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Fisch88 (Chemical) (OP)
25 Aug 11 0:00
How do all of you "not so fresh" engineering grads feel about increasing the number of new grads and then having some sort of "incentive" by the government to hire the newbies?  Are there that many jobs available that currently unemployed engineers can't fill?


 
Helpful Member!  TED7 (Mechanical)
25 Aug 11 7:32
I think politicians seem to mix up 'Creating jobs for people qualified' with 'Creating people qualified for jobs' as the latter is far easier and looks just as good on paper.

Will
Sheffield UK
Designer of machine tools - user of modified screws

SomptingGuy (Automotive)
25 Aug 11 7:40
Dyson and BP have recently moaned about the lack of engineering graduates in the UK.

I think (on the Dyson front) it's just PR, trying to quell the hatred that will descend on him when he moves his engineering offshore.

- Steve
 

Helpful Member!  TheTick (Mechanical)
25 Aug 11 9:14
I've been getting calls from recruiters asking for referrals.  I think industry may be hungry for young and cheap talent.  They didn't seem so interested in experienced talent a few months ago, though.
KENAT (Mechanical)
25 Aug 11 10:52
I think Ninja182 may have summarized it pretty well.

I mean, from a "USA Inc" point of view I'd rather see engineering grads than more liberal arts majors (or pick your humanity of most contemptwinky smile) however, I'm not sure it's the best way of doing things, and yes eventually it may de-value us.

Surely supply and demand suggests that if there were lots of well paying Engineering Vacancies that are attractive, there'd be no problem with extra grads getting hired so why would companies need incentives?  Rather than putting effort into more eng grads, and incentives to hire them, why not more effort into getting good grads.  Heck, maybe tighten up on abuse of H1B visas too.

If they'd pay the engineering grads to engineer what they sometimes get paid to 'management consult' or work in the financial sector... then I doubt they'd have much trouble filling jobs.

If you want to 'increase supply' of a skilled profession to benefit the country, why not start with medicine?  (And if they wanted to benefit the country by reducing the supply of some other grads I'd like to start the list with Lawyers, Political Science Majors, afore mentioned liberal artists...winky smile)

While there are undoubtedly other factors at play, how much of this is that the employers advising the govt want to encourage cheap labor?

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

Helpful Member!(3)  ash9144 (Chemical)
25 Aug 11 11:54
Exactly right Ninja.
I remember his speech promoting this facet of his socialist agenda.  And it still makes me angry.  All this is going to do is make it easy for people to get a degree in engineering that have no business getting one.  It will create a bunch of idiot engineers taking jobs, reducing salaries and causing major engineering failures.  Like anything government becomes involved with it will be at the detriment of the rest of us.
 
Helpful Member!(4)  SnTMan (Mechanical)
25 Aug 11 12:13
What ever the effects, we must remember the only real agenda is re-election...
HDS (Mechanical)
25 Aug 11 12:32
Does he explain how this is a jobs program? I thought jobs programs were supposed to create jobs. What is the theory, that engineers invent things and those things create jobs?

As other have said this is backwards. Increase manufacturing and investing in US businesses in the US then there will be more engineering in the US.  
SnTMan (Mechanical)
25 Aug 11 12:57
"Does he explain how this is a jobs program?" - Simple, HIS job.

Don't take your eye off the ball:)
Helpful Member!(2)  cranky108 (Electrical)
25 Aug 11 22:16
I think more economic classes should be required of non-engineers. And maybe enough math to balance a check book too.

If we water down the engineering programs it won't make more jobs for engineers (maybe at McDonalds), but will make more demand for qualified engineers.

There are a shortage of some engineers, but many schools have deleted needed classes for these specilitys. That's where the shortage of engineers mith comes from. Not from the general classes of engineers.
Helpful Member!(3)  moltenmetal (Chemical)
26 Aug 11 9:11
There is no shortage of fresh grad engineers in Canada, and our unemployment rate is lower than that in the US.  In Canada, less than 1/3 of people with engineering degrees actually work as engineers or engineering managers, whereas when surveyed in their 3rd and 4th year, at least 80-90% of engineering students intend to pursue a career in engineering.  Yet as high as your unemployment rate is right now, the situation for your fresh grads is way better than it is here in Canada for one reason only:  your H1B visa program for foreign-trained engineers.  Here there is no such program- there are NO controls over how many engineers arrive here as immigrants versus how many the labour market needs.  Even if only half of those immigrants take jobs which might otherwise be taken by fresh grads, the result would still be devastating.

This is the same old game played again and again by politicians and the business lobby worldwide, and abetted by the publicly-funded educational institutions.  There's a logical error in the reasoning behind doing this.  They argue (correctly) that engineers are important to the economy, but they incorrectly assume that if they increase the number of engineering grads, the economy will do better.  In fact, what we have already and have had for many, many years, is a critical shortage of entry-level positions for fresh engineering graduates, such that most leave the profession immediately upon graduation.

Rather than seeing their role as public servants, the university system see themselves as a "business" which needs to grow at all costs, regardless what is happening to the population.  This is a growing, parasitic drain on our society, yet "education" is the 2nd worship word here behind "health care"- nobody can cut its funding in any way without howls of public protest.

In the 1980s, firms got addicted to not needing to hire young people and train them.  When the labour market tightened a bit in the '90s and engineering salaries started to rise, the major engineering firms cried "shortage!" and lobbied the Federal government to remove the profession-specific quotas on "skilled immigrants".   As a result we got a flood of engineering immigrants so huge that a number equal to Canada's entire engineering graduating class tried to settle in Toronto alone every year from 2001 through 2003.  Immigrant engineers got smart, talked to one another, and stopped coming in such huge numbers- nothing changed on the quota side or the points system and yet their immigration rate dropped from 16,800/yr in 2003 to ~4-5,000/yr where it is now.   So the major engineering employers are now abusing the temporary foreign workers program- the one intended for migrant fruit pickers and other seaonal labour- all in an effort to avoid having to hire young and train them.  

All of this is what happens when a profession becomes a commodity.  I don't see it changing any time soon.      
owg (Chemical)
26 Aug 11 9:26
More engineering graduates does not necessarily mean more engineers. Rowan Atkinson has a masters in electrical engineering but he saw the light. If we end up with more comedians that will be a good thing. I suspect that an ideal training program for comedians is attending a religious school (Rowan went to the Choristers School in Durham which provides the choir for Durham Cathedral, Rowan was a "non-singing chorister") then studying engineering. And then there was Engineer Margaret Thatcher who also got smart after graduation.

HAZOP at www.curryhydrocarbons.ca

cranky108 (Electrical)
26 Aug 11 9:38
It looks like the public universities are failing to provide the tools necessary to the students. And with the number of privite universities, and for profit universities, maybe the real answer is reduce funding for public universities.
In the short time there will be shortages of grads, but in the long run we should get a better qualitity of grads.

After all, do public universities give any stats on the number of grads placed? At least one for profit does.
KENAT (Mechanical)
26 Aug 11 11:06
Erm, wasn't Thatcher a chemist/barrister?

