Ramping up for 2020 census


To assist in the nationwide effort of taking the census for the new decade, Rhonda Fannin, director of workforce services/OhioMeansJobs Highland County, said that the U.S. Census Bureau is hiring for the upcoming year and will be holding open interviews at the Hi-Tech Center in Hillsboro on Friday, Jan. 3 from 10 a.m. to noon.

As the nation rang in the new year on Wednesday, the Census Bureau projected that the population of the United States would be 330,222,422 on New Year’s Day.

Co-chairs Virginia Purdy and Sue Smith are spearheading efforts in Highland County to conduct the decennial head count, agreeing to do so at the request of the Highland County commissioners.

Hillsboro City Council member Patti Day is heading up census efforts for the city of Hillsboro, serving as chair for the census in addition to her other duties as chair of the zoning and annexation committee.

Purdy said that a strategic planning meeting is scheduled for Wednesday Jan. 15 at the Hi-Tech Center starting at 6 p.m., with the expressed purpose of “getting the word out about the census.”

“We’re inviting what I like to refer to as the movers and shakers in the county, in addition to private citizens, to brainstorm about how to the get the word out,” she said. “We want to reach those that for one reason or another won’t respond to the request for census information.”

She said in particular, the meeting will hopefully address ways to reach those who may be unreachable, due to a lack of understanding or interest in the census, or the fear of “big brother” watching.

Day said that a “trusted voices” seminar similar to the county’s Jan. 15 event is being planned for early February, which she said would be a two- to three-hour training conference held on a Saturday to prepare potential census workers.

“The fact is it benefits us to count every person in the county,” Commissioner Gary Abernathy said. “This is where funding is determined, and the federal and state funding is dependent upon us to find out how many people we’re serving.”

On the national level, a recent bipartisan resolution was passed in the U.S. Senate that highlighted the importance of the 2020 Census.

The resolution also encouraged individuals, families and households across the country to take part in the census so that all communities can be counted, and also stated that it is the civic duty of every person to participate so that the count can be as accurate as possible.

A news release from the Census Bureau stated that the data collected is used to properly allocate seats for the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures, and that along those lines, it also directs how more than $800 billion in annual federal funding is funneled to state and local communities.

Purdy stressed the importance of participation in the census, adding that the status of Greenfield changed from city to village in the 2010 census.

“The census affects whether or not Hillsboro remains a city or Greenfield becomes a city again,” she said. “In terms of money, it affects the amount of federal and state funding that comes back to the county and the towns to provide services, and it determines other information that is beneficial to the decisions that are made locally, statewide and nationally.”

Figures from the census bureau revealed that the nation began the new census decade with an increase of 1,991,085 people, or 0.61 percent, from New Year’s Day 2019.

Since the last Census Day, which was April 1, 2010, the bureau said that the population grew by 21,476,884 or almost 7 percent.

Fannin said the Census Bureau is offering flexible hours and competitive wages for Ohioans across the state to help with the 2020 canvassing.

Those interested in applying for a position with the census bureau can apply online at www.2020census.gov/jobs, or by stopping into the Hi-Tech center Friday Jan. 3 between 10 a.m. and noon to apply.

Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.

Job interviews, planning meetings upcoming

By Tim Colliver

[email protected]

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