Test helps students get involved with 2010 Census

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first_imgWith the 2010 Census coming up in March, USC students got involved Monday by attending a Census 2010 testing session that will determine whether or not they are eligible for a census job.“For any government-related job there is an applicant exam,” said Nina Losorelli, assistant director of career services at the School of Policy, Planning and Development. “This is really the first stepping stone for applicants.”The test consists of questions to gauge candidates’ clerical skills, reading and writing ability and organizational skills.According to Losorelli, the school received 50 RSVPs from students. USC also did a census testing last spring, with about the same number of RSVPs.The testing on campus is specifically for USC students who want to be involved in something close to the community, Losorelli said.If students pass the exam, a number of jobs become available to them. The 2010 Census Bureau is hiring census takers, data compilers and office workers, according to Dave Gabor, a census manager in Los Angeles.Any of these jobs, which involved knocking on doors to ask residents questions for the census, offer an opportunity for students to engage with the local community, Losorelli said.“If they’re interested in civic engagement and getting involved in the community, this could help them gain experience in a public service,” Losorelli said.Though these are paid, part-time jobs, Losorelli said she does not think students are in it just for the money.“It’s a good mix of payment and a good time set-up, with flexible schedules,” she said. “It’s a great way to do something in between jobs and get paid while you’re giving back.”The Census Bureau and the university have worked together to ensure that all of these part-time jobs are within walking distance, Losorelli said.She added that it is typical for more students to get involved as the process continues and the actual census draws nearer.“I think there’s a large population of students who are an active part of the community and want to be a part of this,” Losorelli said. “I think more will get involved, especially as we move into the spring semester.”The census itself has an impact on a national level, because it helps determine how many representatives each state receives in Congress; the numbers collected in the census are used to allocate the 435 members of the House of Representatives to each of the states based on their populations.“The more accurate a census, the more likely that your state is adequately represented,” said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. “It’s important that this census count is right, so it’s great to see students getting involved.”Schnur added that the census also collects demographic information. Specific information about people living in an area, and not just the population, is factored into decisions that the government makes about allocation of resources at the local, state and federal levels.“A great deal of government spending and resources are determined by the makeup of the population of areas,” Schnur said. “It attends to issues depending on what these ethnic, racial or cultural communities need.”last_img

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