A U.S. Census Bureau “dress rehearsal” in 2008 will bring almost 2,000 jobs to San Joaquin County.
The jobs, mostly temporary ones, will pay from $12.25 to $14.50 per hour, beginning in April and enable the bureau to create a mailing list and collect information.
“We hope to hire local residents who know the area and want to help ensure an accurate count of the people and housing units in San Joaquin County,” said Ralph Lee, director of the census bureau’s regional office.
Census employees traveled throughout the county Wednesday to get out the word about the jobs — and the coming pre-census efforts.
San Joaquin County was one of two sites in the nation chosen in January to participate in what’s called the dress rehearsal for the 2010 census. The other site is Fayetteville, N.C., and its surrounding nine-county region, which includes two military bases.
San Joaquin County was selected because it presents a unique challenge to census takers with its urban location, language diversity, migrant labor force, rapid growth, new neighborhoods and assortment of housing options.
Local workers are the key to the effort’s success, said census manager Jan McStay.
“It’s important we get local people who are familiar with the community to help with this,” she said. “We are looking for people of all backgrounds — bilingual speakers are especially encouraged to apply.”
The jobs, which are expected to last five to 10 weeks, will offer flexible hours and are ideal for students, retirees and others seeking part-time work, McStay said. Training will prepare census takers to use computers to update address lists and collect information from residents who do not return questionnaires by mail.
Most positions require U.S. citizenship, a driver’s license and use of a vehicle, and each applicant will undergo a background check.
Since the last nationwide census in 2000, the process has been re-engineered with new technology, such as hand-held computers equipped with Global Positioning Systems. The 2010 census will use the short form, meaning it will be simpler, more accurate and easier to fill out than the previous long form. It also promises to be more accurate, with faster results.
The American Community Survey, which since 2005 has surveyed 250,000 citizens by mail every month, replaces the long survey.
The census is the basis for reapportionment for seats in the House of Representatives, votes in the Electoral College and the annual distribution of more than $200 billion to state and local governments in federal tax money.