Phoenix Mayor Gallego unveils innovative public-private partnership to support 'iCount 2020' initiative
PHOENIX, Sept. 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Two of the world's leading technology companies have partnered with the City of Phoenix in support of the iCount 2020 campaign with an innovative digital effort that will help reach historically undercounted communities in Phoenix for the 2020 U.S. Census. The partnership is especially timely with the introduction of the country's first-ever online census.
On Thursday, accompanied by City Council colleagues, census officials and business partners, City of Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego announced the city's milestone public-private partnership with Cisco and Microsoft to power Phoenix census outreach with 2020 Census Outreach Vehicles outfitted with state-of-the-art technology.
"This public-private partnership with Cisco and Microsoft is the first known census partnership nationwide aimed at bridging the potential of a digital divide in anticipation of the nation's first-ever online census," said City of Phoenix Mayor Gallego.
Six City of Phoenix "2020 Census Outreach Vehicles" outfitted with Cisco and Microsoft cutting-edge technology will travel throughout the city offering a one-stop shop for 2020 Census information and participation. The census-branded vehicles will visit Phoenix's most undercounted neighborhoods engaging individuals with census information through June 2020. The vehicles will be mainstays at community venues and sporting events.
The repurposed former city Dial-a-ride vans are wired with impressive digital capabilities and will be especially useful during the enumeration phase when low-response areas will be monitored in real-time. The goal is to have the vehicles easily and quickly deployed to these communities to conduct outreach and to help people complete their online census form.
"This census digital technology will be critical to a complete count in the community and we are proud to partner with the City of Phoenix on this unique project, providing people who interact with the outreach vehicles a positive experience through high-performing connectivity," said Kyle Thornton, Education Portfolio Manager for the Cisco Foundation.
"Microsoft is pleased to provide technology to help the iCount 2020 campaign. Equipping the 2020 Census Outreach Vehicles with user-friendly tablet computers will provide a way of further educating residents on all aspects of the census and also facilitate access to the online census form should residents lack hardware and connectivity," said Paul Englis, Senior Program Manager for the Microsoft Datacenter Community Development team.
Additional partners with Cisco and Microsoft include two local small businesses, Quality Vans & Specialty Vehicles and Pride Group, LLC. These businesses are among locally-owned and operated organizations the City of Phoenix has partnered with to achieve an accurate population count in the 2020 census.
In the planning stages for months, iCount 2020 is a regional campaign of the Maricopa Association of Governments of which the City of Phoenix is a partner. Besides broad community outreach, iCount includes an interactive and social-media friendly website, icount2020.info, targeted advertising to diverse audiences and a public relations campaign to promote robust awareness in achieving a successful census count in 2020.
Thursday's event held at the historic Orpheum Theatre marked the official reveal of the census outreach vehicles. It was held in partnership with the Phoenix Hispanic Network's celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The City of Phoenix is currently developing a schedule for neighborhood and event appearances of the Mobile Census Vehicles. Community members are encouraged to snap a photo of the vehicles when they spot them in their neighborhoods and share the photo on their social media channels with the hashtag #iCount2020 as a means of supporting the campaign.
The census plays a major role in the quality of life in communities around the U.S., including Arizona. It determines the number of seats each state receives in Congress and shapes decisions about how public funds are spent for roads, schools, hospitals, emergency services and so much more.
Each year, the U.S. government distributes $675 billion to cities and states around the nation. If Arizona achieves an accurate and complete population count, the state stands to receive roughly $20 billion. That's nearly $3,000 for every person counted.
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