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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 98 declined, 90 accepted (188 total, 47.87% accepted)

+ - Southern California Edison prepares to ship IT jobs offshore->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "Southern California Edison is preparing to offshore IT jobs, the second major U.S. utility in the last year to do so. It will be cutting its staff, but it hasn’t said by how much. The utility is using at least two offshore outsourcing firms, according to government records. SCE’s management culture may be particularly primed for firing its IT workers. Following a workplace shooting in SCE’s IT offices in 2011, the utility conducted an independent audit of its organizational and management culture. One observation in this report, which was completed a year later, was that "employees perceive managers to be more concerned about how they 'look' from above, and less concerned about how they are viewed by their subordinates. This fosters an unhealthy culture and climate by sending a message to employees that it is more important to focus on how things look from the top than how they actually are down below.""
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+ - An unnecessary path to tech: A Bachelor's degree->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "A study of New York City's tech workforce found that 44% of jobs in the city's "tech ecosystem," or 128,000 jobs, "are accessible" to people without a Bachelor's degree. This eco-system includes both tech specific jobs and those jobs supported by tech. For instance, a technology specific job that doesn't require a Bachelor's degree might be a computer user support specialist, earning $28.80 an hour, according to this study. Tech industry jobs that do not require a four-year degree and may only need on-the-job training include customer services representatives, at $18.50 an hour, telecom line installer, $37.60 an hour, and sales representatives, $33.60 an hour. The study did not look at "who is actually sitting in those jobs and whether people are under-employed," said Kate Wittels, a director at HR&A Advisors, a real-estate and economic-development consulting firm, and report author.. Many people in the "accessible" non-degree jobs may indeed have degrees. For instance. About 75% of the 25 employees who work at New York Computer Help in Manhattan have a Bachelor's degree. Of those with Bachelor's degrees, about half have IT-related degrees."
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+ - Offshore firms took 50% of H-1B visas in 2013->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "The U.S. today (April 1) began accepting H-1B visa applications for the next fiscal year, with heavy demand expected. The visas will likely all be claimed by end of this week, and a major share of the H-1B visas will go to firms that use visa holders to displace U.S. workers. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data is very clear about who are the largest users of H-1B visas: Offshore outsourcing firms.The IT services firms among the top 20 H-1B users accounted for a little more than 50% of the annual base visa cap of 65,000. This is for initial visas approved in the 2013 fiscal year, not renewals. "The offshore outsourcing firms are once again getting the majority of the visas," said Ron Hira, a public policy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. "The program continues to promote the offshoring of high-wage American jobs.""
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+ - Gates warns of software replacing people; Greenspan says H-1Bs fix inequity ->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "Bill Gates and Alan Greenspan, in separate forums, offered outlooks and prescriptions for fixing jobs and income. Gates is concerned that graduates of U.S. secondary schools may not be able stay ahead of software automation. "These things are coming fast," said Gates, in an interview with the American Enterprise Institute "Twenty years from now labor demand for a lots of skill sets will be substantially lower, and I don't think people have that in their mental model." Meanwhile, former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan believes one way to attack income inequity is to raise the H-1B cap. If the program were expanded, income wouldn't necessarily go down much, but it would go down enough to make an impact. Income inequality is a relative concept, he argued. People who are absolutely at the top of the scale in 1925, for instance, would be getting food stamps today, said Greenspan. "You don't have to necessarily bring up the bottom if you bring the top down.""
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+ - White House urges 'geeks' to get healthcare coverage, launch start-ups-> 1

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "The White House is urging tech workers, or "geeks," to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, and said having the coverage will give them the "freedom and security" to start their own businesses. "There is strong evidence that when affordable healthcare isn't exclusively tied to employment, in more instances people choose to start their own companies," wrote White House CTO Todd Park in a post to launch its #GeeksGetCovered campaign.Bruce Bachenheimer, a professor of management at Pace University and director of its Entrepreneurship Lab, said the effort is part of a broader appeal by the White House to get younger and healthier people to sign-up for Obamacare, and is in the same vein as President Obama's recent appearance on Between Two Ferns,"
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+ - White House official: China R&D investment now half of U.S.->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "President Barack Obama's fiscal 2015 budget plan would increase federal R&D spending by 1.2% over this year, if Congress approves. The Computing Research Association, in a blog post, called the budget request "underwhelming for science." John Holdren, White House senior adviser on science and technology policy, said that research spending on science and technology "is doing better than might have been expected" given budget constraints. But Holdren added that the U.S. is getting more R&D competition. "It is true that China, for example, has been increasing its investments at a very high rate and is now sitting at about half the investment of the United States," said Holdren. "That gap will narrow further if China continues to boost its investments in that way.""