As to comedians, I think our governments already have more than their quota thanks very much.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

StoneCold (Chemical)
26 Aug 11 11:29
I for one would rather have more bartenders.
I hate waiting for a drink!
Faster service, larger bill, more spending, economy fixed.
Same logic they used for adding engineers.

Regards
StoneCold
SnTMan (Mechanical)
26 Aug 11 12:23
StoneCold, wonder if the G'ment could make re-training funds available to engineers that want to become bartenders to make room for the new grad engineers?

Regards,

Mike
monkeydog (Aerospace)
26 Aug 11 13:23
SnTMan,

That recommendation might work out great for Materials and Process Engineers, but what about the rest of us?
cranky108 (Electrical)
26 Aug 11 14:43
Why do we need bartenders anyway? Can't we automate that like we do with bank tellers/ATM machines. I mean something like those coffie machines that add milk, and sugar.

Given such a machine would only do the most popular drinks, simular to the local bartender.

However, we need to keep that cute girl that brings the drinks.

Anyone know how to make a subassembly that inserts umbrellas?
SnTMan (Mechanical)
26 Aug 11 14:46
monkeydog, I don't think the pre-requisites are THAT tough:)
controlnovice (Electrical)
26 Aug 11 17:40
@MoltenMetal: Just worked on a project with Engineering office out of Canada.

90% of the engineers were from Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Asia.  The rest from the UK.  I don't think any of them were naturally born Canadians.

______________________________________________________________________________
This is normally the space where people post something insightful.

Fisch88 (Chemical) (OP)
26 Aug 11 20:31
Some good replies here, thank you to all for posting.  

Another thought along these lines was some comment from Andrew Liveris (Dow Chemical CEO) regarding a shortage of engineers - specifically chemical engineers.  After I stopped laughing and picked myself up off the floor, I poked around on the Dow employment web site.  I really did not see anything on their site indicating a desperate need, I would have expected to see a bunch of open positions, postings on Monster, trade journal classifieds, something like "Chemical engineers . . . . we need YOU!"  I did not see anything like this.  

Then I later read that they wanted chemical engineers with experience in a very specific, narrow field.  Then I was offended because they seemed to be saying we need chemical engineers, we want cheap new grads, specially trained at public or personal expense that are not available, and anybody with experience not in our very specific, narrow field, is unqualified.  I am a P.E., 22 years experience, earned a Master's degree in engineering 2 years ago while working, in various jobs I have made insecticides, food, car batteries, lead oxide powder, semiconductors and flexible circuits, but I am not qualified for Dow???? BAH!  

I think what they really want has been mentioned here already, low cost labor, and I think they will end up getting what they asked for.  I just hope it does not lead to major accidents, and they will find out that costs are ultimately higher due to design errors and oversights.
moltenmetal (Chemical)
26 Aug 11 21:35
Dow shouldn't have trouble finding chemical engineers, even if their pre-recquisite is that they must have previously worked for Dow!
 
satchmo (Mechanical)
29 Aug 11 12:05
Sounds like using tax dollars to increase the number of engineering graduates, and then using tax dollars to subsidize businesses so they can hire them.  What could possibly go wrong?
beej67 (Civil/Environmental)
30 Aug 11 8:08
Rofl.

If they valued engineering so much, they'da given the engineers a bailout instead of the banks.

Clearly what we need is more bankers and lawyers to drag their salaries down instead.

Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

Helpful Member!(3)  lacajun (Electrical)
30 Aug 11 9:43
I know a number of fresh engineering grads that are unemployed 3-4 years out of school.  But I expect most politicians to be clueless liars and conspiring each day of their lives for re-election and the public to eat their fodder.

H1B visas should be eliminated for the duration of the recession and beyond.  If you want to work in this country, citizenship should be the first requirement.  I know foreigners who are working here while Americans are unemployed.  That's wrong but I expect no politician to understand that point.

Engineers need to get involved in public policy making.  That's a small part of a solution.
rowingengineer (Structural)
31 Aug 11 7:50
sorry Lacajun,
but I fail to see how you can broadly brush across all the jobs and say that not having an American in the seat is wrong if there is one wanting it. shouldn't this be a experienced based situation with the best man winning?.

I would also think every other country in the world would just return fire by firing all the Americans working over seas. seems to small pond thinking.   

How could you do anything so vicious? It was easy my dear, don't forget I spent two years as a building contractor. - Priscilla Presley & Ricardo Montalban
 

moltenmetal (Chemical)
31 Aug 11 8:09
rowingengineer and lacajun:  at least the US has the H1B system, which has (at least in theory) a test for determining whether or not the labour need can be met in the local labour market before permitting the firm to reach outside your country to satisfy it.  That test may be flawed, but at least it exists.

In Canada there is no such test for economic immigrants. Immigrants are given a certain number of points for a pre-arranged job, but they can obtain sufficient points to immigrate here purely for economic reasons, even if they have no pre-arranged job.  That's a key problem with our system, and it has led to a great deal of unnecessary suffering here.

It stands to reason that when unemployment is high or the economy is in recession, economic immigration should be curtailed to allow the labour market to catch up.  The much smaller number of refugees and asylum seekers or sponsored family members can stay the same or even be increased if there's a need for it due to some war or other disaster.  Unfortunately, this no longer happens in Canada either.  The numbers have remained the same or increased throughout the most recent recession.  

I sincerely doubt you need to fear other countries turfing out all the American expats if you restrict H1B visas.  What you need to fear, but probably can't do much about, is that very long border you have with a 3rd world country (in this case I'm not talking about Canada...).
TED7 (Mechanical)
31 Aug 11 9:38
Over here in the UK we have our European Union membership. That's completely screwed everyone in my home town. Although I'm yet to meet an engineer who has made use of the situation.

Designer of machine tools - user of modified screws

SnTMan (Mechanical)
31 Aug 11 10:12
lacajun, your view of politicians and mine coincide pertty closely;)
Helpful Member!  mgtrp (Electrical)
1 Sep 11 2:12
"In Canada there is no such test for economic immigrants."
Not quite accurate - see http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/employers/lmo-basics.asp
An LMO may also be required when going for residency, depending on the path taken to get residency.
moltenmetal (Chemical)
1 Sep 11 6:59
mgtrp:  you are quite right- a star for providing the link.  Some very recent and very positive changes have happened that I was unaware of!  

The program you mentioned is for the Canadian equivalent of the US H1B visa, ie. if an employer wants to bring someone in from out of the country to fill a specific position.  This program can be used to bring in people either as permanent residents or as temporary foreign workers.  There is a labour market test (a "labour market opinion") required for consideration under this program, subject to the same kind of concerns mentioned by people in the US who are critical of that system- but at least the test exists in theory.

The system you mentioned, until very recently, existed in parallel to the general "skilled workers" program which allowed 100,000+ principal applicants to immigrate to Canada.  The rules of that "skilled workers" program have changed as of July 1, 2011, such that only people in one of 29 NOC occupation classes are permitted to enter under that program as principal applicants. In each occupation class, only 500 applications will be processed each year.  Architects are on that list of 28, but engineers are NOT currently included.  That's a huge change for the better.

