PACE News
(Professional Activities Committee for Engineers)

Reg. 3 PACE Report
 
At the April SOUTHEASTCON in Columbia, SC, twenty-two section PACE leaders or other officers participated in two days of PACE orientation and training that concluded with a presentation on member benefits from the Financial Advantage Program staff.
 
A presentation for sections will be given at Sections Congress 2002 on the need and motivation for continuing education for engineers, with tips on how to organization education programs. Speakers will be George McClure and John Meredith. Another session will discuss the IEEE Code of Ethics and lessons learned from recent corporate examples of "pushing the envelope". Speakers will include Prof. Charles Turner, chair of the Ethics & Member Conduct Committee, Wally Read, past chair of the Ethics Committee, and George McClure, past chair of the Member Conduct Committee.
 
Focus now is on the unemployment problem. A survey was completed in August of IEEE unemployed members. The complete results will be posted on the IEEE-USA Web site. There were 758 responses to the survey. Over half had been involuntarily unemployed. Of those who had gotten new positions, the mean duration of unemployment was 49 weeks, with half reporting 38 weeks or less. Since unemployment insurance runs out at 39 weeks (26 weeks for the state benefit and 13 weeks federal), this means that about half the unemployed members had exhausted their unemployment benefits and were in danger of missing mortgage payments. The current rate of mortgage foreclosures is the highest ever recorded. During April, May and June, 1.23% of mortgages — about 640,000 — were in the foreclosure process. That's the highest rate in its 30 years of tracking, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. A year earlier, not even 1% of mortgages were in foreclosure.
 
Members are encouraged to participate in the IEEE-USA grass-roots campaign, writing their congresspeople about their concerns with unemployment and its effect on our citizens and country. See http://www.capwiz.com/ieeeusa/home/
 
Another issue is the refusal last week of the House of Representatives to consider extending the Education Savings Accounts authorization, at $2,000 per year tax-free, past its expiration in 2010. A corollary is the end of the tax-free status for reimbursement by employers of graduate education expenses.
 
The Executive Committee of the Orlando Section has approved a resolution on the issue of limiting guest workers under the H-1B program when the current elevated quota cap expires next year. A variation of this resolution will be circulated to all U.S. sections for consideration and possible approval, after the meeting of the IEEE-USA Career Policy Committee later this month. There are currently almost 1.2 million H-1Bs in the U.S., drawing cumulative annual salaries of $60 billion. In the states represented in Region 3, there are 137,611 guest workers employed, with three states having over 30,000 each: Virginia, Georgia, and Florida.
 
George F. McClure
9/11/02
 
George F. McClure
g.mcclure@ieee.org
Ph. 407-647-5092
Fax 407-644-4076
1730 Shiloh Lane
Winter Park, FL 32789
 
NOTICE TO PACE NETWORK
 
Please share this alert with your local PACE network contacts and encourage
members, whether unemployed or employed, to speak out. Encourage them to
use the IEEE-USA Legislative Action Center to send an email message to
their U.S. Representative and Senators, at: http://capwiz.com/ieeeusa/
 
IEEE-USA ACTION ALERT
 
ENGINEERS NEED TO SPEAK OUT TO
CONGRESS ON UNEMPLOYMENT PROBLEM
 
In the most recent quarter, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics is
reporting that there are over 180,000 unemployed engineers and computer
scientists in the United States. The unemployment rate for all engineers
increased from 3.6 percent in the first quarter of 2002 to 4.0 percent in
the second quarter. The rate of unemployment for electrical and electronics
engineers (EEs) rose from 4.1 percent to 4.8, the highest level ever
recorded for the U.S. EE profession. The rate for computer scientists,
which includes systems analysts, jumped from 4.8 to 5.3 percent. These
trends run counter to the overall national unemployment rate, which dropped
from 5.9 to 5.4 percent during the same period.
 
In a June appeal to Congress, IEEE-USA President LeEarl Bryant asked
Congress to take note of the engineering unemployment problem and to look
more closely into its causes. With Congress returning on September 4 from
its August District Work Period, IEEE-USA needs IEEE U.S. members, whether
employed or unemployed, to help us follow-up on that appeal. We need you to
tell your stories, to educate your U.S. Representative and Senators about
the nature of the problem, and the personal impacts, and to urge them to
take action.
 
One important question you can ask -- why did the United States provide new
H-1B visas to 147,600 guest workers at a time when 180,000+ highly-skilled
U.S. engineers and computer scientists are unemployed?
 
Use the IEEE-USA Legislative Action Center to send a message to your
representatives by e-mail.
 
Follow this link to reach a model message:
http://capwiz.com/ieeeusa/issues/alert/?alertid=435666&type=CO
 
Take action by entering your zip code in the box provided to identify your
representatives in Congress.
 
Personalize the message with your own experiences. Share any responses you
receive with Vin O'Neill of IEEE-USA at v.oneill@ieee.org. Act now!
 
For more information on IEEE-USA's Public Policy activities, see
http://www.ieeeusa.org/forum . For additional background on the H-1B Visa
issue, see http://www.ieeeusa.org/forum/issues/h1bvisa/
    
 

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Updated 09/30/02