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+ - IBM workforce cuts raise questions about pact with New York->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "IBM is laying off U.S. employees this week as part of a $1B restructuring, and is apparently trying keep the exact number of cuts secret. The Alliance@IBM, the main source of layoff information at IBM, says the company has stopped including in its resource action documents, given to cut employees, the number of employees selected for a job cut. The union calls it a “disturbing development.” Meanwhile, two days prior to the layoffs, NY Gov. Cuomo announced that it reached a new minimum staffing level agreement with IBM to "maintain 3,100 high-tech jobs in the Hudson Valley and surrounding areas.” The governor’s office did not say how many IBM jobs are now there, but others put estimate it at around 7,000. Lee Conrad, a national coordinator for the Alliance, said the governor's announcement raises some questions for workers and the region. "Yes, you're trying to protect 3,100 jobs but what about the other 3,900 jobs?" The Alliance estimates that anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 U.S. workers could be impacted by the latest round of layoffs. IBM says it has more than 3,000 open positions in the U.S., and says the cuts are part of a "rebalancing" as it shifts investments into new areas of technology, such as cognitive computing."
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+ - California fights drought with data and psychology, yielding 5% usage reduction->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "California is facing its worst drought in more than 100 years, and one with no end in sight. But it is offering Silicon Valley opportunities. In one project, the East Bay Municipal Utility District in Oakland used customized usage reports developed by WaterSmart Software that report a customer's water use against average use for similar sized households. It uses a form of peer pressure to change behavior. A just concluded year-long pilot showed a 5% reduction in water usage. The utility said the reporting system could "go a long way" toward helping the state meet its goal of a reducing water usage by 20% per capita statewide. In other tech related activities, the organizer of a water-tech focused hackathon, Hack the Drought is hoping this effort leads to new water conserving approaches. Overall, water tech supporters are working to bring more investor attention to this market. Imagine H2O, a non-profit, holds annual water tech contests and then helps with access to venture funding. The effort is focused on "trying to address the market failure in the water sector," Scott Bryan, the chief operating officer of Imagine H2O."
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+ - Personal history may thrust new Microsoft CEO into visa debate->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "The personal history of Satya Nadella, Microsoft's new CEO, may draw him into the immigration debate over visas. His background, born in Hyderabad, earning advanced degrees in the U.S., exemplifies the type of STEM expertise that Microsoft's cites for visa liberalization. Microsoft has long argued that U.S. schools do not produce enough computer science grads. Said Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, "We have imported people, in part, because when we started the 1980s, we didn't have the capacity in our higher education institutions to produce the degrees that would be needed to take these new jobs." But Microsoft's assertions of a skills shortage have long been disputed. "Microsoft's lobbyists and executives have played the leading role in misinforming the public and policymakers about how the H-1B and L-1 visa programs are used in practice," says Ron Hira, a public policy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. What is certain is that Indian community in Silicon Valley is "bursting with pride" over Microsoft's new CEO, reports the LA Times."
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+ - Obama urges 'all-in' effort on tech innovation->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "President Barack Obama urged Congress to increase federal research funding or risk the U.S. technology lead to China and Europe. "This is an edge America cannot surrender," said Obama, in his State of the Union speech. The National Science Foundation budget bill approved this month by Congress set aside $7.1 billion, well below the president's request. The approved budget is only about 2.4% over FY 2012 spending, according to an analysis by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). When inflation if factored, it represents a real-dollar decline of 3% from 2012. Overall, defense R&D spending will decline by $8.4 billion, or 11.2%, from fiscal year 2012 levels, according to the AAAS. On the same day the Obama delivered his speech, the Pentagon was warning lawmakers, at a hearing, about China. "From the perspective of technological superiority, the Department of Defense is being challenged in ways I have not seen for many years," said Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense."