Engineers are still eligible to immigrate, including permanently, but only with a pre-arranged job offer.   
ewh (Aerospace)
1 Sep 11 9:35

Quote (KENAT):

As to comedians, I think our governments already have more than their quota thanks very much.
The problem lies in what kind of comedians they have... they need to get rid of the clowns and bring in more like the late George Carlin and Bill Hicks.  Perhaps not as crude, but with the same attitudes.

"Good to know you got shoes to wear when you find the floor." - Robert Hunter
 

CastMetal (Mechanical)
1 Sep 11 10:30
As with any government program there will be some abuses, but that is not justification to dismantle it entirely. There seems to be a very negative outlook on H-1B visas on this site, when we, the engineering community, are some of its greatest benefactors. I has boosted innovation and helped make the U.S. the technological powerhouse of the late 20th century. Large amounts of the research done in the U.S. over the last 50 years has been done by foreign born scientists and engineers, a third of our nobel prizes, a third of our phds, all increasing our technological advantage in industry and elsewhere.

They are vital to keeping the U.S. on the leading edge of tech given our lackluster education system. While current economic problems have bolstered the argument that they take our jobs, they are not "our" jobs, it's a global economy like it or not. May the best man (or woman) for the job win.

 
http://www7.nationalacademies.org/ocga/testimony/Importance_of_Foreign_Scientists_and_Engineers_to_US.asp

http://www.kauffman.org/entrepreneurship/foreign-born-entrepreneurs.aspx


  

Comprehension is not understanding. Understanding is not wisdom. And it is wisdom that gives us the ability to apply what we know, to our real world situations

KENAT (Mechanical)
1 Sep 11 11:01
CastMetal, I was very careful to say abuse of H1B, not call for an out right ban for some of the reasons you mention.

However, I work at a place that makes (or until recently made) extensive use of H1B visas and honestly, a lot of them smell of indentured servitude for jobs I find it very hard to believe we couldn't have found US based applicants for.

A number of them were interns that came here on a foreign exchange type program and then got offered jobs.  I find it hard to believe there wasn't a newly graduated US student somewhere that could have been persuaded to work in the Santa Barbara for a competitive wage.

Oh, and at least some of them that they tried to get here aren't even all that impressive either.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

CastMetal (Mechanical)
1 Sep 11 11:24
My personal experience with H-1B is limited (haven't seen any engineering "sweatshops" but I believe you they are out there) and I acknowledge it is in need of reform just wanted to make sure its redeeming qualities were at least brought up.

Comprehension is not understanding. Understanding is not wisdom. And it is wisdom that gives us the ability to apply what we know, to our real world situations

cranky108 (Electrical)
1 Sep 11 14:40
Why have a limit anyway?

If a company hires an engineer from another country, then fine. This makes the universities work harder to make there degree programs either better, or deleted.
lacajun (Electrical)
2 Sep 11 0:31
rowingengineer, I know some of the imports.  They are no better than American talent.  I know fresh US graduates that are brighter than imports and unable to find work.  They've taken other jobs because student loans have to be repaid.  I find that unacceptable.

The imports I know plan to return home, by and large.  They've no desire to remain here and become US citizens.

I am not worried about parochial thinking or people accusing me of such.  I'm worried about family members displaced in this downturn and friends, too.  Plus myself.......  It's been about three years for many of them.  I am not too concerned about an import in the States short term beyond wanting them to return home so a fellow American can work and provide for their family and strengthen our country.  After all, our future leaders are the young of today.  They deserve our best.

If imports have no desire to remain and become citizens, why are we training them?  We should be training our own young people for the benefit of their future and the USA.

I am a citizen of the United States of America.  It's the way I think.
moltenmetal (Chemical)
2 Sep 11 8:47
I'm totally OK with immigration- even purely economic immigration- as long as there's a test to ensure that the need can't be filled out of the existing pool of unemployed people.  It seems that we FINALLY have such a test in place here in Canada, after 20 years of allowing large numbers of people to immigrate for purely economic reasons WITHOUT any such test.

The "family class" (family members sponsored by previous waves of immigrants) and refugees and asylum seekers (the legit ones, not the ones playing our system)- these should be allowed in numbers moderated by circumstances- in the former case by the general unemployment rate, and in the latter case based on need.

Unfortunately, the game that's being played at present is "want" versus "need".  They call this the "skills shortage".  To these firms, nobody in the unemployed pool is "qualified" for the work they're offering because the firms aren't interested in training anyone to any extent- why should they?  They haven't needed to for decades!  What they want is a "flexible" labour pool- ie. one that will accept short contracts for no more than they'd pay a full time employee in salary- and the only way they can have that is to have way more job seekers than positions available.  Preferably job seekers without other options, or who view Canada as a chance for a better life and even a really terrible job as a means to get there.  

Because of this definition of "skilled" as "ready to fill the position of someone with 20+ years of experience we laid off last year", they only hire a few fresh grads.  The other 2/3 of the fresh grads find something else to do for money and leave the  profession before they've ever had a chance to enter it.  That's a waste of "human capital", and it's a damned shame. Increasing engineering enrollments under those circumstances is idiotic.

What I'd like to see, and what I think would be the very best thing for the profession of engineering here, is an honest-to-goodness labour shortage.  An actual shortage of labour, not this rubbish "skills shortage" that we apparently have right now.  When whole classes of engineering grads are being recruited before they even graduate, THEN we can talk about raising enrollments.
Helpful Member!  csd72 (Structural)
2 Sep 11 8:48
Maybe they need more engineers to work as actuaries and risk managers for the banking industry.
 
lacajun (Electrical)
2 Sep 11 16:08
csd72, I remember when banks used to be very conservative.  I think we need more engineers in government and banking across the spectrum.  Ones that will stand up for right vs wrong and not be seduced by the money.  Those exist, too, and I talked with one recently.  He knew the debt was wrong but said nothing because he was making too much money and he didn't work in that segment anyway.  But, he made a boatload of money and cashed out before the dung hit the fan.

moltenmetal, I agree with your points.
rowingengineer (Structural)
3 Sep 11 7:30
lacajun,
Thus far in my career I have found a random distribution of peoples abilities, I am yet to see any correlations to place of birth. I find it has more to do with drive/natural talent and the drive/talent can be for many reasons.

How could you do anything so vicious? It was easy my dear, don't forget I spent two years as a building contractor. - Priscilla Presley & Ricardo Montalban
 

lacajun (Electrical)
3 Sep 11 22:37
rowingengineer, I studied statistics at the graduate level so I am well aware of the distribution of IQ and all that jazz.  I have met some imports here that are very bright and some not so bright.  I can't comment on how the not so bright arrived in the US because I am not part of that process nor have I read anything about it.

The USA is my primary concern.  I have family members and friends who are digging exceptionally deep to stay afloat in this recession.  I have helped some of them with my time and money for about 2 years now.  It's not been easy for me either because I've been more unemployed over the last 2.5 years than employed.  That means I am digging deep, too.  So, why would I care about any other country and their citizens coming to the USA to work, when we need to be working in our chosen fields and continuing to progress?

