Outsourcing Jeopardizes U.S. Chemical Industry, Expert Says

Article excerpt

The outsourcing of the chemistry and engineering jobs is threatening the future of the American chemical industry, says the leader of the American Chemistry Society.

"We are sending a very mixed message" to students when chemists and engineers are needed by the nation to remain innovative and competitive, yet companies "are laying off hundreds ... of those professionals," said Madeleine Jacobs, executive director of the American Chemical Society, on Monday. She is scheduled to speak today at a Pittsburgh Chemical Day program at the Pittsburgh Hilton and Towers, Downtown.

"(Companies) are outsourcing the research and development at the same time they're saying, 'We don't have enough talent,' " Jacobs said. Those jobs are being shipped to China, India and Singapore, said Jacobs, whose Washington, D.C.-based society represents about 158,000 chemists and chemical engineers.

Sending those good-paying jobs overseas will discourage students from entering the chemistry and engineering fields at a time when "China and India are turning out scientists and engineers left and right," Jacobs said.

Because the U.S. is not attracting a sufficient number of young people to study chemistry and engineering, Jacobs said there will be a problem when chemists and engineers from the baby boom generation retire. …