Tupelo opens census office

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Nearly 100 people Wednesday feted the grand opening of Mississippi’s fifth local census office, which will serve as the hub of a massive population count throughout Northeast Mississippi.
Other offices are in Southaven, Jackson, Gulfport and Meridian.
The 2010 Census seeks to count every American in every part of the country, as well as identify their age, gender, race and whether they rent or own their home.
Information gathered from the decennial census helps allocate some $400 billion in federal funds to states, counties and cities. It also helps determine the number of congressional seats for each state.
“You need to be counted,” said Holly Springs Mayor Andre DeBerry, who spoke at the hour-long open house.
Those in the crowd included congressional representatives, municipal leaders and census officials, as well as members of the Community Development Foundation.
The Tupelo office will be responsible for a 19-county area and, as part of its effort, must recruit as many as 2,000 temporary employees. A variety of jobs are available, including in-house staff and field workers.
Most positions start at $10.50 an hour and last anywhere from two to 14 weeks. But spokeswoman Kat Smith said it’s possible for people to jump from one position to another, thereby extending their employment.
The office is located at 1134 W. Main St. in the West Main Shopping Center and already has several key staff members in place, including the Rev. James Hull.
Hull, the local office manager, briefly introduced his roster and said more people would be hired in coming weeks. Census forms will be mailed out in March to be completed on April 1. Households that don’t mail back the forms will get visits from census workers.
To apply for a job, call (866) 861-2010.