Census Bureau looking to fill 4,000 jobs locally

Rosa Cardenas, 34, listens to Rosie Sanchez, a promotora from the Texas A&M Extension Service, who was walking the Colonia San Cristobal on April 8, 2010, east of Edinburg in the San Carlos area, passing out information on the 2010 Census. (Delcia Lopez | dlopez@themonitor.com)

WESLACO — The U.S. Census Bureau is revving up its hiring process in the Rio Grande Valley, hoping to accumulate more than 8,000 applicants to fill more than 4,000 jobs during Census 2020.

The official Census 2020 count begins on April 1, but bureau officials need to identify and hire workers prior to training which will occur early next year.

“We’re looking to take 8,391 to be exact,” said Albert Morales, partnership specialist for the Census Bureau in Hidalgo County. “Applications are what we’re taking because we need to hire 4,000 people.

“The reason why we overshoot that number is of course because people change their minds sometimes about working, they find another job or they just don’t want to do it anymore,” he added. “We are promoting our jobs and want to make sure people get those opportunities.”

Morales said about 80% of the hires for Census 2020 will be for the job of enumerator, employees who walk from house to house collecting assigned information from households which have not responded by filling out a census form and mailing it in or by filing online.

Most of the jobs are temporary, and salaries vary depending on region.

Morales, speaking at the regional Complete County Committees meeting Friday at the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council offices, said the Census Bureau will conduct a mass hiring in December.

“When you’re saying ‘mass hiring’ in December, what does that mean?” asked Ron Garza, the LRGVDC’s executive director. “The hiring process takes time. Does that mean they’ll be coming in on their first start date in December?”

“No. In December, that’s when they’ll be notified they are being considered,” Morales responded. “We do have a background check that people have to go through so it takes a little bit of time. Then we want to get them into training and that’s about a week along, and of course we need to be ready for the field by March.”

Job applicants must be more than 18 years of age, have flexible schedules that will allow night and weekend work, and be able to work on computers.

Morales also released an overall schedule of the operational aspects of Census 2020.

The first phase, address canvassing, has been completed. This involved working with cities to ensure as many household addresses of residents are identified and included in that city’s list of residential households.

The second phase will consist of census workers delivering packets to rural areas which may not have mail service.

The third phase is early no-response follow-up, targeting populations such as college and university students who have not responded to census inquiries, and that will end on April 9.

The fourth phase is no response follow-up, which is where most temporary census workers will be involved as enumerators, going out to households which have not responded to the census, either by mail or online filing. This phase will last through May 9.