Area preps for upcoming census

ESCANABA — The 2020 United States Census is about a year away, and local government officials and other people active in the community have been getting ready. The first official meeting of what has been dubbed the “Community Census Planning Committee” was held at the Delta County Service Center Wednesday.

“We had about 10 individuals attend the meeting,” Delta County Administrator Philip Strom said.

Representatives of Delta County, the City of Escanaba, Michigan Works!, the Community Foundation for Delta County and the League of Women Voters were present at the meeting, which according to Strom, covered a variety of topics.

“First of all, we established and reiterated the importance of getting an accurate census count for Delta County and the State of Michigan,” he said.

Census data can have both an impact on grant availability and political implications for Delta County and the state as a whole, Strom said. He added Michigan was affected politically by the 2010 census.

“Michigan as a state lost a representative for the United States House of Representatives,” he said.

Next, current efforts by community organizations to prepare for the 2020 census were discussed.

“The Community Foundation for Delta County has applied for minigrants together with the Michigan Nonprofit Association to help provide resources related to the census efforts,” Strom said.

While the exact nature of these resources has not yet been determined, Strom said they will consist of educational resources and resources focused on raising community awareness of and engagement with the census. He also said securing the grants and choosing the resources they will fund will be an important part of preparing for the 2020 census in Delta County.

Michigan Works! gave the committee an update on its preparatory efforts for the 2020 census. In Delta County, the organization is working to fill 27 jobs for the census.

“They’ve received 32 qualified applicants at this point,” Strom said.

Finally, Strom said the committee looked at a long-term schedule for further census planning and brainstormed ways of having broader community engagement.

“We’re looking at which additional community stakeholders we should invite to future meetings,” he said.

The committee’s next meeting will be held on Monday, June 24 at the Delta County Service Center from 2 to 4 p.m.