The national Fall ACS meeting this year was close to home – San Francisco. Because I am a member of the Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs (CEPA), as well as the liaison from CEPA to the Graduate Education Advisory Board, I was busy from Friday until the Council meeting on Wednesday.
The CEPA meeting started Friday evening and continued until Sunday noon. CEPA’s mission statement includes:
Vision: The professional lives of ACS members will be thriving because of ongoing career planning and sustained use of the best available tools that meet their needs at every stage of life.
- Understanding and awareness of new CEPA Strategic Plan
- Understanding and awareness of latest employment data
- Review and approval of Career Consultant applicants
- Recertification of Career Consultants up for review
One of the roles of CEPA is to draft and submit for approval by the Board policy statements. At this meeting, the Retirement Security Statement was reviewed, updated, and approved. We were also asked to look into creating a statement on immigration policy. As with the Retirement Statement, this was first discussed in the Public Policy Subcommittee, which I currently chair.
Immigration policy is quite controversial, even among chemists. There are good reasons for the ACS to have an immigration policy, which would include student and researcher visa policy, but the chance of any policy being acceptable to most ACS members was found to be low. After extensive discussion in both the Subcommittee and the whole Committee, the effort was tabled. However, without any policy, the ACS cannot speak for or against related issues to Congress.
The Academic Professional Guidelines are being extensively revised. This was also a discussion topic at GEAB.
The Council meeting was generally without controversy. Of interest to the Sacramento Section is that the District VI Director election will choose between Paul Jagodzinski of Arizona and Lee Latimer of Oakland, California.
CEPA’s report at Council included the following:
CEPA announced that the unemployment rate for all ACS chemists has dropped from 3.5% in March 2013 to 2.9% as of March 2014. However, the unemployment rate for new chemistry graduates as of August 2013 is considered to be an all-time high of 14.6%. The number is higher when we isolate bachelor’s level graduates, for whom the rate is 15.8%.
- On the recommendation of CEPA, Council VOTED to approve the Professional Employment Guidelines.
As always, I’m happy to answer any questions members may have on these topics.
By John Berg