I am not being sarcastic or cold but very realistic.  Some are looking at having everything they've worked for the last 30+ years wiped out because of this recession.  I may be amongst them.  Those are sobering thoughts and positions to view the rest of your life with and from.  It stinks, when you've been responsible, worked hard, lived well within your means, and saved.  I don't even own a TV.

Further, I met two Brits who are working here, who criticized the USA openly and vehemently every chance they got.  Their two beefs with us:  1)  We didn't enter WWII quickly enough, and 2) We are energy hogs and we should be solving China's problems with poverty and energy.

Needless to say, since my dad and uncles served in WWII, their rants about our late entry into that war didn't impress me favorably.  One uncle took a bullet that sent him home.  I've heard other imports talk disparagingly about the USA and its citizens as being pretty darn stupid, greedy, unethical, etc.  That does not make points with me either.  If people don't like it here, they are free to leave.  When I've been abroad, I didn't complain about anything.  People are different and have different ways of doing things.  So what?  That's life and I enjoy life.

When I went to Paris, the French treated me like a second class citizen because I don't know French.  Didn't bother me one bit.  I was just glad to be there!  smile

I love people but some can be a real challenge and require a lot of patience.  Usually, they're worth it.
SomptingGuy (Automotive)
4 Sep 11 5:16
lacajun,

I have been one of those Brits in a former life.  Ask them why they have chosen to desert their home and come to live in the "plastic" USA.  When I finally left the USA, I'd taught a few people about proper beer, proper spelling and a bit of geography.

When I've perfected my time machine, I'll wind it back to '95 and do it all over again.  Living in someone else's country is a mind opener.

You are energy hogs.

WW2 was a bit of a problem.  But then again, Brit always bang on about the World Cup (footie game, when we apparently beat the hun in the 60's)

- Steve
 

csd72 (Structural)
5 Sep 11 6:58
lacajun,

You guys are energy hogs and the USA only entered world war 2 when Pearl Harbour made it 'personal'. Sorry to hear about your relatives but plenty of people died before the US got involved.

But I really think that if people choose to live in a country they should accept it 'warts and all' and not continually critisize it. Though perhaps the reason why foreigners are so critical of the US is because you Americans are not critical enough yourselves (you critisize the individuals but not the country).
rowingengineer (Structural)
5 Sep 11 16:16
lacajun,
While I can understand your thinking it doesn't cover the situation these days. Truth is that this is a global economy, with a global work force. While you may have a few low level positions being given to imports, you will only make more companies move offshore by reducing the availability of a work force, This is forgetting that a lot of companies are foreign owned and generally they have foreign directors and upper management. There is no magical fix for the situation.  

How could you do anything so vicious? It was easy my dear, don't forget I spent two years as a building contractor. - Priscilla Presley & Ricardo Montalban
 

CRG (Mechanical)
6 Sep 11 0:53
I am not in favor of central planning.  As such, I am not in favor of any federal government sponsored program to subsidize any facet of our education system.  Look what happened to the cost of education since the federal government has been significantly involved in education.  From 1986 to the present, tuition has increased 450% while the overall consumer prices have increased about 100%.  If you do a little research regarding the costs, financial aid, and the regulatory environment of universities, you will see the problem.            
CastMetal (Mechanical)
6 Sep 11 9:53
CRG,

While costs of university have increased dramatically it is not necessarily just a "problem". It was a conscious decision made that higher education should be made more accessible. That accessibility in the form of Pell Grants and larger/easier student loans has unintended but not unforeseen consequences. Many Universities have acceptance rates around 60%, raising tuition levels will not significantly effect enrollment numbers and gives them little reason to maintain lower tuition. They will always want higher tuition for more programs, buildings, and bigger budgets. While I'm sure there are many other factors to be considered the biggest one in my view is accessibility=money if you want to change that you will need government intervention.

Comprehension is not understanding. Understanding is not wisdom. And it is wisdom that gives us the ability to apply what we know, to our real world situations

CRG (Mechanical)
6 Sep 11 11:35
CastMetal,before the government became involved with grants and loan subsidizes, desire = accessibility.  My mother worked her way through Columbia University working as a waitress in the mid 1930s.  No government subsidized loans, no family support, no Pell Grants, etc.  What she had was desire and personal responsibility.  Now we have almost the opposite and a decline in the graduation rate.  Is this value?

Furthermore, this government intervention has created the hidden tax that sets the cost of higher education.  Would it be acceptable for any other business to base the cost of service on a relative's assets?  Picture this, you are a independent 18 years old and go to the Ford dealership to buy a car only to find that the sticker prices are marked up 50% more than they should be.  They ask to see your parents financial records such that the dealership can determine how much of a discount you are entitled to.  Is this equal access or just a unjust tax where your rate is based on a relative's income/assets?

CastMetal, your comment "accessibility=money if you want to change that you will need government intervention" is based on the misconception that the problem wasn't created by the government involvement to start with.  Stop the federal subsidizes and the cost of education will drop where those that have the desire can afford to purchase the service.  Currently, the typical program is to enslave those who go to school with student loans such that the graduates are really indentured servants.           
CastMetal (Mechanical)
6 Sep 11 13:53
I don't dispute some of what you say, 35% dropout is appalling, it is a hidden tax, it is a government created issue, and yes the loans students are saddled with are nearly unbearable for those in fields that don't earn top dollar (journalism, non-profits, education).

However enrollment is up to over 70% of highschool grads in recent years, (from 50% in the 80's). The money isn't disappearing it is reinvested into the campuses, research, professors, etc.  It is not the most desirable situation to be sure but it was done intentionally to improve enrollment rates. In this the government succeeded.

Taking the government out of the picture is not a cure all, prices may fall but so will enrollment, particularly among lower income families. Then many will be bemoaning the unfair system that favors the rich and contributes to america's  lagging education system. Some situations do call for further regulation to mitigate unintended consequences.

Before you get all up in arms, IMHO vocational/tech/community schools are underutilized and much more reasonable for the majority of people looking at higher education with no clear goals for at least the first two years. Universities would provide superior "value" as you put it, if they stopped dumping everyone with no clear major into liberal arts or business degree programs that the labor market has no need for. Unfortunately convincing people that less (Community College) may be more (Return On Investment) is a long road where the path to success is viewed as going through college.

  

Comprehension is not understanding. Understanding is not wisdom. And it is wisdom that gives us the ability to apply what we know, to our real world situations

mauricestoker (Mechanical)
6 Sep 11 14:43
CSD72,

I thought the British only got involved in WWII because Neville Chamberlain misplaced his umbrella.



 
cranky108 (Electrical)
6 Sep 11 14:53
Apperently high school economics isen't recieved very well. Or the teaching isen't very good.

Or just maybe they are teaching bogus theorys.

In a recent edition of Forbes, they were showing universities in other countries where they teach classes in English, and are less expencive than in the US.

