The current economic situation has caused much uncertainty and worry for our members and others within the chemical enterprise. New graduates are experiencing greater difficulty in obtaining full time employment, and many mid- to late-career chemists are transitioning from one job to the next. Mergers, acquisitions, and consolidations are once again reshaping the chemical landscape, and business cycles once measured in years are best calibrated on a much shorter timescale.
As we face uncertain economic times, it is important that each of us positions ourselves as competitively as we can to be successful. Today’s workplace requires ingenuity, flexibility, and continuous professional development from its practitioners. It also requires a practical understanding of current business practices. In order to help ensure the continued prosperity and success of our members, and the companies for which they work, the Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs (CEPA) is pleased to announce the addition of two new programs to the ACS Careers portfolio.
Through a collaborative partnership with Harvard Business Publishing, ACS is offering a suite of 42 introductory online business and management skills courses through the new ACS Center for Professional Development. The course library includes topics such as Career Management, Negotiating, Leading and Motivating, Presentation Skills, Strategic Thinking, Team Leadership, Time Management, and many other high-quality courses. At $25 per course, this offering is substantially discounted for our members. Even lower rates are available for members who are currently unemployed. To enroll in one of these courses or to find out more about the topics covered, go to www.acs.org/careers.
The ACS Careers Industry Forum is a monthly teleconference featuring luminaries from the chemical industry who speak about economic and other trends affecting employment. This is a free service of the Society. The series which debuted in September featured Dr. Magid Abou-Garbia, Senior Vice President and Head of Chemical and Screening Sciences for Wyeth Drug Discovery and Development as the first speaker who discussed strategies for a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. Since then, the forum followed with Dr. Carolyn Ribes of Dow Benelux BV in the Netherlands who spoke about the challenges and opportunities of working abroad, and Dr. Michael Stem of Strem Chemicals Inc. who spoke about the differences between small and large companies. The upcoming forum in January will showcase incoming ACS President Dr. Thomas Lane of Dow Corning Corporation who is the Director of Global Science and Technology Outreach. To sign up for upcoming ACS Careers Industry Forum teleconferences, visit the ACS Careers Blog at acscareers.wordpress.com.
CEPA is also proud to support the ACS Network. The ACS Network is a professional networking tool for the global chemistry community, hosted by the American Chemical Society. Combined with our already successful ACS Careers Jobs Database, the Network promises to be one of the most empowering tools for today’s job seekers. The addition of ACS Global Partners to the ACS Network will make it even more powerful. ACS Global Partners are those with electronic access to ACS journal subscriptions through their library or other institution. To use these tools in concert, simply search and apply for jobs from the jobs database, and then conduct a search within the ACS Network for people working at your potential employer. To join or use the ACS Network follow the link on the ACS homepage, www.acs.org.
Healthcare and health insurance were identified as the top workforce concerns of ACS members. In response, CEPA, in conjunction with Office of Public Affairs, developed a public policy statement on the issue, which was subsequently approved by the ACS Board of Directors. The policy advocates removal of barriers to allow national Association Health Care plans. In addition CEPA will be polling members of the Legislative Action Network to help identify other workforce issues and concerns.
These new services complement existing ACS programs that offer ACS members a means to remain competitive in a changing economic environment. For example, ACS members benefit from free weekly issues of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) including the special report “Employment Outlook,” published in the November 3, 2008, issue. To sharpen and increase marketable technical skills, continuing education courses are available both in-person and on the web at a discount to ACS members. Membership in ACS Divisions provides a network of colleagues in your own discipline of chemistry.
CEPA continues to monitor the economic and professional status of our members, and is working to create additional programs, products and services with the chief goal of enabling the professional success of Society members in the U. S. and abroad.
This article originally appeared in the November 17, 2008 edition of C&EN. It was written by Dr. Martin Gorbaty Chair of the ACS Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs.