There's still time to apply for jobs with the U.S. Census Bureau.
The bureau is in the final stages of recruitment before invitations to participate in the count are sent out next month.
Brian Matheny manages the Peoria Census office, which will help coordinate the count for 38 counties. He expects rural communities will be the hardest to staff.
"That's the biggest problem we're going to have here locally, is finding enough people for each county — and then it gets to the point we're going to be sending people two, three hours on drives to get to their next location," Matheny said.
Not all who are recruited will end up with a job. Hiring depends on participation rates in local communities. But the bureau anticipates several hundred jobs for the Peoria area.
Census takers will work with community organizations to ensure every person has a chance to respond to the survey.
The Peoria Citizens Committee for Economic Opportunity will lead that effort for the city. Robin Grantham, community development and engagement manager with PCCEO, said there’s a lot at stake if the count is incomplete.
"For every person that we don't count, we lose $1,400 for our county,” she said. “In the last Census … we had a participation rate of 79%."
Grantham said that means Peoria County lost out on nearly $54 million in state and federal funding each year after the 2010 Census.
She said it’s critical to increase participation this time around to secure funding for things like free school lunches, seats in the Head Start program and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
In order to accomplish that goal, Grantham said, the bureau needs creative outreach efforts and a diverse group of Census takers.
“You know your population, your community better than anybody,” she said. We want to assist you.”
Interested applicants go find more information on the Census Bureau’s website.
People like you value experienced, knowledgeable and award-winning journalism that covers meaningful stories in the Peoria area. To support more stories and interviews like this one, please consider making a contribution.