But does it matter much, as on-line universities should start taking away from brick and mortor schools.
moltenmetal (Chemical)
7 Sep 11 8:14
OK, my hope was short-lived.  Whereas the Canadian federal government has finally restricted economic immigration without a labour market "means" test of some sort, the Ontario Liberal party is now campaigning for re-election with a policy to offer $10,000 to companies who give a foreign-trained professional their first job in Canada.  This is rapidly becoming a wedge issue between parties, with people who are against this blatantly discriminatory policy being branded anti-immigratn xenophobes.  

Sadly, it's to a great extent the children of the last generation of immigrants who will be competing against this proposed subsidy for the few entry-level jobs that remain. $10,000 is about 20% of the first year's salary of an entry-level engineering grad here- and there will be no such matching subidy for the fresh grads.  Such are the politics of a nation of immigrants and their children...
josephv (Mechanical)
7 Sep 11 14:27
Hi Moltenmetal,

Hope all is great. I share several concerns with the programme you mention. However, I think there are some details worth mentioning regarding this programme. Here is a portion of the press release:

"The Ontario Liberal plan contains a commitment to offer businesses a tax credit, worth up to $10,000 to subsidize training costs for skilled newcomers."

"Skilled newcomers often need on-the-job experience in order to qualify for the Ontario certification in their field of expertise."

Frankly, I don't see how this programme is a "blatantly discriminatory policy" when you consider new grads in Ontario already benefit or benefitted from a heavily subsidized education starting in kindergarten all the way to post-secondary, continuing education, adult career retraining and often have the certification/training that many new immigrants don't have. In comparison to get some perspective the tax credit is really a drop in the bucket. Furthermore, the $10,000 is not a blank cheque it's for the Canadian employer to invest in training.

Personally, I believe there probably are better options for reducing unemployment than this particular programme. However, like many issues the details are important and should be discussed.
 
lacajun (Electrical)
7 Sep 11 19:30
One economist believes Obama is going to announce another stimulus as his jobs plan.

I think a country should invest in its own young people first.  I've seen companies say they will train but not train.

CRG, I am with you.  A couple of years ago, I listened to Arne Duncan tell a group of youngsters that the Dept. of Education had not done too good for about 25 - 30 years.  The man didn't blush at all.  That's about as long as it has been in existence but he didn't point that out.  No one brought that point up.  It's a failing department and US international test scores are proof.  Those scores don't stop them from pouring more money into it.

I know the US is an energy hog.  We've had cheap energy most of my life and I've enjoyed it.  The older I get the more I enjoy it.

I know the USA isn't perfect.  But, as "plastic" as it is and as bad as others think it is, I love and accept my country warts and all.  I am a firm believer in our Constitution and its exceptional status in world history.  There are many things I would change, given an opportunity, which I am trying to do in my own little sphere of influence via local politics.  Some of the things I would do would not popular internationally but I wouldn't care.  Our problems are pretty darn deep right now so we need to focus on things at home first.  That is common sense to me.

A man who believes he can "solve" another family's problems while his own family's problems are ignored by him is an extremely codependent man.  The way I think, that can be extrapolated to all kinds of entities, beyond the individual, such as nations.  The USA, in my opinion, is codependent and we need to recognize it and stop that behavior.

I've read a couple of books bashing the USA.  Are their accusations true?  I don't know.  I do know people lie thus a lot of what people publish is not worthy of the paper it's printed on.  I would say The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a prime example of my belief.  I've experienced too many people's lies to think people are incapable of that bad behavior.  It made God's Big Ten List.

WWI was to be the war to end all wars, if memory serves.  It obviously wasn't and we've been in conflicts ever since.  Those are costly.  If you don't think so, read Robert Higgs or listen to him on youtube.  Our Congress has not voted on whether to enter a war in many instances, which is a dereliction of their duty to our Constitution.  I want them to have skin in the game rather than an armchair quarterback position during replays.  They are cowards for abdicating their own Constitutional responsibilities.  In my opinion, they should either put up or shut up in a lot of cases.

I am more of an isolationist like our Founders.  I think people ought to settle their own problems and especially those problems that are squabbles with another nation.  Some of my neighbors don't get along but it's none of my business to intervene, meddle, mend fences, or take sides.  I prefer to be friends with all of them.  Every tub has to sit on its own bottom.
gearguru (Automotive)
7 Sep 11 21:24
Amen, lacajun.
I apologize for talking off topic, but our English friends forgot that their country could take care of Hitler's ambitions in 1938 (with the help of equally heroical French at that time), and not giving him the Central Europe as a gift for (temporary) not moving to the West. I mean the treaty of Munich. Poland must be very grateful to Great Britain too.  
As far as I know the USA started to feed Great Britain with all kind of supplies long before the Pearl Harbor.
 
 
KENAT (Mechanical)
7 Sep 11 21:46
Well of course if the USA hadn't picked up its ball and gone home at the end of the first go round then there may not have been a Nazi Germany in the first place.

However, we can second guess history and play what if's all day long.

Most if not all countries have their faults, if coming to a country means you have to accept all the propaganda spouted about it without question, then it's a pretty sad state of affairs.  After all several founding fathers and early presidents weren't 'natural born'.

Brits tend to 'poke the bear' a little on the issue of turning up late and taking all the glory, over fed, over paid, over sexed and over here etc..

Some US Americans for their part often seem to think they settled the matter single handed.

I don't think this is particularly relevant to the OP, and is at risk of reinforcing a number of stereotypes about respective nationalities, I mean, do you want me to go into how a previous US boss didn't even know Britain was a democracy...?

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FeX32 (Mechanical)
7 Sep 11 23:14
I think this article is related to the original topic
http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/09/07/rushkoff.jobs.obsolete/index.html?npt=NP1

peace
Fe

Helpful Member!(2)  Debaser (Civil/Environmental)
8 Sep 11 7:28
Finally someone calls the employers out on their never-ending mantra of 'no skilled workers'.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-14823042
moltenmetal (Chemical)
8 Sep 11 8:12
josephv:  if the foreign-trained professionals are actually needed in the economy (as professionals), no subsidy should be needed to integrate them into it.  Thousands make that transition successfully every year:  as evidence, we grant more licenses in Ontario to foreign-educated engineers than we do to Canadian-educated engineers, and have done so for many years.  The trouble is, thousands MORE than the number needed in the labour market still come into it every year, both as immigrants and as fresh grads.  We'll see if the labour market means test applied to the "skilled worker" category has a useful impact- there's hope that it will.

The program claims to subsidize "training costs", but since training will by necessity be on-the-job (i.e. the job IS the training), it amounts to a simple tax credit subsidy- of use only to firms that are profitable of course.

The subsidy IS blatantly discriminatory, because it doesn't apply to all professional candidates who need job experience to succeed in the workforce or get their licenses to practice.  It applies only to foreign-trained professionals, not to native-born professionals whose experience isn't 100% what the current marketplace is looking for, or to fresh grads looking for their 1st job.

