Census still recruiting for ND jobs
The U.S. Census Bureau is short more than half the applicants it would like for its 2020 Census jobs in Ward County, according to figures released by the bureau this week.
The bureau is ramping up its national recruiting efforts to reach its goal of more than two million job applicants in an effort to hire up to 500,000 temporary, part-time census takers for the 2020 Census in communities across the country.
The census program is aiming for 8,500 job applicants in North Dakota to ideally produce 1,600 workers.
The census program raised pay to $18 an hour in Ward County and counties to the south and east, with the exception of Cass, which is at $21. The program also is paying $21 an hour in Burke, Burleigh, Divide, McKenzie, Mountrail and Williams counties.
The goal for applicants and needed workers in individual counties wasn’t available. However, the census bureau released the status of its progress in recruiting applicants as of this week.
Hiring rates vary from 10.5% of goal in Billings County in southwestern North Dakota to 118.8% in Pierce County, where Rugby is located. Ward County is at 48.3%.
State Census Director Kevin Iverson, Bismarck, noted the number of employees needed to follow up on unreturned surveys may be smaller than typical in Pierce because the county had a high return rate 10 years ago. The county had an 87% return rate in the 2010 Census, which is well above the 75% state average.
Kristin Hermanson, Area Census Office manager for North Dakota, said the census program handles its applicant pool as a “funnel,” knowing there are many factors that will cause some applicants to drop out. The more applicants entering the funnel, the greater chance of achieving hiring goals.
“We use a variety of data, including early operations hiring results, to determine a statewide formula for this. Ward County status of 48% measures at the top of the funnel. We are working to continue to increase this number all the way up through peak field operations,” Hermanson said in an email. “We will continue to recruit in areas that have exceeded recruiting goals to compensate for counties in the state that have insurmountable recruiting challenges. We, of course, have the flexibility to send ‘extra’ staff to a neighboring county to assist if needed.”
Communities such as Minot are asked to work extra hard to meet their recruiting goals because they usually hold a bulk of the applicant pool that is interested and able to accept this type of work, particularly active retired residents and college students, she said.
The positions offer competitive pay, flexible hours, paid training, and weekly paychecks, according to the Census Bureau. Census takers fill critical roles in going door to door to collect responses from households who have not responded online, by phone or by mail. Applicants still are needed in every state.
Anyone age 18 and older, such as recent high school graduates, college students, veterans, retirees, military spouses, seasonal workers and people who are bilingual are highly encouraged to apply. People who already have jobs and want to earn extra income evenings and weekends are also encouraged to apply. The selection process begins this month, with paid training in March and April. After paid training, most positions work between May and early July.
“We can’t control if N.D. residents take the jobs, but we can continue to exhaust every possible avenue to ensure we get the word out about the need,” Hermanson said.
To learn more about the positions or apply, visit 2020census.gov/jobs.