This story was originally published in the August 2019 edition of the Chamber Exchange newspaper. To receive hard copies of the newspaper, contact Director of Communications Emily Gowdey-Backus, in addition, a digital copy can be viewed here.
Everyone counts – at least that’s the message of the Worcester 2020 Census Outreach campaign.
Since 1790, each decade the U.S. Census Bureau has conducted a mandated census to determine the number of people residing within the nation. With the next iteration occurring in 2020, Worcester is gearing up to comply with the federal mandate.
U.S. Census data is vital to the operations of a city like Worcester and is utilized in everything from determining electoral college votes to allocating federal funds.
To reach every resident, the city has implemented a Census Outreach Campaign spearheaded by City Clerk Susan M. Ledoux and Edgar Luna, business development manager in the city’s Executive Office of Economic Development.
Noting the importance of a complete count for Worcester and the return on the community’s well-being, Niko Vangjeli, assistant city clerk and an overseer of Worcester’s 2020 Census implementation, said “Worcester could potentially lose millions in federal funding if we don’t get a complete count.”
The local campaign follows a multidisciplinary outreach plan aiming to identify, inform, and encourage individuals to participate regardless of their age, gender, race, primary language, or citizenship status.
Because Worcester is home to roughly 34,000 college students, multiple ethnic minorities, and recent immigrants, the city’s plan includes dissemination of census information in several languages.
In March, Mayor Joseph M. Petty and City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. launched a Complete Count Committee – a subcommittee of the Census Outreach Campaign – in order to achieve this goal. Various community leaders representing a wide spectrum of socioeconomic segments and diverse populations sit on the council.
Timothy P. Murray, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, is a member. “Everybody has a role to play in raising awareness and ensuring we have a strategy that reaches all facets of the community,” he said.
Emphasizing its importance, Mr. Murray added, “there are dollars attached to a census count that make a difference in quality of life, economic development, and job creation – everyone has a vested interest in that.”
While census distribution will not begin until March 2020, the city’s team will meanwhile attend local events – including the Worcester Caribbean American Carnival and Out to Lunch – to raise awareness.
Dominique Goyette-Connerty is a communications and marketing associate for the Chamber. She can be reached via email.