and we are encouraging everyone to apply right now before selections begin in January and February. Most census taker jobs begin training and work this spring.”