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How Can CEPA Help?

January 3, 2005 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 83, Issue 1


With record-high unemployment for the third year in a row, the ACS Committee on Economic & Professional Affairs (CEPA) is striving to do all it can to help members through these tough economic times. However, the best member services in the world are of no use unless their availability is well known.

Thus, I would like to take this opportunity to better acquaint our members with CEPA. Highlights of several exciting new programs and valuable career services follow. CEPA is dedicated to improving the economic and professional status of all chemical professionals. Details of the CEPA Mission & Strategic Plan can be found on the committee's website:

The Subcommittee on Employment Services guides the Department of Career Services (DCS) in providing high-quality employment services for ACS members seeking jobs. Chemjobs Career Center, launched at the last national meeting, now combines ACS employment services offered through C&EN Chemjobs and the Employment Center (formerly known as the National Employment Clearing House). At the Employment Center last August, 1,557 job seekers were scheduled for 1,639 interviews for 303 jobs posted by 107 employers. DCS offered 105 mock interviews, 206 résumé reviews, and 37 workshops in Philadelphia. This subcommittee is currently exploring ways to improve career services at regional meetings.

The Subcommittee on Professional Program Development develops new programs and services to address economic and professional needs and trends. This subcommittee was created to focus on initiating and piloting new programs, career services, and other professional development activities. For example, our first pilot online career workshop, "Résumé Preparation," is available on the DCS website. Please send us your feedback on this voice-over Powerpoint presentation. We made feedback easier with a simple click on the DCS website. Single-interest group discussions and new career workshops, designed to better prepare chemical professionals for work in the 21st century, on topics such as business start-ups, consulting, and intellectual property protection are also being piloted. A symposium in Philadelphia titled "Secondary Science Teaching as a Second Career: Why & How" was organized by CEPA.

The Subcommittee on Professional Services continually monitors and improves programs and career services to assist members in enhancing and managing their careers. This subcommittee reviews and provides guidelines for local section career programs and advises DCS for updates to its website, publications, workshops, and other career resources. Two online career resources are being piloted: Advanced Career Tools with career coaching and Career Consultant Program with personalized assistance.

The Subcommittee on Standards & Ethics identifies and monitors workplace issues and employer/employee relationships. The subcommittee updated the ACS "Professional Employment Guidelines," now available under Career Resource publications on the DCS website. It also produced an e-pamphlet titled "Intellectual Property and Plagiarism" and is reviewing the "Code of Conduct for Chemistry Professionals." The subcommittee chair is a liaison to the ACS task force currently considering the establishment of a new ACS Committee on Ethics. CEPA will be ready to focus its efforts in the area of ethics, as necessary, to comply with whatever direction ACS takes with regard to this issue.

The Subcommittee on Surveys monitors, evaluates, and provides information on employment and workforce trends. This subcommittee works closely with ACS staff on the annual ACS Comprehensive Salary & Employment Status Survey, Salary Comparator, and Survey of New Chemistry-Related Graduates; it also monitors federal data on trends in chemistry-related employment. In March, the annual ACS survey becomes ChemCensus 2005, which will be sent to all workforce ACS members. It will contain some new perception-based questions related to offshoring. Please respond when you receive this survey. Part of monitoring the trends in chemistry-related employment is presenting annual Current Trends symposia at national meetings. The next Current Trends symposium will be a Presidential Event in San Diego titled "Chemistry Enterprise 2015: Where in the World Will We Be?"

The Subcommittee on Public Policy provides an interface between CEPA, the ACS Board of Directors, and the Office of Legislative & Government Affairs on workforce issues that can benefit from changes in public policy. In Philadelphia, the subcommittee organized a successful symposium on "Visa Issues and Global Outsourcing Needs of, and Impacts on, the Chemical Process Industries." A symposium on "Issues for Retirees: Health Care" is planned for San Diego. An Employment Nondiscrimination policy statement approved by the ACS Board now needs to be promoted with legislators.

The Task Force on Globalization Issues was formed to monitor, communicate, coordinate, and cooperate with other stakeholders on this timely topic. It hosted an open forum in Philadelphia for all members to share their views. A summary of this lively discussion of different perspectives is available on the CEPA website along with an interim report of various activities of this active task force. A "canned" presentation on globalization issues is being prepared for use at local section meetings to better inform members. The task force currently includes liaisons from Corporation Associates, the Division of Small Chemical Businesses, the Committee on International Activities, the Division of Professional Relations, the Committee on Science, and the Division of Business Development & Management. Visit the CEPA website for more information and post comments on our new message board.

Are we fulfilling your needs? We welcome any suggestions, comments, and especially volunteers for career consultants! Please share your thoughts with CEPA and DCS via the feedback button on the DCS website,




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