Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Offered without comment: President Obama confronted by unemployed engineer family

Via @UnstableIsotope, the reality of unemployed STEM (how I dislike that term!) workers:
President Obama vowed to take a look at a Fort Worth woman’s husband’s resume on Monday in an attempt to help him find a job. 
Participating in the first-ever virtual interview on the social networking site Google+, Obama was asked by Jennifer Weddel why her husband, a semiconductor engineer, is unable to find a job. (The Fort Worth woman also inquired why the government continues to extend H1B visas when there are many Americans without jobs.) 
In the beginning, Obama told Weddel that her husband “should be able to find something right away.” Unconvinced, Weddel kept pressing. 
“Send me your husband’s resume,” Obama said, after the woman voiced her frustration. “I will follow up on this.”  
“I’ll have to take you up on that,” Weddel responded with a smile.
Best wishes to Mrs. Weddel and her husband. 


  1. That was on the daily show. I believe it was that same woman who also asked Obama to dance. This is what unions used to do get labor. A national union USED to be in positions of influence to at least catch the political ear, and it's not just Intel, Apple, IBM etc. perpetually giving their perspective with no counter argument from labor.

  2. Sorry, too much going on here today to adequately, proof. I was just trying to articulate that labor unions used to be a political lobby for skilled and semi-skilled labor so that our government isn't just inundated with the special interest of big business.

  3. CJ: The Apple story (from the NY times) that you pointed out to many had left a very sober feeling that many jobs including that of chemists are gone forever! So too the semi-conductor jobs! Hmm.. I wonder how come you did not get the Mr. Obama invite to express that pent up anger and frustration of the organic and other chemists.

  4. For those who may be interested, Clair Brown has studied labor economics in the semiconductor industry for years...

    From my perspective, it's a sucky industry that requires specializations that quickly become obsolete. I sincerely hope Mr. Weddel finds something better.

  5. The difference between what elected officials here (we can't find qualified engineers!) and what people actually experience is so stark on display here. Who is out there representing the point of view of the everyday scientists especially the unemployed/underemployed ones? I feel that the ACS is not representing that side of things. Is chemistry unemployment really only 3% or so? Who talks about pharma's great recession?

  6. STEM always makes me think of scanning transmission electron microscopy, which then makes me disappointed that there aren't more jobs out there for a good microscopist.

  7. Obama has been very active in increasing the number of H1B visas granted in STEM.

    Too many are yelling "shortage" to increase the number of H1B visas, drive up supply, and drive down scientific wages. Experience is considered a liability for many STEM jobs. What company will hire someone with 10 years experience, when grad schools are pumping out more and more specialized 'fresh' PhDs for current trends in the industry? The government will ensure a large supply of J1 visas for all these horrible 'shortages' of people to waste their youth in graduate school for an opportunity to be permanently laid off at age 40-55. No job if you have 10-20years experience! Never mind if the field is extremely easy for you to learn with your experience, we want a PhD/postdoc who specialized specifically in the sub-sub-subfield that is on the posting!

    Thing is if 'shortage' keeps incresing the number of H1Bs the government will eventually create a shortage of willing scientists. Who would chose to be in the lab when they can easily make six figures being a businessman? Those are the types of jobs which politicians and corporations will never cry 'shortage! Quick increase the H1Bs!!!"

  8. Considering the going rate for salaries, it's obvious to me America has a shortage of MBA's, lawyers, and finance types. If some 32-year-old PhD chemist is making 25k a year as a post-doc, that doesn't look like a shortage to me!

  9. Wait until all the MBAs & finance types find their jobs outsourced (seriously, what's stopping it? A lot of it is computer-based these days). Then maybe we'll get some action.

    Exactly, Anon @ 3:54 PM, every time I see something about an engineer shortage/need more H1Bs my mind says a job shortage in low-payed, high-educated workers.

  10. ah, but 'outsourced' MBAs are 'consultants' located in the US. 'Consultants' demand premium pay.