SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The U.S. Census Bureau officials held a job fair at the Onondaga County Central Library to seek out 1,000 new employees.
They are specifically looking to hire people who can help those filling out the census who cannot read or write. The libraries in Central New York, especially in the city of Syracuse, are a major partner for the Census. Kathy Cofftasims, the Communications Director of the Onondaga Library System, said that librarians are very trusted by populations that might otherwise be out of reach. Cofftasims said the city has a few communities of people that are often miscounted in the census. While the courts have struck down the notion to ask citizenship on the census, Cofftasims says the misinformation is still out there and people are still afraid to give their information to the government.
“There’s also a fear and that’s not just with people who are being forced to answer a citizenship question,” Cofftasims said. “There’s general a fear by many of our clients and that the people that we work with especially in the city of any kind of government interference in their life.”
She feels it’s the library system’s responsibility to get a complete count because the numbers matter towards the amount of federal funding a community will receive. This is her hope for the next upcoming census that those who were not previously seen, will get the help they need.
Richard Mahan came to the job fair looking for a position because he really enjoyed his work that he did for the 2010 Census. He said he realized the importance of the Census and that brought him back for this 2020 Census.
“That was part of my mission trying to find these people to explain to them why it’s important for them to do the Census,” Mahan said.
Mahan said the experience was rewarding not just for him, but for the people he helped. He said he could tell that they appreciated the government making sure they were accounted.