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CONTRIBUTED (From left) NW-SCC President Dr. Glenda Colagross, assistant dean Crystal Reed and coordinator of career services Amanda Peters join with state officials to kick off the system’s 2020 Census efforts in Montgomery last week.

Northwest-Shoals joins ACCS to kick off 2020 Census efforts

Last week Northwest-Shoals Community College joined Alabama’s community colleges to begin the 2020 Census efforts with a kick-off meeting and rally at the Alabama Community College System office in Montgomery.

Representatives from Alabama’s 24 community colleges, state officials and U.S. Census Bureau staff joined together to launch the community college’s Alabama Counts effort and coordinate ideas to get students, faculty, staff and community members involved with the 2020 Census.

Last month the ACCS was awarded an $80,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to establish help centers on ACCS colleges’ campuses and Adult Education sites where community members can come to fill out the census. In addition, Alabama’s community colleges will conduct awareness events across the state.

With more than 130 locations across the state, Alabama’s two-year colleges are well-positioned to assist the state with efforts to obtain a full and accurate count in the 2020 census.

Community colleges also have a vested interest in an accurate count, as they rely on federal funding to help support many student and community programs that are impacted by the census count. More than 60 percent of Alabama’s community college students receive financial aid, which includes Pell Grants, a federally-supported aid program.

“Our colleges serve more than 174,000 students each year,” said ACCS Chancellor Jimmy H. Baker, “and when combined with our more than 9,000 employees in every corner of the state, it is evident that the ACCS can have a significant impact on Alabama’s 2020 census count.

“We are not only committed to ensuring that every student and employee at our colleges is counted,” Baker added. “Community is in our name, and it’s important that we help educate Alabamians in communities across the state on the importance of the census and provide avenues that assist with completion.”

NW-SCC President Dr. Glenda Colagross echoed Baker’s sentiments.

“Northwest-Shoals is invested in our community, and we want to do everything possible to make sure every northwest Alabamian is counted,” said Colagross. “We cannot risk losing possibly two congressional seats and billions of dollars in federal funding for the state, which supports education.”

For the first time, individuals will be able to respond online, as well as by phone or by mail.

Letters encouraging residents to complete the census should be mailed between March 12-20. The official census opens for completion April 1, which is Alabama Census Day.

For more information visit www.census.alabama.gov. Sign up to receive reminders and additional information on the Alabama 2020 Census via text message by texting COUNT or CENSO to 205-304-5505.

For more information about the Alabama 2020 Census contact Amanda Peters in the NW-SCC Career Center at 256-331-8121 or amanda.terry@nwscc.edu.