Houstonians hope for Census jobs

HOUSTON The 2010 Census will open hundreds of jobs, and there are plenty of people looking for work.

"I need a job," Laquita McCormick said.

McCormick is not alone. Dozens of people looking for work showed up to the first round of tests offered by the Census at the Northwest Assistance Ministry. Finding a job, for many of the people testing, has not been easy.

"I have been looking for work for almost a year now," McCormick said. "I am on unemployment, and I am really ready to go back to work."

More than 400 local jobs will be available in the next few weeks due to the Census. The first step in landing one of these positions is to call the Census Bureau and get on the schedule to take a test.

"I really need this extra money in order to do some things for my house," job seeker Janet Lewis said. "I thought, 'Oh this is a good job because I would not be committed for the rest of my life -- just temporary.'"

The Census is not the only seasonal job available: UPS is also hiring temporary workers for the holidays. Those positions are in high demand.

"Yesterday they (people) came," said Becky Landes with the Northwest Assistance Ministry. "We had 61 people show up for that. I understand it was very busy, and they had more people coming in after that (for which) they did not have the staff to interview at that time."

Officials at the ministry said beyond jobs, more people are showing up for basic needs than did just six months ago.

"Individuals that have been working up in the past, and sustaining themselves and their families," Landes said. "(They) have recently come across very difficult times because they are unemployed."

For those interested in a Census job, call the bureau at 866-861-2010. They have positions for clerks, office workers and enumerators -- the title for a people counter -- available, and the pay ranges from $8-$20 per hour.
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