State Rep. Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia, positioned himself behind a table at the MU Student Center alongside U.S. Census Bureau staff to engage with potential bureau workers Friday morning.
Kendrick was there to encourage people to potentially work for the Census Bureau and also raise awareness of the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census through a job fair held in conjunction with the bureau.
"The U.S. Census is such a critical component to state, local municipality and county funding through federal programs," Kendrick said. "It's also obviously critical to get a proper count of people in the state and in the area."
College students would make great census takers because of the high rate of pay and the flexibility of the job schedule, Kendrick said. That is why the fair was held in the student center.
"I think that while the positions are temporary, $17 an hour is a good wage for student," Kendrick said.
He also thinks the flexibility of the position is especially helpful for students with a difficult course load. In addressing the issue of student debt, Kendrick thinks the job's wages could help offset costs of tuition or go toward living expenses.
MU sophomore Anton Alesna attended Friday's fair and was most attracted to the high wages offered by the job.
Alesna has been looking for a job he could work over the summer when he goes home to Illinois. He applied for the census taker position online after hearing about the pay.
He heard about the fair and decided to stop by to get more information about what the job entails.
"It's pretty cool because this only happens like once every 10 years, so I might as well just take the opportunity," Alesna said. "And I heard they needed some people, so I was just like, 'I might as well do it.'"
From Kendrick's experience speaking to previous census takers, he also thinks there's a sense of civic pride when people help fulfill the requirements of the census.
He said he doesn't know details about future job fairs, but he hopes to organize more in the future.
Supervising editor is Kaleigh Feldkamp.