Count on it
Workers will soon be needed to help with a census count of an eight-county region.
The U.S. Census Bureau's Local Census Office is in the Boone Point complex on the N.C. 105 Extension. Staff members are setting up the 6,000 square feet of office space to prepare for the 2010 census, and about 20 people are already preparing for the population count.
Boone LCO manager Ceylon Barclay said about 60 more temporary workers will be needed for phone work to follow up on households that don't mail back in their census forms. Barclay said the population of the eight-county area was 336,000, and during the 2000 U.S. Census, 36 percent of households didn't turn in their forms.
"We're just starting to recruit," Barclay said. "We're going to need a lot of people."
Part of the census staff's task is to encourage people to mail in their completed forms. Even though field visits are made to households that don't respond, it increases the chances of an incomplete count.
The information determines U.S. Congressional seats, state representative districts, and federal funding for a variety of areas including transportation, health and education. The information is used for the next 10 years and is kept confidential for 72 years.
"We want to emphasize how important it is that everyone gets counted for this decade," Barclay said.
The Boone office will support 2010 Census operations in the counties of Ashe, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, McDowell, Mitchell, Watauga and Yancey. During the entire census year, the office will employ about 1,100 office and field workers in the area.
Job openings, when available, will be posted at http://www.census.gov/2010census. Applications can also be made by calling (828) 832-5920 or 1-866-861-2010. The pay is $11.50 per hour.
To be eligible, applicants must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident; be at least 18; pass a background check; and take a written test of basic skills.
The Boone office is one of 10 new local census offices set to open in 2009 across North Carolina. Five offices opened in 2008 to carry out operations to prepare for the census. They are located in Asheville, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro and Greenville. Barclay will be attending regional census meetings in Charlotte this week.
In addition to Barclay, other local census officials include Johnny P. Greene, assistant manager for field operations; Michelle Brewer, assistant manager for quality assurance; Guy Long, assistant manager for administration; Catherine Rhuberg, assistant manager for recruiting; and Patrick Richardson, assistant manager for technology.
Census questionnaires will be mailed or delivered in mid-March, with Census Day targeted for Apr. 1. The local office will likely stay open into next fall.
An open house and ribbon cutting for the local field office will be held Dec. 3 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.