NORRIDGEWOCK — The U.S. Census is looking for eligible applicants for temporary, $20-an-hour jobs  helping with the 1o-year census in Maine.

Ronald Witham, a recruiter for the U.S. Census, was at Norridgewock Public Library on Saturday where he said those hired also will get 58 cents a mile for their work, which could last a few months. They must work a minimum of 20 hours but may do up to 40.

“At 40 hours a week, you can average $900 to $1,000 a week,” Witham said. “With 58 cents a mile, at the same time, it’s very lucrative.”

Ron Witham, a field supervisor for the 2020 Census, hangs out at the Norridgewock Public Library on Saturday as he waits for potential Census workers. Michael G. Seamans

As part of the census, population and number of households are counted and those figures are used as a basis for reapportioning congressional seats, redistricting and parceling out more than $675 billion in federal money a year to support states, counties and vital community programs, according to the U.S. Census website. Census results impact housing, education, transportation, employment, health care and public policy, it says.

Federal funds are issued based on population totals, breakdowns by sex, age, race and other factors and communities benefit the most when everyone is counted. Businesses consider the census when deciding where to build, residents use it to support community initiatives involving legislation, quality of life and consumer advocacy and local government officials use it to ensure public safety and plan for new schools and hospitals, according to the U.S. Census.

Witham travels all over Somerset, Piscataquis and Penobscot counties to post notices about where people may apply for census jobs and speaks at informal workshops.

Most people in Maine will receive an invitation to participate in the census after March 12 through the end of the month. In some parts of northern Piscataquis, Somerset and Aroostook counties, first contact with the census may be a census taker coming door-to-door.

In March or early April, a list is developed of addresses where inhabitants have not returned the questionnaires. Eventually, census workers will go to those addresses.

The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census be taken every 10 years. Households will be able to fill out questionnaires online, via phone or by paper.

Witham has been focusing on recruiting at schools, churches and libraries. He said those who apply for the jobs include school teachers and staff, students 18 or older who have a driver’s license and access to a vehicle, and retired people.

Ron Witham, a field supervisor for the 2020 Census, hangs out at the Norridgewock Public Library on Saturday as he waits for potential Census workers. Michael G. Seamans

“Anybody who can squeeze out a minimum of 20 hours a week — we’ll take it,” he said.

Witham, of Clinton, is one of 22 recruiters around the state and has visited venues in many towns including Gardiner, New Vineyard, Skowhegan, Corinth and Farmington. He is scheduled to be at the Skowhegan Public Library from 10 a.m. to noon Monday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Greenville Public Library, 1:45 to 3 p.m. Wednesday at Forest Hills High School in Jackman and 2:20 to 4 p.m. Thursday at Piscataquis Community High School in Guilford.

“I really feel that being part of the 10-year census, I’m doing a service for my country, my state and my community, and it pays well,” Witham said.

Posters advertising positions for census takers say people may apply online at 2020CENSUS.GOV/JOBS or call 1-855-JOB-2020 for more information or help with applying. Witham said people in central Maine may call him at 314-2767.

Norridgewock librarian Robin Wilson said Saturday’s event was advertised on the town’s website, as well as on the library’s Facebook page and the Norridgewock Neighborhood Watch Facebook page.

The U.S. Census does not ask for money, social security numbers or bank or credit card information.


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