(Contact Info: larry at larryblakeley.com)

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A listing and access link to all:
song lyrics and mp3 audio files http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/songs/ (all of which are a part of this Web site) can be accessed simply by selecting the "htm" file for the song you want;

poetry http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/poetry.htm;

quotations http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/quotations.htm; and

essays written by Larry Blakeley http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/articles/articles_larry_blakeley.htm,

all of which are used to tell the story in this Web site, can be accessed by going to each respective link set out above.

My son, Larry Blakeley http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/larryblakeley_photos_jpeg.htm manages this Web site.

Major Roy James Blakeley (December 10, 1928 - July 22, 1965) - USAF (KIA)

When I was young my dad would say
Come on son let's go out and play

No matter how hard I try
No matter how many tears I cry
No matter how many years go by
I still can't say goodbye

- "I Still Can't Say Goodbye," Performer: Chet Atkins

MP3 audio file/lyrics http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/songs/still_cant_say_goodbye.htm

For a larger image click on the photograph.

Competing With the $800 (or less) a Month Engineer
Florida West Coast Section (FWCS) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), The Suncoast Signal, August, 2003 edition (PDF http://www.ewh.ieee.org/r3/floridawc/signal/sig0308.pdf)

Portrait photograph http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/articles/monthly_articles/$800_e1.jpg of Paul Kostek (http://www.kostek.org/)

We hear plenty about the positive impact globalization is having on the marketplace. Unfortunately for many engineers and other high-tech professionals, the impact has been devastating.

Engineering jobs in all sectors of the economy are being contracted out and moved outside the United States at an alarming rate. By 2015, 3.3 million white-collar jobs - including more than 472,000 in information technology and mathematics - are expected to move to low-cost countries, according to Forrester Research Inc. analyst John C. McCarthy. The predicted loss in wages is a staggering $136 billion. The loss to the U.S. economy is far greater.

To take advantage of much lower salaries in other parts of the world, major corporations are already building overseas design centers. For the CEO under pressure to improve the corporate bottom line, the economics are hard to beat. You can hire a skilled non-U.S. engineer for about $800 a month, about what many U.S. engineering grads earn per week. The $5,000-a-year software programmer is another global reality.

Business Week magazine recently reported that for $650 a month you can employ an aerospace engineer in Russia with a master's degree in math or aeronautics. His U.S. counterpart makes about $6,000 a month. So how do U.S. engineers compete in this new global marketplace? The answer has profound implications for the future of technical innovation in the United States, which sustains our nation's economic competitiveness, national security and overall standard of living.

Obviously U.S. engineers won't be able to compete on price by accepting salaries that are below U.S. poverty levels, leaving superior skills and proximity as their best hopes for maintaining a competitive edge. But even if the U.S. engineer enjoys a skills edge, how can an employer not take advantage of the increased productivity inherent in a salary differential that allows hiring 5-10 engineers overseas for the price of one here?

Is it an advantage for engineering functions to be performed close to the company site or in the same time zone? Many argue that companies prefer to keep their engineering design jobs close at hand in order to safeguard the company’s intellectual property. But the offshore outsourcing trend clearly encompasses engineering design services. And what is proximate to the large global or virtual corporation that engages in 24-hour-a-day operations by moving work from time zone to time zone?

While jobs are being sent overseas, news on the home front is also discouraging. The unemployment rate for electrical engineers rose to an unprecedented 7.0 percent in the first quarter of 2003, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and stood at 6.4 percent for the second quarter. The most recent report also showed a 7.5 percent unemployment rate for computer programmers, 5.7 percent for computer hardware engineers and 5.6 percent for computer scientists and systems analysts. The rate for all workers was 5.6 percent.

Despite this record-high engineering unemployment, industry continues to defend increased outsourcing and the use of guest labor (such as H-1B and L-1 visa workers) by arguing that not enough U.S. students are entering engineering programs or pursing technical careers. Government is starting to join the chorus as the large Cold War generation of government engineers reaches retirement age. But if all an engineering career can promise is job insecurity and low pay on one hand, or red tape and a government salary on the other, why would America's best and brightest choose engineering as a career path?

Lacking a clear edge in price, skills or proximity, what is the future for U.S. engineers? Do we just need to abandon certain areas and fields of engineering in the same way that the U.S. said good-bye to textiles and steel in the name of free trade? Will job opportunities be limited to government-related work or infrastructure-related industries such as electric power generation and transmission, or phone service where U.S. Citizenship or proximity is imperative?

As an engineer who has had to reinvent myself a dozen times during a 24-year career in order to stay competitive, I have to ask myself if an overseas competitor in Belarus, Beijing or Bangalore possesses the same skills that I do, and if proximity isn't important, and if they'll work for $800 a month, then why hire me at $8,000 a month? It's a question that is increasingly hard to answer. For the next generation considering a career in engineering, it will be even harder.