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Workers needed for special census

Recruitment is under way for 2,000 jobs in San Joaquin County for work on a special 2008 census.

Workers will be paid $9.25 to $15.25 per hour, with most earning $12.25 per hour.

"We would like to see more applicants from Escalon, Ripon and Manteca," said Jan McStay, who manages the U.S. Census Bureau's West Coast region from Stanislaus County north.

"This is a great opportunity for residents," McStay said. "The types of jobs are very interesting. It's a chance to earn extra money and gain work experience."

The new federal employees will conduct the 2008 Census Dress Rehearsal in San Joaquin County.

The county and Fayetteville, N.C., were picked as testing grounds for a new way to perform America's once-a-decade census, which will occur nationwide in 2010.

McStay said census takers will use hand-held computers equipped with global positioning system technology that records the exact longitude and latitude of each residence.

Workers are being hired to identify every dwelling in San Joaquin County, including homes built since the 2000 census and unrecorded housing units, like converted garages, trailers or so-called granny flats where people may live.

McStay said one reason San Joaquin County was chosen for the dress rehearsal is because so many more homes have been built and residents have moved in since the last census.

The county's ethnic diversity also was considered in its selection. Because so many residents speak foreign languages — especially Spanish, Cambodian, Lao, Vietnamese, Chinese and Tagalog — assorted bilingual census workers are needed.

About 450 people will be hired for six weeks, starting in late April or early May this year, to work in the field compiling address lists. These enumerators will be paid $12.25 per hour, plus 48.5 cents per mile they travel.

Another 50 to 75 office workers will be hired this spring. Clerks will be paid $9.25 per hour.

Employees typically will work 20 to 40 hours per week, including some evenings and weekends.

"Next year, we'll have substantially more hires," McStay said.

She estimated 1,500 field workers will be needed for about six weeks in spring 2008. Most of them will be paid 12.25 per hour plus mileage reimbursement.

They will track down people who do not mail back their census questionnaires.

Same questions on 2000 form

The census will require that everyone who lives in San Joaquin County on April 1, 2008, provide their name, age, address, race, ethnicity, relationship to other members of their household and whether they rent or own their home.

Those are the same questions asked on the 2000 census.

Decennial census data is used to reapportion boundaries for congressional and state legislative districts, and to distribute population-based federal funds worth billions of dollars per year.

Results of the 2008 Census Dress Rehearsal will be released by the end of 2008.

Supervisors wanted

Because of the data's importance, McStay said, census takers must be detail-oriented, accurate, thorough and able to follow directions.

McStay said the bureau is looking for "people who are able to present a positive image of the Census Bureau."

Preference in hiring will be given to San Joaquin County residents who are U.S. citizens.

Besides the field and office workers, the Census Bureau also is recruiting in San Joaquin County for:

Field operations supervisors, $15.25 per hour plus mileage reimbursement

Crew leaders, $13.75 per hour plus mileage

Recruiting assistants, $13.75per hour plus mileage

Crew leader assistants, $12.25 per hour plus mileage

Administrative assistants, $11.25 per hour

Managers for the San Joaquin census already have been hired. They include office manager Barb Ferry, partnership specialist Irene Castillo, four assistant managers and eight recruiters.

The bureau has rented an office in downtown Stockton at 501 W. Weber Ave.

Bee staff writer J.N. Sbranti can be reached at 578-2196 or