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2010 Census committee focuses on training

ALBANY -- Members of a committee helping to organize efforts to promote participation in the 2010 census, focused their attention Wednesday on ensuring their own members are properly trained.

During the organization's meeting Wednesday, Complete Count Committee Co-Chair Howard Brown told members in attendance that training by officials with the U.S. Census Bureau would likely be set up for sometime next week, so that subcommittee members and others could know how best to inform the general public on the decennial event.

Bob Hutchinson, who has been going around the city and county speaking to various neighborhood associations, said that he has been buffeted with questions related to the legitimacy of the census workers that will be knocking on doors next April.

"I've had questions from people about whether they will have badges or some identifying materials so that they know that they are legitimate," Hutchinson said.

Census workers will, in fact, be carrying special ID cards when they begin canvassing the streets, but the priority is answering the 10-question mail-out cards, officials say.

"If you answer the cards and mail them back in, then no one will come and knock on the door then. They only come knocking when people don't return their cards," Brown said.

The committee is trying to organize an effort to get the word out about the count, which will ultimately determine how many political representatives area residents will have and how much state and federal funding Albany and Dougherty County receives.

The biggest challenge so far, Howard says, is ensuring the public that the information they give is confidential and safe. The Census Bureau maintains confidentiality for 72 years, he said.