Stepping offline to pound the pavement: U.S. has jobs to fill in Linn County

Off the bike…

Over the past several months I’ve followed and participated in some online conversations about building networks. I’ve assembled some networks of my own for diverse purposes and helped some clients do the same.

In the past couple of weeks, though, I’ve taken some steps backward technologically into non-digital network building. Why? Because there are many people in the Cedar Rapids community who are not linked in, online and able to tweet at will from their digital devices.

Some things, I’ve been reminded, can’t be done entirely electronically – things like recruiting temporary workers for the U.S. Census Bureau, as I’m temporarily engaged in doing.

My territory is much of Linn County, Iowa, south and east of Highway 151, including Ely and Fairfax. In making the rounds of churches and other community centers to talk to people and distribute information, I’ve been reminded also of the devastation wrought by last summer’s floods.

A number of churches that were flooded are still holding services in other parts of the city. Some other organizations who serve the poor were dislocated, too. For example, when I visited Hope Lutheran Church, which at 2736 Bowling Street SW was spared from floodwaters, Pastor Dan’s generous help included a suggestion that I come back an hour later and talk to the CrossRoads Mission staff.

The mission’ s building at 526 Third Avenue SW was a victim of the flood along with the neighborhood it serves. The folks at the mission’s temporary quarters the day I stopped in said it was very likely they would have visitors who could use some temporary work. Most, however, wouldn’t have Internet access or even a phone to call the toll-free number.

The loss of our library in the flood only compounds that problem, since those computers are no longer available. Fortunately, people who don’t have other ways to apply can get the information and access to phones and computers at Iowa Workforce Development, 800 7th Street SE, Cedar Rapids. That office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The toll-free U.S. Census Bureau Jobs Line phone number is 1-866-861-2010.

Information about applying for jobs is online, too, of course: Click here.

The benefits of having a job, even on a temporary basis, are obvious. A couple of final notes about the census:

Getting a correct census count in our area could be especially challenging because of the people who have lost their homes and had to relocate. Missing anyone who should be counted could mean missing out on federal funding that we need.

To quote from the website:

“The census count is used in determining representation in the U.S. House of Representatives, state legislatures, and local governments. It is also used in distributing about $300 billion in federal funding annually to states and localities for public programs in education, community healthcare, public transportation, housing, and other areas.”

Help spread the word. We need a correct count, and we have jobs for people to do.

Thank you.

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2 Responses to “Stepping offline to pound the pavement: U.S. has jobs to fill in Linn County”

  1. 1 adambelz January 6, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    B.J., when does actual census-taking begin? This spring?

  2. 2 bjsmith January 6, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Adam, the part of the process called address canvassing starts in the spring, yes. Maybe sooner in some areas, I’m not sure. Here’s a link to the official timeline:

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