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+ - Detroit wants its own high-tech visa->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "Detroit, a city in bankruptcy and dealing with a shrinking population, hopes to turn itself around with the help of 50,000 employment-based green cards. In exchange for the visa, an immigrant would be required to "live and work" in Detroit for an undetermined length of time. The visas would be made available under the EB-2 visa category, a visa for advanced degree professionals or those deemed with "exceptional ability" in the sciences, arts and business. The proposal was made by Michigan's governor, Rick Snyder. Daniel Costa, an immigration policy analyst at Economic Policy Institute, said Snyder would have more credibility on the issue if he were doing more to help workers in Detroit. In 2011, the state cut jobless benefits by six weeks to 20. "I also think the federal government should be offering people in the U.S. some money and land in Detroit if they'll move there," said Costa, or "just offer it to people across the country who have advanced degrees.""
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+ - Amazon posted 16,100 IT jobs last year, tops in U.S.->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "The employer with the most IT job postings last year was Amazon.com, with 16,146 ads, exceeding most other IT firms by a wide margin, according to a report by trade group CompTIA using data from Burning Glass Technologies in Boston, which analyzes online job postings from approximately 32,000 jobs sites. The runners-up in 2013 U.S. job postings were Accenture, at 14,240 and Deloitte, at 13,077 job ads. Best Buy posted 10,725 IT job ads, ahead of IBM at 10,221. Best Buy's hiring was attributed to its computer support business."
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+ - Electrical engineering lost 35,000 jobs last year->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "Despite an expanding use of electronics in products, the number of people working as electrical engineers in U.S. declined by 10.4% last year. The decline amounted to a loss of 35,000 jobs and increased the unemployment rate for electrical engineers from 3.4% in 2012 to 4.8% last year, an unusually high rate of job losses for this occupation. There are 300,000 people working as electrical engineers, according to U.S. Labor Department data analyzed by the IEEE-USA. In 2002, there were 385,000 electrical engineers in the U.S. Ron Hira, an assistant professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, called the electrical engineering employment trend "truly disturbing," and said, "just like America's manufacturing has been hollowed out by offshoring and globalization, it appears that electrical and electronics engineering is heading that way.""
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+ - End of Moore's Law forcing radical innovation->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "With Moore's Law the technology industry has been coasting along on steady, predictable performance gains. But stability and predictability are also the ingredients of complacency and inertia. At this stage, Moore's Law may be more analogous to golden handcuffs than to innovation. With its end, systems makers and governments are being challenged to come up with new materials and architectures. The European Commission has written of a need for "radical innovation in many computing technologies." The U.S. National Science Foundation, in a recent budget request, said technologies such as carbon nantube digital circuits to molecular-based approaches including biologically inspired systems will likely be needed. The slowdown in Moore's Law, has already hit HPC and Marc Snir, director of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division at the Argonne National Laboratory, and a computer science professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, outlined, in a series of slides, the proplem of going below 7nm on chips, and the lack of alternative technologies."
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+ - U.S. requirement for software dev certification raises questions->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "U.S. government contracts often require bidders to have achieved some level of Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) level. CMMI arose some 25 years ago via the backing of the Department of Defense and the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. It operated as a federally funded research and development center until a year ago, when CMMI's product responsibility was shifted to a private, profit-making LLC, the CMMI Institute. The Institute is now owned by Carnegie Mellon. Given that the CMMI Institute is now a self-supporting firm, any requirement that companies be certified by it — and spend the money needed to do so — raises a natural question. "Why is the government mandating that you support a for-profit company?" said Henry Friedman, the CEO of IR Technologies, a company that develops logistics defense related software and uses CMMI. The value of a certification is subject to debate. To what extent does a CMMI certification determine a successful project outcome? CGI Federal, the lead contractor at Healthcare.gov, is a veritable black belt in software development. In 2012, it achieved the highest possible Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) level for development certification, only the 10th company in the U.S. to do so."
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