As to the subsidies for education etc., those are benefits of citizenship.  We've had universal publicly funded education here since the 1800s.  These benefits apply to any immigrant's children regardless what sort of job they take here- they apply even to the children of illegal immigrants.  In fact, these benefits also apply to any landed immigrant who seeks education here.  Landed immigrants don't pay the "foreign student" tuition unless I'm mistaken.
mauricestoker (Mechanical)
8 Sep 11 9:35
Lacajun,

That's an interesting take on American history and the founders. Did Paul Revere really ride out to warn the British that the Americans are coming? Was Thomas Jefferson an isolationist? Judging by the large amount of work he plagiarized from Italy, I think not. I enjoyed driving through Vicenza every day and seeing Lo Rotondo, which Palladio designed, Jeffereson copied, and claimed as his own architecture. Italians were proud, but somewhat confused, as to why the US put Lo Rotondo on the nickel. As for a "war to end all wars" the fighting went on in Turkey, as well as in Russia, to include American involvement.

Having traveled, including in the UK, I'm proud to live in a country where "spotted dick" is not something you put in your mouth. I've lived in Europe twice, and if you think other countries bash the US, the squabbles that went on between the Germans and the French, the Italians and Germans, and every other country having over 500 years of historic conflicts were sometimes hilarious. Oktoberfest always had beer tents which would line up French flags on front tables, draw in the French tourists, then refuse to serve them. Worked year after year. Going to see the 4th of July parades in Prague, or General Patton's birthday in Luxemburg, or JFK celebration in Wuerzburg, etc, it's easy to see that the US is not the pinata for the world, though the media often seeems to provide this impression. I learned quite bit of German by watching Hogan's Heroes-it's even better in German. If the US is plastic, it seems most of the world likes plastic.

For the orignal OP, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, during the severe recession of the early 80's, if people don't like where they are living, they can vote with their feet. I was a recent grad then, so to quote another great American, Frank Zappa, I wound up working at the gas station, pumping the gas every night. Perhaps there is a better alternative now: buy a took, move to Canada, and get $10,000 worth of OJT. To quote one more great American, Rodney King, "Why can't we all just get along?"
 
josephv (Mechanical)
8 Sep 11 10:28
Hi moltenmetal,

We agree in some good points (I too question the need for a subsidy), but you keeping saying that the subsidy only applies to "foreign-trained professionals".

That is not the whole picture, since a Canadian company cannot hire just any "foreign-trained professionals" to qualify for the subsidy.

The programme is meant to assist immigrants who have lived in Canada at least 5 years (in other words it is someone who probably already has Canadian citizenship). Furthermore, this is a group of people who often are not working in their professions or not even working at all and could use some help (i.e. they have much higher unemployment rates than other groups).

It is not true to say that recent grads do not have programmes that help them. For example, companies that hire highly skilled personnel (e.g. an Engineering Masters student) can qualify for $50,000 in grants from the Yves Landry foundation.

http://www.yveslandryfoundation.com/article/48/aime_initiative___provincial.html

I know a recent grad that was offered a salary of $90,000 and the company told them that the Ives Landry grant was covering $50,000 of their salary. Is anyone complaining that the Yves Landry grants discriminate against non-Masters students?

Hope all is great with you,
Joe
josephv (Mechanical)
8 Sep 11 13:50
PS
My mistake, the programme that helped the grad student was from the Ontario Centres of Excellence, and it covered $40,000 of his salary. Here is an article and a link:

http://www.businessinsider.com/hire-science-and-technology-graduates-2011-3

http://www.oce-ontario.org/pages/talent_fj.aspx

Furthermore, Canada has several wage subsidy programmes for Canadians from all walks of life:

http://www.canadabusiness.ca/eng/guide/1137/
 
moltenmetal (Chemical)
8 Sep 11 14:00
Joe, I appreciate your reasoned argument on this topic.

To clarify, the Yves Landry foundation is a PRIVATE foundation, and of course can do what it wants in distributing its scholarships- within the limits of the law (i.e. as long as they don't discriminate on some irrelevant criterion like religion, race etc.)  There are many such programs targeting all sorts of specific types of students (including foreign students who may wish to remain in Canada after graduation I might add).

What we're talking about here is a PUBLIC tax credit program, funded by decreasing the general tax revenue to the province.  So  all citizens have a say on this, and I trust they will make their opinion known at the ballot box in October.  In fact, this is a TINY program in terms of total money available for it- but it was deliberately calculated to polarize people into camps who can be branded as "friends of immigrants" and "enemies of immigrants".  And unfortunately, it's working.  Hopefully, people will see through the political smokescreen and think about the fundamental justice of the issue.

I know plenty of unemployed and under-employed Canadian educated engineers.  I know plenty more who were never able to gain access to the profession after graduating, and hence left the profession despite their education and interest, entirely to find a way to make a living.  Most have written off engineering as a bad deal (and many are richer for it), but some I'm sure would love a chance to come back and try their hand at what they were trained to do.  Why on earth would they not deserve access to this program?  

The reason professional immigrants are, as you correctly state, over-represented in the unemployment and under-employment statistics here, is that there was and is an inadequate REAL labour market need for their services at the numbers they came in.  This is not because of some imagined cabal of racist, xenophobic employers- they were out-competed for a limited number of jobs.  Their experience was discounted because it is partial:  an engineer with 10 years experience gained in the local language and market is more valuable to most employers than one who has 10 similar years, all of which were gained outside the local market.  That's a fact that is borne out, on average, in on-the-job performance- it is not arbitrary discrimination based on race or country of origin.  A lack of local market experience represents a very real hire risk, no different than a candidate whose experience is insufficient in either quantity or relevance to the particular industry.  Despite this fact, thousands of foreign-trained engineers find jobs and are licensed here yearly, and God bless them- they enrich Canada in many ways.  

Unfortunately, a great many never made it.  These folks were out-competed for a limited number of jobs by superior candidates as judged by the only people that matter in that judgment (i.e. employers).  Some of these superior candidates were other immigrants, some of them were locally educated.  That's life in a capitalist economy.    

The oversupply too was as a result of bad public policy- the so-called "human capital model" of economic immigration.  This wasn't the immigrants' fault, but it certainly wasn't just the immigrants who suffered as a result either!

Nobody here, native or foreign-born, is entitled to any kind of a job, much less a job in their preferred profession.  And no government program should be targeted in a way which makes an arbitrary distinction between people for eligibility based solely on their country of origin- or their sex, orientation, colour, race, creed or religion etc.   
josephv (Mechanical)
8 Sep 11 14:48
Thanks, Moltenmetal, I appreciate your reasoned response and the points you have made.

As per my previous post (we probably posted at the same time and you haven't seen it yet), it was the Ontario Centres of Excellence (not the Yves Landry foundation) that provided the grant.

The Ontario Centres of Excellence program is made possible through the financial support of the province of Ontario. Furthermore, as per my previous post there are similar programs all over Canada that provide wage subsidies for new grads.
 
all the best,
Joe
lacajun (Electrical)
8 Sep 11 14:54
mauricestoker, Paul Revere and Wentworth Cheswell according to David Barton, http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=20990.

In my travels to Europe, I received mostly stellar help and interaction.  Most were amazed to see a US citizen, which was humbling.  I was mostly in smaller towns.  I don't think we're the pinata for the rest of the world.  If I gave that impression, I was wrong and apologize for the miscommunication.

