Morristown Alumnae Chapter Member Wraps Up 2020 Census Role
By Melviena Miller-Drew
When Ernestine Cash accepted employment as a field support/office operations supervisor for the 2020 U.S. Census in October 2019, she never imagined her 22 years of senior management experience with AT&T would be tested by a global pandemic.
Cash’s engagement began in normal fashion. As many as 750 field employees were supported by her and her counterparts in the area census office, each charged with enumerating (or counting) the number of individuals within households and group quarters such as nursing homes, prisons, and colleges in various communities in Morris, Hunterdon, Passaic, Sussex and Warren counties in New Jersey. Cash ensured the field staff received proper training, checked their availability to work, and helped them with issues in the field.
“When no one would answer the door, or someone informed the enumerator that he or she had already completed the census online, I would advise the enumerator on how to handle the situation,” Cash stated.
In addition to field staff support, Cash also provided daily reports to the regional office on the progress being made in the area office enumeration efforts and supervised the work of office clerical personnel.
Then, COVID hit.
COVID ushered in a lot of unknowns, according to Cash. “The coronavirus put our operations on hold for approximately three months. Ultimately, the supervisory staff had to figure out how to recall the employees safely, determine which ones needed to be retrained before going back into the field, and devise a contactless process.”
Due to COVID, field employees had to communicate with Cash by phone since they were not allowed inside the office. The enumerators also used government-issued smart phones to receive system-generated lists of cases to enumerate for the day.
COVID challenges aside, Cash found her role with the U.S. Census to be rewarding. “The U.S. Census performs a critical function for the country. Our efforts allow individuals to receive necessary resources and ensure fair representation in Congress.”
Donning multiple hats, Cash also co-owns the BUS (Black Universities Supply) Shop in Plainfield, New Jersey. The BUS Shop provides personalized production of apparel and embroidery services for individuals, schools, sports teams, family reunions, church groups, professional associations, and Greek-letter organizations.
A graduate of Michigan State University, Cash was initiated into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, at Epsilon Epsilon Chapter. She has been an active member of Morristown Alumnae since 1987, serving as chapter president, vice president, treasurer, parliamentarian, and nominating chair.
By Melviena Miller-Drew When Ernestine Cash accepted employment as a field support/office operations supervisor for the 2020 U.S. Census in October 2019, she never imagined her 22 years of senior management experience with AT&T would be tested by a global pandemic. Cash’s engagement began in normal fashion. As many as 750 field employees were supported …