Follow up with Last Friday's Engineering Forum

Today’s article written by Career Specialist Laura Hall

Many thanks to the participants in last week’s Engineering Career Forum. Special thanks to Kim Dunaway and Alex Donenberg from Dunaway Engineering and Tony Glore and Meskerem Eshetu from MSD. The panelists offered excellent advice and encouragement to the engineers in attendance who are new to the U.S.

What follows is a summary of the major points made at the program, as well as some follow-up information gathered from NCEES related to the licensure process for Professional Engineers.

Licensure

There was discussion about the benefits of pursuing professional licensure in the form of the P.E. In order to begin this process, one must apply to NCEES which then sends a request for original documents directly to the university attended by the candidate and asks the university to complete the form. Normally, requested documents include the following:

  • Two copies of all official transcripts, grade reports, or mark sheets
  • Diplomas/verification of degree(s) or qualification(s) from the issuing institution
  • A signed and sealed Transcript Request Form
  • Official course descriptions

I asked NCEES what their experience has been with candidates from Iraq and Cuba and was told that it is usually very challenging to get documents from institutions in those countries. She recommended that before beginning the proocess, candidates should first directly contact their university and ask if they would be willing to provide the required documents.

Continuing Education/AutoCAD

The panelists recommended professional development courses in order to increase employability. CAD, AutoCAD and Microstation were mentioned as good programs to study. Also, the continuing education courses offered through JCPS have some courses that may be useful to engineers, such as Carpentry.

There are scholarship funds available through JFCS to take training programs such as these. Contact me (Laura Hall) at 452-6341 to request a scholarship for continuing education.

Job Search

“Be persistent” was the advice that was given to job seekers. Attendees were advised to pay attention to local construction projects – to look for signs posted on construction sites which name the companies doing the work and target those companies. In addition to applying through company headquarters, job seekers can also introduce themselves at construction sites to the managers and let them know that they are available for work.

The panelists recommended that getting into the field, even at the lower level jobs such as surveyor, construction laborers, maintenance crew and inspectors is a good strategy.

Several big projects will begin soon in Louisville, including several hotel projects, one at the University of Louisville’s medical school, and a huge upgrade of MSD facilities. Job seekers were advised to note which companies and contractors are getting these jobs and then apply. Attendees were also advised not to overlook small engineering firms, as employment with a smaller organization often offers the opportunity to “wear many hats” and get exposure to a variety of work experiences.

Networking with Professional Associations

The Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers (KSPE) has a Louisville chapter which offers regular networking events. Job seekers can attend these events and make contact with professional engineers working in the area.

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