I am aware of German disdain for anything French.  I found it to be comical until he, a German, did not relent on the issue.  At that point, it became disturbing.  I ultimately wondered if he would have issues with my French and Jewish roots.  I have German heritage, too.  That's the issue with families that have been in the US for hundreds of years.  We're mutts.

If memory serves, Jefferson did give credit to Europe for his architecture.  But I've not consistently read any of his writings in over a decade and could be wrong.

In my readings of the Founders' writings, they wanted to be friends with all.  Friends do borrow ideas from each other, do business with each other, etc.

Kenat, many US citizens, including our current President, refer to the US as a democracy.  I know it is not.  It is a Republic.  Benjamin Franklin was bluntly pointed on that fact.

On Topic:  I've always thought technology doesn't displace a need for people to work somehow and somewhere.  Technology has been advancing for centuries and hasn't been "that" big a problem.  The work we do may be different but it will still be work.

A guy on the news stated one problem with the USPS is that, like The Big Three in Detroit, they can't get rid of people due to agreements signed over the decades with their union.

FeX32, I've listened to a man with access to important folks in DC and many leaders, private and public, cannot see how what the US has created with large multinational food conglomerates is sustainable.

It is interesting that UK efforts to boost STEM enrollment hasn't worked.

We live in interesting times.
KENAT (Mechanical)
8 Sep 11 15:17
Ah come on lacajun, the US has one of the best democracies money can buywinky smile.

I guess we'll get to see what el presidente has to say this evening.

I'd be lying if I said I thought it will be worth much, and my guess is even if he did come up with some good ideas congress would block them for one reason or another.

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mauricestoker (Mechanical)
8 Sep 11 15:22
Lacajun,

I hope the book agrees with Sarah Palin, or it might have to be branded as revisionist.

I worked in Wuerzburg for a few years, had to do a lot of work with the FinanzBauAmt. The FBA had been sitting on about $60M in projects when it came my turn to deal with them. The city rabbi had the same last name as me, and the Director assumed right off that I was his son (we looked much the same as well, but I looked younger). I used the guilt trip to get evverything approved for over a year until my idiot boss corrected him. Back to gridlock. While I was there, I learned that the schools were teaching that President Hitler was a great president who was tricked into the war, and Germany would have conquered the world if not for the American interventionists. Revision of history is fun: Aztecs invented the vacation, dogs came from outer space.

Jefferson did not make a good impression in Italy. The doges refused to meet with him. I can't blame them, because yes, he did repeatedly take credit for other people's inventions. The writing desk he "invented" is a punk adaption of an earlier invention that can be seen in Padova. Yes, it is still credited as being his invention. I've never seen where he gave credit to Palladio for Montebello; Lo Rotonda actually looks much better with its setting. Not saying he was a megalomaniac and two-faced, but he used to cut parts of the Bible out he didn't agree with-I guess he felt it was his position to edit divine disclosure. The expansion of federal authority he took in the Lousiana Purchase was something he was against, until he was in office.

Gearguru,

If Chamberlain could have found his umbrella, then he could have gone to Nuernburg or Munich or Oberammergau, and done some more vacillating and placating. You need the umbrella to properly vacillate.

 
lacajun (Electrical)
8 Sep 11 16:57
Kenat, your humor entertains me.  smile  What money?  All I see is debt and our "wealth" slipping away due to ignorant, empty suits in DC.  I don't think Congress would block good, fiscally conservative ideas from Obama.  People like me are interested in fiscal responsibility being returned to DC.  I don't see how spending more of my tax dollars to boost engineering enrollments will help turn the economy around.  I know fresh grads who are not working anywhere near engineering to repay student loans because they cannot find work as engineers.

If you sell a kid on something he may not really want, he'll end up leaving the profession sooner or later.  I've worked with people who got engineering degrees because it was an excellent tool to get where they really wanted to go.

mauricestoker, what book?  I missed something.  Thomas Jefferson is not unlike any other person, i.e., he had his flaws, failures, and weaknesses.  He attacked George Washington and John Adams viciously in very cowardly ways.  That happens today, too.

As for Jefferson's Bible, here is an explanation from David Barton about that, and the Christian beliefs of other Founders, at http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=113:

The reader, as do many others, claimed that Jefferson omitted all miraculous events of Jesus from his "Bible." Rarely do those who make this claim let Jefferson speak for himself. Jefferson's own words explain that his intent for that book was not for it to be a "Bible," but rather for it to be a primer for the Indians on the teachings of Christ (which is why Jefferson titled that work, "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth"). What Jefferson did was to take the "red letter" portions of the New Testament and publish these teachings in order to introduce the Indians to Christian morality. And as President of the United States, Jefferson signed a treaty with the Kaskaskia tribe wherein he provided—at the government's expense—Christian missionaries to the Indians. In fact, Jefferson himself declared, "I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus." While many might question this claim, the fact remains that Jefferson called himself a Christian, not a deist.

This is one reason I've tried to rely on what the Founders wrote and what is really in the Bible to not be misled or be misleading.  If people read the original writings, we may not have a President willing to increase engineering enrollments and subsidize his "jobs" effort in the name of stimulating the economy.  It will be about half a generation before Obama's Engineers will truly be influencing the economy in a meaningful and positive way.  This is akin to his "shovel ready" jobs stimulus.

That's the way I see the world and adding new engineering graduates to the workforce.  If that will stimulate the economy, why not increase the H1B visas?

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

KENAT (Mechanical)
8 Sep 11 17:16
What money - seriously?  The money that if our government were a sporting event/team (or similar) would buy the various sponsorship logo's they'd be wearing.

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KENAT (Mechanical)
8 Sep 11 17:20
Oh, and if they thought it might help them and/or their party get elected next time, or perhaps just keep their sponsors campaign contributors happy, of course they'd block anything.

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lacajun (Electrical)
8 Sep 11 17:21
Kenat, I was not being serious with "what money."  I didn't adequately convey that.  Sorry!  But seriously, our debt does bother me.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

TheTick (Mechanical)
8 Sep 11 17:41
Throwing "stimulus money" at the economy only illustrates that the president is acting in a manner that shows he does not recognize the nature or depth of the current crisis.
KENAT (Mechanical)
8 Sep 11 17:54
Maybe it's perspective.  I certainly think the debt is an issue and there are areas that could & should be cut, and perhaps even areas where revenue should be at least 'changed' if not arbitrarily increased.  

However, I probably spend more time worrying about my families loss of income thanks directly to cuts in government spending, and in a way that causes other long term problems to save a short term buck.

However, getting a ways of topic, sorry.

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Fisch88 (Chemical) (OP)
8 Sep 11 23:51
This has been a great discussion, lots of ideas and posts.  Thanks to all for keeping the discussion going.  

I did listen to Obama tonight, and he mentioned increasing engineering graduates by 10,000 per year as part of his jobs act.  I have been thinkng a lot about my own role within my company.  It seems strange, we have been laying off people overall, but our R&D department is actively recruiting.  We have recently hired two brand new ChemE's.  I don't believe this was subsidized in any way.  The project I have been working on is not too technically complex, but I need designers, controls techs, maybe a project manager, a drafter, manufacturing support, financing, etc, for making process improvements that are important to lower our costs and help ensure long term viability of the company.  There are a number of us "leaders" that are responsible for driving these improvements on a variety of projects.  

