|George F McClure
Region 3 Director-Elect 2004-2005
Many members are aware of Student Professional Awareness Conferences, organized by student branches and bringing in several speakers on topics selected by the students themselves for sessions ranging in length from one evening to a weekend day and a half. Not as many members know about the Member Professional Awareness Conference, organized by a section, to bring vital career information to the mid-career engineer.
Support is available through Region 3 and IEEE-USA to assist a section in producing an M-PAC. Information on how to get started in planning such an event is found at http://www.ieeeusa.org/pace/mpac.asp , along with an extensive list of speakers and topics. A logical starting place is an informal survey of members of the Section Executive Committee to compare notes on what content would be most useful to section members, then having the PACE Committee develop a project proposal to kick it off. The Region 3 PACE Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) can help with the paperwork for a funding request.
Local university resources may be available to assist in putting on an M-PAC that can provide members with overviews of the processes in planning a career transition. For example, in several sections there has been recent growth in interest in biotechnology, as a result of expansion of work by local companies in this field. There may be interest by a section where the downturn in telecommunications has left many members jobless in mapping the education steps to qualify for jobs in the new field.
The section PACE committee may survey local employers of engineers to establish links with their Human Resources departments, both to understand what the current company engineering needs are and to open a communication channel with the HR groups that can be useful when future job needs arise – the section is well-positioned to put out the word to its members who may be qualified.
Business cards can be prepared locally with contact information for the Section and listing the URL for its Web site. The PACE chair can spearhead this preparation, then provide the cards to the local HR departments contacted, and have supplies available for distribution at local job fairs – for outreach to both employers and non-members who could benefit from the networking available through section activities.
In addition, as a standard part of community outreach, the section Publicity Committee should be publicizing its schedule for both professional and technical programs through weekly event listings in the local newspaper (business section, high-technology). This publicity is usually available as a free service for non-profit groups, if the information is provided a week or two in advance. The listing should include the Section’s Web site URL and a contact telephone number. Weekly mailings to the local newspaper will require less than an hour per month and $2.00 – well within the capabilities of sections.
Other resources to assist Sections in developing life-long learning programs and in organizing a local industry relations program are found at the Web site for the Sections Congress 2002, href="http://www.ieee.org/organizations/rab/sc/2002/Presentations/Greenindex.html where PowerPoint presentations by Bill Harrison, George McClure, and John Meredith are available.
Section newsletter editors can spotlight information available at the IEEE-USA or Region 3 Employment Assistance Web sites. For example, the PowerPoint presentations available to assist in organizing a job search, found at the Career Navigator page. Sections with high or persistent engineering unemployment may wish to organize meetings every week or two for those in job searches to exchange information that may assist other members. This would be an ideal way to publicize new and on-going needs received from the corporate HR departments that had been contacted earlier.