Hopefully, the summer of 2019 was a fun and memorable one for all! There are so many great things to do in our state during the summer, and my family and I were able to enjoy several across Ohio: baseball games, county fairs, amusement parks, visiting family, and so much more!
Since my last CCE Ohio blog, the state budget passed, and it was a great one overall for strengthening Ohio’s families and communities. While businesses found much to like (and some to dislike), this was the most child-friendly budget in state history. Thank you for all you did, as several members signed on to our letters to legislators and Barbie Lange spoke up on the importance of improving foster care and children’s service funding, as it will serve to strengthen the current and future workforce.
As my previous blog noted, 2020 will be here before we know it. Certainly, the nip of fall and the upcoming schedules of football games, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and marching band competitions are timely reminders the calendar will soon flip.
As 2020 will be a Census year, and communities everywhere are developing plans to ensure everyone is counted, I wanted to share with you some resources you may find helpful. First, there is ReadyNation’s Business Counts: How Businesses Can Contribute to an Accurate Census. This report contains a few examples and suggestions as to how communities and businesses can work together to ensure everyone is counted. Ohio’s Development Services Agency provides updates on state and local Complete Count Committees as well as a link to Census job opportunities. Information about the questions being asked, and why, can be found on this page from the Population Research Bureau.
While chambers of commerce have been leading efforts in communities to encourage a complete count during many prior Censuses, the 2020 Census presents significant new challenges. First, instead of receiving forms in the mail, residents will receive postcards telling them how to fill out their form online, providing a link. (As many as three may be sent periodically in 2020.) A postcard has the potential to be overlooked, and many may be concerned it might be some type of scam. Some, particularly the elderly, may not have Internet access and/or a comfort level with cyberspace to participate. They may need a trusted friend or family member to assist.
Also, to allay concerns about being required to provide personal information, the Census Bureau only collects name, address, date of birth, and demographic data. The Census does NOT ask for Social Security or other identification numbers, let alone any other type of personal financial information. As a reminder, the information collected is kept private for 72 years and is only publicly available in statistical (aggregate) form from this Census until 2092.
Lastly, there are the usual privacy concerns about government agents coming to people’s homes and onto their property. This desire to be left alone is as old as America itself, but the best way to remain left alone is to fill out the Census accurately when the postcards start to arrive.
As we get closer to the count date of April 1, 2020, there will be public service announcements on TV, online, in newspapers, radio, and other forms. No one expects the local chamber of commerce to carry this burden alone. I am personally excited to be participating in the Census campaign by working with both the business leaders of ReadyNation and the other organizations under our Council for a Strong America umbrella. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to learn more.