Job fairs for census hiring in Lancaster County

Fueled by Panhandle growth, the county’s population has skyrocketed almost 25 percent since the last census was taken in 2010.
With that growth explosion and no slowdown in sight, it’s a given that county residents will see a drastic change in local government once the population results from the upcoming 2020 Census are compiled.
At least three of the seven county council and school board districts will encompass the area from S.C. 5 north to the N.C. line, up from two districts now.
But before any of that happens, the counting must be done. And the U.S. Census Bureau is gearing up for that.
The bureau is hosting seven job fairs here this month to help hire temporary workers, including census takers, census field supervisors, recruiting assistants and clerks. Most of the openings are for census takers, who verify addresses, collect responses to the census and double-check census data.
The job fairs are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Jan. 10, Jan. 13, Jan. 15, Jan. 24, Jan. 29 and Jan. 31. They will be held in the lobby of the Lancaster County Administration Building, 101 N. Main St., Lancaster. Residents may also apply online at
Robert Offer, census recruiter for the Atlanta Regional Census Center, said an estimated 110 census workers are needed for Lancaster County.
Training sessions start in early April, with the jobs running from May 1 through July 24.
“We hope to draw about 570 applicants for Lancaster County to choose from,” Offer said.
Census takers in Lancaster County will make $15.50 an hour. Field employees will be reimbursed for authorized work expenses, including mileage while conducting census work.
The census is held every 10 years, as required by the U.S. Constitution. It counts citizens, non-citizen legal residents, non-citizen long-term visitors and undocumented immigrants in the country and determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House, as well as how billions in federal funds get distributed on the local level.
The results of the census reflect population shifts and are also used to draw county voter district maps to assure equal representation at the local level.
The county’s population has jumped from 76,652 residents in 2010 to 95,380 residents in 2018. The data for 2019 isn’t available yet.
“For redistricting purposes, there is only one set of numbers that count, and that’s the census…. This is just a math issue,” said County Administrator Steve Willis.
To get an accurate count, the Census Bureau must build a precise address list of every housing unit, maximize self-response to the census, and efficiently follow up with those who do not respond.
Each home will receive an invitation to respond to a short questionnaire online, by phone, or by mail. This will mark the first time that you can respond to the census online.
“And if you don’t respond by computer, by phone or by mail, they’ve got to have somebody to knock on doors,” Willis said.

Census Job Qualifications
To be eligible for a 2020 Census job, you must:
◆ Be at least 18 years old.
◆ Have a valid Social Security number.
◆ Be a U.S. citizen. Note: bilingual applicants are needed. Noncitizens will be considered for positions that require proficiency in a particular language if no qualified citizens are available. However, if selected for a position, noncitizens must present documentation of employment eligibility.
◆ Have a valid email address.
◆ Complete an application and answer assessment questions. Some assessment questions are available in Spanish. However, an English proficiency test may also be required.
◆ Be registered with the Selective Service System or have a qualifying exemption, if you are a male born after Dec. 31, 1959.
◆ Pass a Census-performed criminal background check and a review of criminal records, including fingerprinting.
◆ Commit to completing training.
◆ Be available to work flexible hours, which can include days, evenings and/or weekends.
Most jobs require employees to:
◆ Have access to a vehicle and a valid driver’s license, unless public transportation is readily available.
◆ Have access to a computer with internet and an email account (to complete training).
If you are employed elsewhere, your current job must be compatible with Census Bureau employment and not create conflicts of interest. These will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Also, you must not engage in any partisan political activity while on duty.
– U.S. Census Bureau

By Greg Summers, Staff Reporter with The Lancaster News