A representative of the national U. S. Census will be addressing Kittanning Borough Council tonight.
Dwayne Lehman, a Partnership Specialist with the Philadelphia Regional Census Center, said his agency is looking for as many as 660 individuals in Armstrong County to work for the Census.
“We are paying between $13.50 per hour and $18 per hour depending on which region you are in. These are part-time, intermittent jobs. Right now, the Addressing Campaign is happening, and the Listers will begin in August and go through the beginning of October. Managers are actually being selected around that time-frame and then their actually going to get training in the middle of June.”
Applicants must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen. There is also a background check required.
“Applicants can simply fill out the application on-line at www.2020census.gov/jobs. We do have an office opened up in Butler County. There are still some positions there as far as like Clerks and Admin that might apply if you don’t want to be an Enumerator (a door-knocker).”
Veterans get a preference in the selection process.
“We try to keep people as local as possible. We’re pretty flexible in the number of hours that an individual works. A lot of people use this as a secondary income or a catch-up income, or just their sense of civic duty. As I’m traveling around visiting different communities and governments, I find that sense of civic duty is still very relevant in today’s society which is a great feeling.”
Lehman said that the census information will affect decision-making over the next decade.
“Not only does it define how many seats in the House of Representatives each state gets, but here in the state of Pennsylvania, it actually helps us with our redistricting program after that census is released. There’s a lot of money tied to that. The federal government allocates $675,000,000,000 back to the states in the form of a number of funding opportunities and grants, whether that is for highway and infrastructure, school, education, or a lot of your social programs like Medicare/Medicaid, WIC programs, and Head Start.”
In Kittanning Borough, projections are showing a loss in population that will put the number under 4,000. If that happens, the Borough will lose as much as $100,000 each year in government funding.
In an attempt to get accurate reporting, Lehman said Armstrong County commissioners are forming a “Complete County Committee” on May 16 to make sure everyone is counted.
Lehman said there are four areas when counting gets difficult:
- Families with kids under 5
- College students
- Individuals and families economically disadvantaged living below poverty level
- Those persons in community living situations (assisted living, apartment complexes, or gated communities)
“After we validate all of the addresses, we will send out notifications to those locations indicating that it is now time to complete the census online, phone or the paper copy. April 1, 2020 is National Census Day and that’s the snapshot we’re looking at – where are people at on April 1. If they don’t complete the census by the 10th of April, they’re going to get a reminder email. Then, we kick off our next campaign which is the Non-Response Follow-up. Again, that’s where we going to be hiring a lot of Enumerators – the traditional doorknockers going out asking and assisting people with completing the census.”
Not only do people need counted, but first the Census workers have to verify that the addresses actually have residences.
“We are taking our information from our GIS systems and Google Maps essentially and we are validating the addresses.”
Lehman said there are major changes to the way the information is being collected.
“This will be the first census that allows people to complete the census on-line and actually we’re encouraging that. They can still do it by phone and they can also still do hard copy – the traditional form. It’s safe. Their personal information is protected by Title XIII. We do not share personal information with any other agency.”
Lehman said the concept of having a government census started with our Constitution.
“The first centennial census was completed in 1790. If you look at the Constitution of the United States, the actual mention of conducting a census every 10 years is in Article 1 Section 2 of the Constitution. Our Founding Fathers came together for that great compromise where we have a bicameral House – the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Senate is each state gets an equal vote – 2 individuals per state but the House of Representatives is based on the population. So we’re asking people to complete the entire census and submit it so that Congress can identify how many Representatives each state receives,” Lehman said.
To view his interview on WTYM, click below: