Every ten years, The U.S. Census Bureau undertakes a massive task: counting every person currently residing in the United States. While this may seem impossible, the census has been occurring since 1790! The census results determine government fund allocation for programs such as grants, Medicare, and Medicaid and it’s estimated that up to $2,000 is lost every year for states and counties per missing person.
This undertaking requires thousands of census takers to collect census information in every county, city, and state. In order to be hired by the Bureau, applicants must pass a background check which includes scanning fingerprints. The Arc of Harrisonburg and Rockingham (HR) is proud to be among several of The Arcs nationwide who are employing people with disabilities through the operation of a fingerprinting center.
According to Executive Director, Heather Denman, one of the greatest benefits is that it “gives work to individuals that have been seeking employment but were frustrated and weren’t finding any success.” Fingerprint scanning takes place at The Simon-Edmonson Center and currently employs three people including one participant of The Arc (pictured below placing his hand on the fingerprint scanner).
On a larger scale, Census representatives are tasked with closing the accessibility barrier that exists between the national census and the I/DD community. With this in mind, the US Census Bureau has made the questionnaire more accessible than ever by providing braille printing, videos to the questionnaire in sign language, and the option to request an in person visit by a sign language interpreter. Invitations to respond to the census will be mailed out by the Bureau beginning mid-March.