The city of Marshall is revving up for the 2020 Decennial Census to make sure every resident is counted.

On Thursday, Evie Henson, the 2020 Census Partnership Specialist for the area, gave city commissioners an overview of this decade’s mission as well as employment opportunities available with the Census.

“We have two goals of the 2020 Decennial Census,” said Henson. “Number one is to hire local people to take care of the local Census. And second to make sure everyone, everywhere, in our town and in our counties, complete their Census form in spring of 2020.

“So we are hiring history makers; we are hiring local people to take care of the local Census; and they in turn are going to earn money that is in turn going to add money to our communities,” she said. “They’re going to help our communities grow; they’re going to help our communities get more funding.”

Applicants can apply for temporary positions by visiting the website, 2020census.gov/jobs. The Census is offering paid training, flexible hours and a wage of $14 to $18 an hour, Henson said.

“I encourage everyone to apply,” she said.

According to Census.gov, participating in the Census is important because it counts population and households, providing the basis for reapportioning congressional seats, redistricting, and distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to support states, counties and communities’ vital programs — impacting housing, education, transportation, employment, health care and public policy.

“We want to make sure that we keep the majority of that $675 billion worth of national funds that is distributed every year,” said Henson. “That’s a huge number.

“I want more of that money left here in East Texas because that is my home,” she said. “We know that we want more money in Marshall Texas and Harrison County. We deserve those funds.”

Henson said those funds are needed to promote growth and have fair representation.

“I know that we’ve all seen firsthand personally and professionally what an under-count does in our area,” she said.

Thus, the goal is to have more funding to support law enforcement agencies, schools, health facilities, roads, financial assistance programs, public works and other programs that service the public’s needs.

“Not just for one year but for the next 10 years,” Henson said.

Henson said she looks forward to working with the community to make sure the Census is successful in both the city and county.

“When this Census is done I’d like us all to say that we did everything in our power to make sure that everyone in Marshall, Harrison County was counted once — only once — and in the right place,” she said.

Henson noted that the Census is easier than ever to complete by offering, for the first time, a chance to do it online or by phone.

“And it is only nine simple questions,” she informed.

Residents will still have the option to complete the form by mail, if preferred. The last day to self-respond is July 31. The first day is March 23.

Henson said citizens are also encouraged to join the volunteer Marshall Complete Count Committee that has been formed to help get an accurate Census count.

“One of the key reasons these communities and committees are so effective in raising awareness is because of the members … your knowledge and understanding of what it takes to inspire others in your community,” she said. “We need everyone to be counted in East Texas.”

The specialist said they want to make sure towns have smart growth, steady growth and fair representation in the area.

“March through July, we will need to continue actively engaging all of the demographics and all of our communities, everywhere, to make sure that they complete their Census form,” she reiterated. “We have one shot for the next 10 years to make sure we have more funding here in East Texas.”

By April 1, every household will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census.

Henson said she will work alongside city officials to make sure as many local people are hired for the local Census “and that we have everyone in Marshall and Harrison County complete their Census form from April 1 through July 31.”

Stormy Nickerson, communications coordinator for the city, said it’s been a delight to assist the Marshall Complete Count Committee with the effort.

“We are working together with business, faith-based, education and hard to reach groups here in Marshall,” she informed.

She said the diverse members realize that they have an opportunity now through July to make sure they’re reaching everyone, including employees of businesses and even college students, who make Marshall their home six months out of the year.

“We realize we have to reach them now,” said Nickerson.

“We want you to understand, as our elected officials, that our college students … if they lay their head in beds six months and one day out of the year in Marshall, Texas, then they are to be counted to Marshall Texas — not in their home cities,” she added. “So we are going to make sure that we work diligently to get them counted.”