The 2020 Census and How Cognosante Plays a Role


July 24, 2020

We met with Israel E. Chavez, Program Manager from Civilian’s Black Turtle Services (BTS) group, to gather insight on our work in support of the 2020 Census. As a key component to how our nation’s communities are supported by government programs and funding, the Census is required every 10 years and provides a population count of every person living in the United States.

1. Can you briefly describe the 2020 Census—what it is and why it is important?

As the primary source of quality data concerning the nation’s economy and population, the Census Bureau routinely collects statistical information from individuals and establishments to inform decisions on how billions of dollars are allocated annually for critical public services like roads, schools, hospitals and healthcare clinics, fire and emergency response services, and more.

The Census Bureau takes a Decennial Census of the population every ten years, conducts censuses of economic activity from state and local governments every five years, and collects demographic data from surveys such as the American Housing Survey (AHS), conducted every other year. ​Other recurring surveys occur more frequently. On an as-requested basis, the Census Bureau also conducts Special Censuses for state and municipal sponsors.

The 2020 Census will determine congressional representation, inform hundreds of billions in federal funding every year, and provide data that will impact communities for the next decade. School lunches. Plans for highways. Support for firefighters and families in need. Census results affect your community every day.

2. How does Cognosante play a role in the 2020 Census?

The Census Bureau operates six permanent Regional Offices (ROs), which manage Census activities for current surveys, periodic surveys, and Special Censuses. ​To support the upcoming Decennial Census, there are an additional six temporary Regional Census Centers and approximately 250 Area Census Offices slated to open. Each of these offices have several administrative personnel who must use an end-to-end recruiting, assessment, and learning technology solution to complete their new hire onboarding.

In 2019-2020, an estimated 5,500 to 6,000 Census Bureau administrative personnel will access and use the system while an estimated four million* applicants and 490,000 hires will access the system. Cognosante plays a key role in providing contact center support to all administrative personnel, applicants, and new hires who need assistance with onboarding and training tasks like password resets or learning the Recruiting & Assessment or the Learning Management Systems.

3. What does program longevity look like?

The program started in June of 2019 and is expected to last until September 2020. Given everything that has happened with COVID-19, we will soon learn if the period of performance will be extended.

4. Can you provide some fast facts about the call center support team?

Our team in McAllen, Texas comprises 105 Customer Service Representatives, who have taken more than 172,600 calls from June 2019 thru May 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, Census operations were paused at the ROs and expected to resume in late summer. In the meantime, our team has transitioned to work from home and continues to refine their phone skills, master troubleshooting guides, and standard operating procedures. A percentage of our staff is also bi-lingual and assists callers in Spanish as-needed.

It is a pleasure and great opportunity to work on such an important effort which only takes place every 10 years in our nation. The team is very aware and proud of how their efforts support the overall mission of the Census Bureau.