H-1B 'Victim' Still Jobless Despite Obama's Help
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User Rank: Apprentice
2/15/2012 | 3:55:18 AM
re: H-1B 'Victim' Still Jobless Despite Obama's Help
It would have been surprising to me if President Obama's intercession helped Darin Wedel obtain new employment after he was displaced by an H-1B at Texas Instruments. I also appreciate how child custody agreements are a very real impediment to relocation. I held technology and telecommunications positions during the 13 years we lived there. My wife and I had to leave the Dallas-Fort Worth area in 2006 because there are so many H-1B Visa holders in the region. Here's a news story from 2003 that is no longer available at the newspaper's website. Given the thousands of H-1B Visa holders that have been imported to the region since 2003, I believe the situation there is even worse than in 2003.

Posted on Wed, Jul. 23, 2003

Hunting the high-tech job
Survey shows lasting effects of layoffs
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

Only 8.8 percent of the high-tech workers who have been laid off recently in North Texas have found new jobs in their area of expertise, an indication of how devastating the job losses have been in a once highly paid industry, according to a survey to be released today.

Laid-off tech workers went for an average of 10 1/2 months without work, and 68.5 percent of them said they had to dig deep into their savings to survive, according to the survey, which was conducted by University of Texas at Arlington assistant management professor Meg Virick and the Plano-based North Texas Technology Council.

"Almost 95 percent of the people that responded are still looking for jobs," Virick said. "That's scary to me. That's very disturbing." Even if people found jobs in the tech industry, they could not always find jobs at their former level, she said, and are still looking.

The tech council's executive director, Terry Traveland, said, "I know people that were vice presidents at Nortel and are now working for $10 an hour at Home Depot, and that is not out of the norm.

"I know another individual who is a manager at Braum's (Ice Cream Store) because that was the only job she could find, and she was pulling in a six-figure salary before that."

Tony Rossi, 59, of North Richland Hills was laid off from Corning Cable System in Keller in December and is still looking for a job. He said that he doesn't even bother to look in the high-tech industry anymore.

"If you're looking to stay in that business it's ridiculous," he said. "I think a lot of that industry is nonexistent."

Traveland said compiling the survey data took about a month longer than expected because the response was so overwhelming, another indication of how hard tech workers have been hit by the downturn in their industry. Traveland said surveys were e-mailed to the council's mailing list and were available on its Web site; 1,328 surveys were received, of which 1,256 could be used for analysis.

Though individual tech workers are suffering, Bud Weinstein, director of the Center for Economic Development and Research at the University of North Texas in Denton, said he believes that the North Texas tech sector is well positioned for an eventual recovery.

"I think companies worldwide are going to look hard at the Dallas-Fort Worth area and see all of the assets that we have in that IT field, so we should do pretty well," he said.

He said that North Texas may have had a net loss of 100,000 jobs -- about 35,000 of them in high tech -- in three years but that the area still has a good work force and low cost of living.

"So far we seem to be weathering the storm pretty well," he said.

Virick said she will survey many of the participants again in November to see which job search techniques are working. And Traveland said her organization is contacting technology councils in Boston, Austin, Houston, northern Virginia and California to ask them to conduct similar surveys for an indication of how North Texas' situation compares with that in other high-tech hubs.

Virick said that although the layoffs have been painful, the highly educated and formerly well-paid tech workers generally had healthy savings accounts that helped them weather tough times. On average, they had 21 months worth of savings; only 7.6 percent moved to a smaller home, and only 3.1 percent filed for bankruptcy.

Many of them cut back discretionary spending: 84 percent said they cut down on eating out, and 79.2 percent said they reduced leisure travel.

Kathy Price, 58, of Grapevine said she had to cut back drastically on such luxuries when she was laid off from Marconi Communications, then based in Irving, in October.

"Last year when I was working we went to France," she said. "This year I haven't really gone on vacation."

Like most participants in the survey, Price formerly worked in the telecom industry. Like many others, she said being married softened the blow of unemployment because she and her husband still have some income and are covered by his company's health insurance.

Price said she also found part-time contract work from home, through networking.

"I've used everything. I've used the Internet. I've used a recruiter; I've used networking," she said. " I don't think you can rule anything out in this job environment."

ONLINE: UT-Arlington,
North Texas Technology Council,
Patrick McGee, (817) 548-5476


- 2003 Star Telegram and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

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