Monday, January 14, 2008

ADVANCE NOTICE: Up to 15,000 will be hired for Census

Up to 15,000 will be hired for Census
Federal bureau will fill full-time, temp positions throughout the year as it ramps up 2010 count.

For a couple of years, the U.S. Census Bureau has brought doses of bad news to Michigan, chronicling the decline in jobs and people. Starting this month, the bureau will offer a ray of hope. In small groups at first, and later by the hundreds, the bureau will add as many as 15,000 temporary workers to its Michigan payroll as it ramps up for the 2010 decennial survey.

The bureau will open its "regional census center" in the Stroh River Place off Joseph Campau Street near Chene Park on Thursday, when a skeleton crew of five or six will move in as they plan for the count that determines everything from the state's number of seats in Congress to amounts of federal funding. Over the next year, the bureau will hire up to 160 full-time workers for the regional center.

The opening of the 27,000-square-foot regional center presages the hiring of hundreds more later this year in Detroit, Flint, Lansing and Grand Rapids. Those offices will act as the headquarters for the compilation of mailing lists used to send the 2010 census form to every resident in the country. In October 2009, census offices will be opened in each of the state's 15 Congressional districts, and as many as 1,000 will work out of each office.
In many districts, the number will be lower if the percentage of properly returned census forms is high. The canvass workers, called enumerators, will go to every address where a form wasn't returned.

Specific pay rates for the workers haven't been established yet. But Kountz estimated that workers will be paid between $24,000 and $70,000, depending on the type of work they will do. Most will not receive benefits, though, said Tom Chodzko, assistant regional manager.


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