While the job market is tough, the good news is that there is still time to apply for one of the U.S. Census Bureau's
hundreds of thousands of part-time, temporary jobs that will be filled in the next few months.
Terry Satchell, a U.S. Census Bureau office manager in Grand Rapids, says hiring is underway to help gather information for the 2010 Census. Every ten years, the U.S. government is required to count every man, woman, and child in the country. It's a massive undertaking that requires the work of nearly one million individuals.
These short-term jobs offer good pay, flexible hours, paid training, and reimbursement for authorized work-related expenses, such as mileage incurred while conducting census work.
Census takers will begin in April going door-to-door in their own neighborhoods to conduct brief interviews with households that did not return their questionnaire. The questionnaires will be mailed in mid-March.
Satchell said they are hoping to fill from between 1,200 to 1,600 jobs for peak operations in March, April and May for Kent and Ottawa counties alone. The local hourly pay starts at $10.50 for office workers. Entry-level field employees start at $13.75, with crew leaders earning $15 an hour and supervisors getting $16.60 an hour. Census takers work approximately 20 to 40 hours per week, primarily in the evenings and on weekends.
The Census Bureau's Jobs Web site
gives information on those who may qualify. Those interested can also call 1-866-861-2010 to learn about available jobs and to schedule an appointment to take the basic skills test.
The 30-minute multiple-choice exam tests reading, math, clerical and organization skills along with the ability to interpret information and evaluate alternatives. While it isn't necessary to study in advance for the test, interested individuals can view a sample test online to practice and prepare for the types of questions asked. Applicants for management positions are required to pass an hour-long test.
Satchell says 3,000 to 4,000 applicants have taken the test for jobs in Kent and Ottawa counties, but his office is hoping an additional 1,500 applicants complete the test at any of nearly 20 local test sites.
"We'd like to have four or five good applicants for each job because some (workers) will move on, get a fulltime job, quit or any number of things happen," Satchell says. "We're trying to get the best employees we can. It's a major recruiting effort so we'll be working very diligently. When the workload comes, we're on a fixed schedule (for completion)."
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau website; Terry Satchell, census office manager in Grand RapidsSharon Hanks is the editor of innovation and job news at Rapid Growth Media. She can be reached at sharon@rapidgrowthmedia.