Roanoke Area Census office hosts open house, looking to recruit over 17,000 people

Local News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Officials in Roanoke are ramping up recruiting efforts to make sure everyone is counted in the 2020 Census.

The national survey is performed every 10 years.

The U.S. Constitution mandates a headcount of everyone residing in the states and US territories, including people of all ages, races, ethnic groups, citizens, and non-citizens.

So why do we take the census? Officials say the results are more important than you think.

“To shape your future! Census data is used to allocate federal funding to local communities. Once we know how many people are in an area, that’s how funding is distributed – for hospitals, schools, roads, and other vital programs,” says Guilia Goletti, area manager at the Philadelphia Regional Census Center.

Census Data
Courtesy: Roanoke County VA

Approximately $675 billion in federal funding is distributed to communities each year. Every person not counted represents a loss of $2,000 dollars of federal funding to a community.

The census also determines the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives. States also use the totals to redraw their legislative and school districts.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the goal of the 2020 Census is to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place. Roanoke City and Roanoke County officials are hoping to meet that goal.

Mayor Sherman Lea and 2020 Census leaders will host an open house and recruiting drive at the Roanoke Area Census Office.

“We are recruiting all around Southwestern Virginia for different kinds of positions. We have tons of census-taker positions, supervisory positions, the other levels going upward. We also have very competitive pay rates. There are pay rates that vary by county, so it’s based on where someone lives and where we’re hiring,” says Goletti.

She adds that they expect to hire most people in the coming month.

As for the 2020 census, households will start to receive postcards in the main starting March 12. Your responses are kept anonymous, and for the first time, you can respond by phone, mail, or online.

“The biggest one is that you can respond online. In 2010, you could not, so this is supposed to make it a little bit more accessible to people so that you can just go online without having to go and mail it back or having to pick up the phone,” says Goletti.

The open house will take place Friday, Jan. 17 at 10:30 a.m. at the Roanoke Area Census Office, located on 220 Church Ave SW Roanoke, Va. All Roanoke residents are invited to attend.

To apply for a position with the U.S. Census Bureau, click here.

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