DENVER (CBS4) - The United States Census is getting underway, although it is still a year off. The Census Bureau has to hire thousands of people to do America's count. It's required by law every 10 years.
"We actually do have a lot of work to do," Cassie Heykoop of the US Census told CBS4 This Morning's Alan Gionet.
"It determines how many seats in Congress every state gets, it determines federal funding and how that gets distributed, so we are getting to work here."
The census is an attempt to gather information about everyone living in the United States –- even non-citizens. The data is used for the next 10 years. It's sent to the current presidential administration, then sent back to the states for re-districting of Congressional districts and, by extension, the size of the Electoral College.
There has been controversy about this census after President Donald Trump's Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross asked to add a citizenship question. But a judge has tossed out that request. It's still in the courts.
Any question about citizenship, if it is added, under current law cannot be used to report illegal immigrants.
"That information cannot be shared with immigration authorities," Heykoop said. "Our census data is protected by Title 13 and that's something that our census employees take very seriously."
The Census officially starts April 1, 2020, but people will be able to self-respond at the U.S. Census website starting March 23, 2020. People can respond online, by phone, by mail or in-person with someone who comes to your door. Those people are called enumerators. You can request one, or expect one to come looking for you if you have not responded online, via phone or mail.
Census jobs are temporary jobs, but some hiring is already taking place.
"End of this month we are hiring for our Lakewood office. That's opening this month. In the late summer to early fall, we'll have three more offices opening in Colorado. One in Longmont, one in Aurora, one in Colorado Springs," Heykoop said.
Each office needs 40 to 50 office staff members. Next year there will be more jobs. The Census will hire 6,000 to 7,500 more employees. Pay will range from $12 an hour up to $20 an hour depending upon where you live.
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