It's 2020, and once again time for the census that takes place every ten years. Before anyone says, "I don't have time for that", or "what does it matter anyway?" The results are kind of important, as they're used to determine each state’s representation in Congress and the distribution of more than $650 billion in federal funding for public education, public housing, roads and bridges, and more.

Granted, trying to administer this census in 2020, the year of the pandemic, couldn't be worse timing. It's presents many challenges, but it's also very important that we have a complete count. That's why local leaders are encouraging area businesses to participate in the "Take 5" census initiative by providing employees with access to the internet, computers or tablets, to take a five-minute break during their workday, Wednesday, August 5 to complete the census form.

According to a news release, City of Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart came up with the "Take 5" initiative and reached out to City of Cedar Falls Mayor Rob Green, Grow Cedar Valley CEO Cary Darrah and Brian Schoon of the Black Hawk County Complete Count Committee to partner on the project. “Having businesses give employees online access and time to complete the census is one more way to reach the hard-to-count communities,” said Mayor Hart. “These communities are often under-served and in most need of the federal, state and local funds allocated per census data to provide a safety net of services.”

Every household in Iowa has received census information in the mail. There are multilingual options to complete the census by phone, mail or online. It takes just a few minutes and responses are completely confidential. If you've lost the letter with the unique census I.D., participation is still possible by visiting 2020census.gov or by phone.

“We encourage Cedar Valley businesses to participate in the Take 5 program Aug. 5 to help get their employees’ households counted." said Darrah. The deadline to take part in the census is Oct. 31, 2020.

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