Issue Date: March 2, 2009
ACS Supports Out-Of-Work Members
AS MORE American Chemical Society members face the prospect of unemployment during the current economic downturn, they will undoubtedly look for ways to save money and perhaps even consider not renewing their ACS memberships.
Recognizing this, ACS has launched a campaign to remind members of the many benefits available in times of unemployment, including a dues waiver that may allow out-of-work members to retain all the benefits of membership for free for up to two years.
In an effort that began this January, ACS is getting the word out through targeted e-mail, telemarketing, and Web-based marketing efforts. Three areas of the society—Membership Marketing, ACS Careers, and the Office of Industry Member Programs—are collaborating on this plan.
"There is no more important time to be a member of ACS" than during a period of unemployment, says Patricia Martin, the society's manager of member retention. "ACS offers an unequaled package of benefits to help members get back in the workforce."
To begin to tap into these benefits, unemployed ACS members must first apply for the special dues waiver by contacting ACS with their name and member number via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (800) 333-9511 or (614) 447-3776.
After receiving approval, members can benefit from free registration at ACS national meetings and attend regional meetings for a reduced registration fee of $25. While attending the meetings, members can take advantage of networking opportunities and participate in interviews with potential employers at the on-site ACS Career Fairs.
Unemployed members also get special discounts for a variety of career-building classes, including ACS Harvard Business courses, which are offered online through the ACS Center for Professional Development. The 42 courses cover areas such as budgeting, career management, marketing essentials, and writing skills.
Jobless members can also enjoy discounts on registration for a range of ACS short courses and for ACS ProSpectives conferences, which focus on the discovery, development, and production of pharmaceuticals and therapeutics and provide networking opportunities.
In addition, unemployed members are entitled to special discounts on the ACS Leadership Development System (LDS), a new curriculum that provides practical courses to help people sharpen their leadership skills, increase their marketability, and advance their careers. The LDS courses are offered in a face-to-face setting or online (C&EN Jan. 26, page 36).
Within the system, unemployed members can take four-hour courses led by expert facilitators for only $25 per course, compared with $150 per course for employed members, according to David Harwell, assistant director for career management and diversity programs at ACS. Jobless members who enroll in one online course for $25 can take three more for free; employed members pay $25 per online course. The same costs for members apply to Harvard Business courses.
In addition to taking discounted courses, unemployed chemists can tap into the ACS Network, a professional networking platform that allows members and global partners to connect and communicate with friends, colleagues, and potential employers. The network now includes more than 16,000 scientific professionals.
Unemployed members also have access to free guidance from ACS career consultants, a legion of trained ACS members who volunteer to offer assistance and advice in preparing résumés, building interviewing skills, searching for jobs, and negotiating salaries, Harwell says. All members may tap into this service by visiting www.acs.org/careers.
Yet another benefit goes by the name InterviewStream, a new online tool that helps build strong interviewing skills. "It allows the user to practice live interviewing skills in the privacy of their own home," Harwell explains. Members access InterviewStream through the ACS Careers site.
While searching or negotiating for their next job, members can access the ACS Salary Comparator. It uses data from employment surveys coupled with variables that are specific to an individual member (such as job type, location, degree, and experience) to estimate a median base salary for particular positions.
By highlighting its many resources and perks, ACS is working hard to retain its members in tough economic times, Martin says. For example, during their period of unemployment, members who hold life insurance policies through the ACS Member Insurance Program can defer their premium payments.
"ACS offers an unparalleled package of member benefits," Martin writes in a letter that the society is sending to those who fail to renew their membership. "Weekly issues of C&EN, substantial discounts on ACS Journals Web Editions and ACS meeting registration, and the opportunity to connect with the best and the brightest in the scientific community through the ACS Network, ACS technical divisions, and your local section are just a few."
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