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future generations of engineers (was foreign engineer requirements)

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Our nation is in deep "do-do" because of the way our
kids are being raised - and this does not bode well
for the future our country.

I remember going to a toy store with my son a couple
years ago. I wanted to buy him a car model.  I didn't
see any so I asked one of the salespeople. The guy
looked at me like I was speaking a different language.
 I had to explain that I was looking for a kit that
contained plastic parts that you glued together to
build a car. He told me he never heard of such a thing
- but he did take us over to a section of the store
where they had a complete line of pre-built,
pre-painted die-cast cars. As we were walking over to
the die-casts he asked "Why would you want to build a
car if you can just buy them already built?" (I was
still stunned that he never heard of plastic model
cars and I did not answer his question.)

Where will our future generation of structural
engineers come from if all the kids today grow up
without learning to work with their hands, think,
problem solve, etc.  I'll bet most of the older
engineers on this list built things when they were
kids.  Kids today do not build things - and that's too
bad. Couple this problem with the problems in our
schools, the breakdown of the family and the
globalization of our economy and I'd say our nation is
headed for some interesting times.

Perhaps we don't have to worry about where the future
generations of structural engineers will be coming
from.  Most of the factory jobs have left our country
and now it looks like many white-collar jobs are going
overseas. I'm guessing that structural steel detailers
probably make about $20/hour in this country.  In some
countries (overseas) I'm guessing that the going rate
is about $1/hour.  I recently read a post from a
structural steel detailer on another list who was
frustrated that he lost out on a 10,000-hour detailing
job that went overseas for $50,000.  I guess $50,000
is big bucks when the an overseas detailing shop pays
detailers $1/hour (I'm guessing at that wage, but I'll
bet I'm not far off) and doesn't have to worry about
little things like social security, medical insurance,
sick pay, holidays and vacation pay.  In the July 2003
issue of Structural Engineer magazine there is an
article on this subject.  In that article the author
points out that Flour Corporation has 200 Filipino
engineers on their payroll at $1.50/hour (the article
says $3000/year salary which works out to about
$1.50/hour for a 40 hour work week) in one of their
overseas offices.

I'm not complaining about the future of our profession
and our economy for my benefit - I'm an old fart. I'm
complaining about it for the benefit of my 2 year old
grandson (who already knows that ready-mix concrete is
transported in a "crete truck" - not a cement truck!)

Cliff Schwinger

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