Census Bureau Counting on Some Help

Macomb, IL – It's nearly 2010, and that means it's time for another round of U.S. Census workers to go door to door to get public information.

That means the Census Bureau is once again seeking tens of thousands of workers across the country to fill temporary positions, several thousand of which are being sought in Illinois. Applicants are asked to apply and take a timed basic skills test to determine if they're suited for the job.

Census Office Manager Dan Miller is based in Rockford. He says anyone hired will not be assigned to an unfamiliar area.

"We want to hire people so they work in their neighborhood," says Miller. "That creates a safe environment for them, because they know the people they're working with. And they know the area, so I don't have to pay them all this travel money to go to places they don't know and are not safe."

Miller says the only information the Census Bureau collects is whether you and your family exist. The government does not want any personal information.

Miller says people are usually more interested to take the temporary canvassing jobs in urban areas, where unemployment is higher. Despite high unemployment across the county and the promise of tens of thousands of jobs, Miller says the Census Bureau is having trouble recruiting in rural areas.

That's where Macomb Community Development Coordinator Ed Basch steps in. He says the Census Bureau asked him to help spread the word about these temporary jobs. So far, Basch says the efforts have not worked very well. He says no one showed up to one of the test dates, and only a few showed up to the next date.

"I can understand that it's just a fill-in-the-gap measure in terms of employment," says Basch. "But, you know, anyone that wants to make a few extra dollars, we'd encourage them to try."

The next test dates in Macomb will be Dec. 2, 3 and 7 at various times in the City Hall community room. For other dates and times around the region, call the Census Bureau at 866-861-2010.