ULLIN (WSIL) -- Every ten years the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a nation-wide survey. Those statistics will help determine the number of representatives a state is allowed in Washington, as well as the amount of federal funding provided for roads, schools and hospitals.
The census officially began Wednesday morning in Alaska.
It begins there out of tradition and necessity, because tt's easier for census workers to travel on frozen ground than after the thaw.
Representatives from the Census Bureau were at Shawnee Community College Wednesday afternoon looking for qualified applicants to fill more than 800 openings in southern Illinois.
Census Partnership Specialist Rebecca Robinson said the message is that they're hiring, "And we have a desperate need for applicants. In our region alone we need over a thousand people to apply."
Robinson said those jobs are for anyone 18 years of age or older and offers flexible hours, great pay and will continue through the month of August.
"The roles that we're seeking are for census takers that can help that door-to-door customer service and help our residents complete their census survey," said Robinson.
Career Service Coordinator Leslie Cornelious-Weldon with Shawnee College helped organize Wednesday's event on campus. She said it is not just about jobs the census creates, it is about the results once completed.
"If we don't have the right demographics, it excludes us for grants," said Cornelious-Weldon. That's because the data collected each census is used to create a roadmap for a district's future. "Opportunities are opportunities. If you have an opportunitiy to get a Wi-Fi grant in your town, and you don't have the numbers, they won't even consider coming in."
Census data is used every day in a number of ways from planning financial incentives to preparing for emergencies. News 3 spoke with Congressman Mike Bost who says Illinois could possibly lose a member in Congress when the count is complete.
"It's not just a piece of paper," said Bost. "It means what's going to happen for you, your family, your community and your state for the next ten year."
To apply for a 2020 Census job, you must:
- be at least 18 years old
- have a valid Social Security number
- be a U.S. citizen
- and have a valid email address
Go to 2020census.gov/jobs and click Apply Now.