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U.S. Census Bureau in ‘dire need’ of temporary enumerators in Onondaga County

Tom Magnarelli
Amy Brombos, a partnership coordinator with the United States Census, at a meeting with media officials at Syracuse City Hall.

United States Census officials say there is a dire need for temporary workers in Onondaga County, who will go and knock on the doors of those who have not completed the 2020 census by May. Another challenge is to find workers that live in hard-to-count neighborhoods.

Undocumented immigrants, low-income, the homeless and non-English speakers are the communities most at risk of being undercounted. That’s why Amy Brombos, a partnership coordinator with the United States Census, said they’re recruiting for enumerators who live in those neighborhoods.

“You’re going to be far more comfortable when a neighbor is knocking on your door inviting you to complete the census, then you would be, maybe, if I were knocking on your door inviting you to complete the census,” Brombos said.

The Census Bureau is trying to recruit 4,000 people in Onondaga County, mainly for enumerator positions. It’s gotten a little more than half of that number in applications so far. The Census Bureau has increased the pay twice to $20 an hour. The hours are flexible; people can work anywhere from 10-40 hours a week. The pay workers receive will not count against any social benefits they might get. And diverse candidates are needed, Brombos said, because between Buffalo and Syracuse, there are more than 200 languages that are spoken.

“We need people who speak those languages to help us, to become the trusted voices in your community, to go door to door and remind people that this is so vitally important for the resources that your communities need,” Brombos said.

The application is online and the Census Bureau wants to fill the positions within the next six weeks. Work will last until the end of July.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.