So this has lead me to consider our role as engineers - to drive innovations, continuous improvements and in the process create jobs and ensure the long term success of our companies.  I think this is what the Prez was thinking when he states that he wants more of us in the labor pool.

I'm not convinced that we need to increase engineering graduates to obtain this objective.  Other ideas seem OK - allow more foreign engineers in to help drive innovation, tax credits for new hires, maybe listen to Bob Lutz, fire all of the MBA's and let engineers run the engineering and R&D departments?  

We need to remove institutional barriers within organizations.  More engineers banging their heads against an accouting and finance wall will not help.  We need to be allowed, encouraged and supported to do our engineering jobs.  Incentives for R&D, innovation, basic research seem like the best remedy for long term success.  Also increasing SBIR/STTR funding will help small business - but few people seem aware of this.  

 
cranky108 (Electrical)
9 Sep 11 9:57
Sounds more like we need better economic education, and a better discussion of other economic theories. The current theory of spend, spend, spend just isen't working. Big goverment isen't going to take us to any nervana, unless you like central planning. And the issue is inefficent distribution of resources.

The presedent wasen't serious about jobs, he is making a political issue that he knows won't pass congress. It's a reelection ploy, pure and simple (nonsence).

 
SnTMan (Mechanical)
9 Sep 11 10:20
cranky108, I beleive that to whatever extent the primary activity of government is to provide for re-election / re-appointment of its' current members, that government is not legitimate and should be disbanded.

Regards,

Mike
cranky108 (Electrical)
9 Sep 11 14:57
Should we start with throwing postal workers off the docks?

OOPs, I forgot they have guns.
TheTick (Mechanical)
9 Sep 11 15:44
Consider the US unemployed nw make up over 10% of the electorate.  Quite the voting bloc ripe for pandering.
lacajun (Electrical)
9 Sep 11 17:12
Fisch88, what institutional barriers do you suggest removing?

I'm unsure what this Prez thinks about engineers.  As a voting block, engineers are conservative and large numbers didn't support his campaign according to the stats I reviewed.  I am sure his campaign manager is aware of this so Obama is probably aware of it, too.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

lacajun (Electrical)
9 Sep 11 19:20
cranky108, whose view of economics would you teach?  Keynes?  Friedman?  Hayek?

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

Fisch88 (Chemical) (OP)
9 Sep 11 23:48
lacajun, I was referring to all of the little things within an organization that can typically get in the way of an improvement project execution.  First, questioning wether the project was defined correctly, how you plan to demonstrate improvement, is the root cause analysis sound, are the real root causes addressed properly with corrective actions, how do you get funding, pull in other resources, if you spend the money want a guaranteed improvement, zero tolerance for failure, prepare a detailed timeline.  Basically paralysis by analysis.  I've worked on too many projects where I knew what the problem was, how to go about resolving it, but then had the project plan nit picked to death by management.  I perservered (usually), but spent way too much time with petty administrative details that slowed the project down.  Removing these barriers would have made my life easier and helped the organization reap the improvement rewards more quickly.  Throwing more warm engineering bodies at the problem will not help as much as stripping away the red tape.   
lacajun (Electrical)
11 Sep 11 22:58
Fisch88, I see you are onto management.  Red tape is the manager's tool to frustrate subordinates.  Frustration is not something a manager should be adept at instilling.  It is fatiguing, isn't it?

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

TheTick (Mechanical)
12 Sep 11 14:03
I have noticed that there is a sort of "selective respect" towards engineers and scientists.  Politicians and management are quick to point out how important they are, or how lucky an organization is to have such people in their stable.  This is usually in the context of trying to impress an outsider such as an investor or voter.

Sadly, it doesn't usually carry through into how we are actually treated on a daily basis.
moltenmetal (Chemical)
12 Sep 11 14:45
TheTick: this sort of respect is lip service, which is easily given.  "You people are critical to public safety and our economy blah blah blah..."

The people politicians actually respect are employers, because these people donate to their campaigns.  That's why they keep the supply taps wide open...
cranky108 (Electrical)
12 Sep 11 21:55
I'm sort of fond of Hayek, but the Keynes theory we seem to be following dosen't seem to work. And although Keynes seems more popular, very few people even know what theory we are following and who developed it.

We have learned so much, or little from the past, that history seems to be repeating it self.

 
lacajun (Electrical)
12 Sep 11 23:05
cranky108,

https://pikespeakeconomicsclub.com/CMS/PPEC/welcome-to-the-pikes-peak-economics-clubs-web-site

Dr. Prentice had an interesting journey from Keynesian economics to Austrian economics.  I believe he understands what is going on today.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

cranky108 (Electrical)
13 Sep 11 15:11
Interesting...
cranky108 (Electrical)
3 Oct 11 14:46
Going back to the orignal post. Is this micro managment on the highest level?

No that would have to be from the UN.
TJOrlowski (Mechanical)
3 Oct 11 20:24
SnTMan,
While I completely agree with your position on the legitimacy of government, the unfortunate truth is that government is made up of human beings, with human tendencies.

Suppose your life path looked something like this:

Private School -> Ivy League University -> TA at said University -> Staffer for Politician X -> Elected local official -> Elected Senator/Representative -> etc etc etc

You are LITERALLY qualified for no other job than as a bureaucrat.  You'd therefore have to make decisions against your own interest when performing your job as a bureaucrat (an anti-capitalistic act): putting the greater good of your district/state/country ahead of yourself and your family (re-election).  It's unreasonable to expect that any politician would behave in a way that he thought might hinder his chances for re-election, especially if he isn't qualified for anything else and has no other skills.  The solution would be to impose term limits at every level of government, for both elected and appointed officials.  That sort of solution is laughable though, just like it would be laughable for those in power to be subject to the same laws as those they govern.  See:  Obamacare.


To the original post, Obama's plan is not a jobs plan.  It's stimulus II, paid for by a tax increase on small business.  It has no chance to become law, but if it did, union employees would get some nice new projects to work on, unemployment beneficiaries would get another 50 weeks of paid vacation, and the private sector would be decimated.  Sounds like exactly the right legislation if your agenda is to centralize as much power as possible.

-TJ Orlowski

SnTMan (Mechanical)
4 Oct 11 10:23
TJO, how about we pay all of them to just STAY HOME:)

Acutally what I mean is they can do anything they want, travel, book speaking engagements, hold election events and fund raisers, etc, etc, keeping all current pay and benefits. But if EVEN TWO of them meet on official business, they, all of them, lose said pay and benefits for the full year.

We'd be money ahead..

Regards,

Mike
cranky108 (Electrical)
4 Oct 11 15:20
Strange that what he proposes has so much potential, he just dosen't follow through. Like instead of paying people whos homes were flooded, just hire them, (at inflated rates,) to fix the flooding problem.

The flooded homes, usually in a less desirable location, can either be rebuilt, or the land sold.

The inflated pay would be in place of FEMA money.

(No it's just another of my goofy ideas).

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