OWOSSO TWP. — Those who attend an event coming up July 29 will get a chance both to interview for a job and receive information about the 2020 Census.

The combination job fair/2020 Census event is set for 2 to 6 p.m. July 29 at the D’Mar Banquet & Conference Center, 1488 N. M-52. The cost is free to employers and job candidates, and coronavirus-related health precautions will be in place.

As of Friday, 11 employers had signed up, including Williamston Products and National Composites. A presentation to remind people to fill out their census forms — either on paper, a smart phone or computer — will be a large part of the event.

“We’re stressing the census because we’re trying to get the word out there and get a census response,” said Becky Zemla, coordinator for Capital Area Community Services in Owosso.

A CACS committee composed of community leaders and groups are spearheading the event, with 180 Associates organizing it. The event is being funded with a small grant earmarked for census activities.

On June 25, residents in Bennington Township were topping the census response in Shiawassee County, with 80.4 percent of households reporting. Hazelton, Middlebury, Sciota and New Haven townships are all above 79 percent, Zemla said.

In fact, all but three cities, villages and townships are over 70 percent. Across Shiawassee County, the overall response rate is 73.2 percent.

But there remain three sections of the county that are “extremely under” the average response rate: the Westown area, and Perry and Vernon townships, she said.

“It’s essential that we (fill out the census),” Zemla said, “because it brings dollars into the community to address roads and all kinds of issues that need to be addressed. The schools depend on this. It makes everyone’s life easier.”

And it’s easy to do, she said.

“It takes maybe five minutes of your time; maybe 10,” she said. “You can fill it out on your phone, computer or on paper.”

In addition to helping the government allocate local funds based on population and other demographics, census information helps health providers predict the spread of diseases through communities with children or elderly people.

When disasters hit, Census data tells rescuers how many people will need their help. Census numbers help market industries reduce financial risk and locate potential markets.

Emily Varney, a partnership specialist at the U.S. Census Regional Center, is set to be the featured speaker during a brief Census 2020 presentation that starts at 2:30 p.m.

Regarding the job fair, many area employers are looking to hire new workers as the local economy recovers, Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership President/CEO Justin Horvath said.

“A lot of companies are hiring. The economy is definitely coming back,” Horvath said. “I regularly hear from employers, telling me I need to get the word out about their openings. Most businesses have reopened and getting back at it. There’s so much opportunity out there right now”

In addition to Williamston Products, National Composites and Josh’s Frogs are among the employers who will attend, with each conducting as many as 12 short interviews with candidates.

Job candidates must register with a participating employer for an interview prior to the event. They can look for updates on participating employers and pre-registration on the SEDP or Argus-Press Facebook page.

Social distancing, masks, hand sanitizers and other precautionary measures encouraged by the Centers For Disease Control for public events will be strictly enforced. Free masks will be available. Employers are limited to 15, and interviews will be divided among three banquet rooms to avoid too-large gatherings.

“We’re going to be hard about (the safety) end of it,” Zemla said. “We want everyone to be safe.”

“It’s going to be safe,” Horvath agreed. “We have a lot of challenges (with the virus). But people who are looking for work, please plan to attend.”

More employers are sought. There is no cost to participate in the fair; however, employers are asked to post the official Census 2020 graphic on their company social media outlets or company website.

Agencies that are not currently hiring but wish to disseminate information about programming and services can sign up for the event at docs.google.com/forms/d/1vhaUXo0rlKsVUh0SXF7B334ZfMFpa4fLVoCraWpY-Pg/viewform?edit_requested=true.

For details, call (561) 818-0234.

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