Deena Sorensen, recruiting assistant for the U.S. Census Bureau, drives from Middleton, Idaho each week to recruit employees in Malheur County for jobs with the 2020 census operation. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

ONTARIO – Job recruiting is underway in Malheur County for the 2020 census count. 

The U.S. Census Bureau is currently hiring enumerators, who go door-to-door to help people respond to the census. Other available positions include field operators, field supervisors, quality control and recruiting assistants.

“People are interested in these jobs. They are potentially full-time although they are temporary,” said Ed Susman, manager for the state Employment Department in Ontario.

They’re also well paid, added Susman. Local census jobs pay $14.30 to $17.27 per hour. Employees are paid weekly. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and at least 18.

Deena Sorensen travels from Middleton, Idaho, to recruit at WorkSource in Ontario once a week. Sorensen said the emphasis is on hiring locals because “they are the professionals of their own community, the experts. We want people who work and live there.”

For the next few weeks she will be at WorkSource in Ontario every Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The exact number of jobs available is hard to determine because applicants may be hired for successive operations. An applicant hired as an enumerator could potentially stay on for a different role later.

The application process takes about 10 to 15 minutes, Sorensen said. She can help people fill out applications, get their fingerprints done and get their background checks started.

The process can take from two weeks to one month, but those who apply in July may make it in time for the training session beginning in August.

Applicants in Malheur County could potentially work through July 2020, when most operations in the county are expected to be completed, according to a U.S. Census Bureau spokesperson.

This year’s census aims to go as paperless as possible. Employees may receive iPads or Iphones to perform their jobs, and they use those to turn in hours, time cards and check their progress.

The job is “great for students because they can work around their schedule,” Sorensen said. “We have a lot of people with other part-time jobs and they’re able to work around those, too.”

She encouraged everyone to apply, even if they’re not necessarily looking for a job right now. Once you apply, you are in the pool and may get a call at a later date, she said.

“You get all age groups,” said Lynne Gross, partnership specialist in eastern Oregon with the U.S. Census Bureau. “A lot of senior citizens as well. In this area, we definitely need Spanish-speaking applicants.”

Gross, who worked on the 2010 census count, stressed the importance of these jobs.

If people don’t get counted, she said, “those population numbers get locked in for 10 years.”

Applications for census jobs are available at http://www.2020census.gov

Reporter Yadira Lopez: [email protected] or 541-473-3377

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