I continue to be impressed with the hard work and dedication of local chamber executives, not just in promoting your communities as a great place to do business, to raise a family, and to visit, but also in going the extra mile make it so. In carrying out these awesome responsibilities, there is something taking place next year for which participation, backed by your support, can help all our communities continue to thrive.
It’s hard to believe, but we’re only a few, short months away from the year 2020. Around the turn of the 21st century, many communities undertook long-term planning, imagining what their neighborhoods and business districts would look like next year. Key to measuring that vision, or adapting it to current needs, is the Census. As it turns out, 2020 is also a Census year, where every resident in every community is supposed to be counted via a nationwide canvass.
Why should the local Chamber of Commerce care about the U.S. Census? Simply put, an accurate Census helps businesses make decisions about local expansions and opportunities for growth and development. This could be anything from a manufacturing facility analyzing the educational attainment of the local workforce, to a family-run coffee shop opting to expand because of a noticed increase in area growth and diversity. Also, the Census helps local communities attract public dollars, which can go towards funding parks, roads and bridges, even equipment for public safety and first responders.
So what can a Chamber do to help put the community’s best, most accurate foot forward in the Census? First, the Census needs good workers in order to be successful, and the temporary jobs provided by the U.S. government help expand the local workforce. Census 2020 will be a bit different as everyone will get a postcard with a website to enter information. While some of your residents will immediately do their civic duty when the postcard arrives, others will set it aside with the rest of the mail, and forget about it. Still others may be reluctant to do so because of online privacy issues.
That’s where the local enumerators come in, canvassing door to door. Studies show that people will be more responsive to a local Census worker who is perceived to be a local, trusted individual. Because employment rates in most communities are much higher today than in 2009-2010, it will be more challenging to fill temporary enumerator and processing positions. The link to apply for a 2020 Census job ishttps://2020census.gov/en/jobs
Additionally, chambers can encourage your membership to assist their employees to complete the Census, and, perhaps most importantly, count their children. According to most studies, children aged 0-4 are the most undercounted age group. Since children are our future, a complete count of children would show that a community has a robust future. Additionally, public-facing businesses with Wifi can offer places for residents without Internet access to complete their forms online. In much the same way that local leadership typically encourages those around them to participate in our community by voting in elections each November, it helps greatly to have your voices encouraging those around you to take a few minutes and count themselves and their family members in the Census. This is a once-a-decade opportunity to make sure that everyone in your community counts.
Council for a Strong America
1212 New York Avenue NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20005
Visit our new website: StrongNation.org/ReadyNation
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