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General Update

The Census Bureau hosted a live operational press briefing at the National Press Club on April 1 to mark the one year out milestone from the 2020 Census. The communications campaign platform was unveiled at the event: “Shape your future. START HERE.” This platform will be used in advertising, digital marketing and public relations activities.

The Census Bureau conducted media vendor days in New York City on April 3 and in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, on April 5 to educate media vendors about the campaign and Request for Proposal (RFP) process. The events were designed for media outlets that cover a wide range of audiences, demographics, and channels, as well as media outlets that are small businesses and women- or minority-owned. The upfront media buys negotiations also began in April.

We have added staff and adjusted the process to ensure we meet the June 30 goal of hiring 1,501 partnership specialists. We have moved to using continuous postings rather than individual postings per position and have doubled the number of human resources specialists in the regional offices, going from six to 12, and soon there will be three times the original number of HR specialists in the regional offices (by adding another six in the coming weeks). Also, we have now added 72 trained analysts who will work exclusively on field hiring. With these changes in place, we expect to see an uptick in hiring in the near future.

The Census Bureau has 38 of 39 Wave 1 area census offices (ACOs) that are “ready for business.” We are continuing to experience construction buildout issues with the landlord of the Birmingham, AL, site. We have developed alternative methods to manage operations for this location through other established offices. The opening of the Wave 1 ACOs was scheduled to be completed by the end of March, however, the delay of this last office has no negative impact on operations.

There are 207 of 208 Wave 2 ACO sites with a lease and signed occupancy agreement in place. The original Cook County South site’s lease was rescinded. The General Services Administration has identified a preliminary backup location and is working to provide an updated timeline for the transition. The 208 ACOs are scheduled to open between June and September. The Census Bureau is planning to implement contingencies in the event these delays continue, which include launching early ACO activities from alternate ACO locations and using existing space in regional offices and regional census centers.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on April 23 about the legality of including a question about citizenship on the 2020 Census questionnaire. A ruling is expected by the end of June, in time for the 2020 Census printing deadline on July 1.

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