Fracking heats up the job market

Fracking, also know as hydraulic fracturing, is pretty controversial among environmentalists. The process threatens groundwater, but then natural gas burns much cleaner than coal.

Another issue affecting the fracking debate involves jobs. With the natural gas boom fueled by fracking, we’re now seeing a ton of drilling for gas, and also oil, and that’s creating many jobs.

On the East Coast, abundant natural gas flowing from the Marcellus Shale formation, which runs through New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, is enriching farmers who lease their lands to production companies and is estimated to have created 60,000 jobs in the region, with another 200,000 possible by 2015.

Cheap domestic energy is also good news for the manufacturing sector. “The discovery and development of North America’s shale resources has the potential to be the most remarkable source of economic growth and prosperity that any of us are likely to encounter in our lifetimes,” U.S. Steel CEO John Surma told the Congressional Steel Caucus in a late March hearing. It’s a virtuous cycle: More drilling requires more steel, and lower energy costs give U.S. steel producers a cost edge. This at a time when the Department of Energy reports that the energy intensity of U.S. steel companies is now among the lowest in the world.

In St. James Parish near Baton Rouge, ground was broken last year for a $3.4 billion steel plant being built by Nucor Steel (NUE), the first major facility built in the U.S. in decades. U.S. Steel is investing in a new facility in Lorain, Ohio, and V&M Star Steel (the North American subsidiary of the French pipemaker Vallourec) plans to spend $650 million on a small-diameter rolling mill in Youngstown, Ohio.

It’s not just Big Steel that will benefit. Feedstock made from cheap natural gas is a boon for the petrochemical industry. Citing “the improved outlook for U.S. natural-gas supply from shale,” Dow Chemical (DOW) says it will build an ethylene plant for startup in 2017. (Ethylene is used to make things like plastic bottles and toys.) Dow will also restart its ethylene plant near Hahnville, La. Shell, which is building a new petrochemical refinery in Pennsylvania, is also considering a $10 billion Louisiana plant to convert natural gas to diesel. “Low-cost natural gas is the elixir, the sweetness, the juice, the Viagra,” says Don Logan, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association. “What it’s doing is changing the U.S. back into the industrial power of the day.”

Studies show that fracking will support millions of jobs. Of course some will argue that green jobs are even better for the economy, and the environment, in today’s economy we can’t be too picky.

MOOCs are changing the college game


Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What’s a MOOC? More and more people are going to start finding out.

Jonathan Salovitz’s course load sounds as grueling as any college undergraduate’s: computer science, poetry, history, math and mythology, taught by professors at big-name schools such as Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania.

Except Salovitz, 23, is not an undergraduate. His effort won’t count toward a bachelor’s degree, and he hasn’t paid a dime in tuition. Nor have his classmates, who number in the tens and even hundreds of thousands.

Instead, Salovitz calls himself a “guinea pig.” He’s participating in a grand experiment in higher education known as Massive Open Online Courses –MOOCs, for short. Learners of all ages around the world are flocking to them. Top universities are clamoring to participate. And MOOCs already have attracted the interest of some employers, paving the way for a potential revenue source. All in less than a year.

“The industry has operated more or less along the same business model and even the same technology for hundreds of years,” says John Nelson, managing director of Moody’s Higher Education. “MOOCS represent a rapidly developing and emerging change and that is very, very rare.”

Welcome to the self-education revolution. Follow that internal link as we’ll be tracking the progression of MOOCs and other ways you can teach yourself new skills or give yourself a rewarding education. This can also help young kids in high school learn subjects that aren’t taught in their school. It is also a threat to rising college costs.

The possibilities are endless. The true potential of the Internet is now reaching education. Take advantage of it!

New Jobs: Electronic Medical Records Professional

In our series highlighted news jobs in the new economy, we found an interesting article about new opportunities for people to become an Electronic Medical Records Professional.

Just two years ago, about one in five hospitals used electronic health records (EHR). Thanks to an incentive program from the government, the number is growing fast: More than 3,600 hospitals (about 72%) received payments to transition to EHR as of the end of July. Much of the work remains, and the health care sector is scrambling for technicians and consultants to aid the switch.

Workers can start at $50,000 to $60,000 per year. With the explosion of electronic records for health care, and now with the new health care law that will bring millions more people into the system, there should be no surprise that this would be a growing field.

Make More Money Playing Poker Online

Poker is a fun game because it is based on strategy with an element of luck. However, there is a whole different dynamic to the game when you play it online instead of at a casino in person. Some people even think the chances of winning poker online are better than in person. You do have to have a different kind of skill, though. Take a look at how playing poker online is different than playing in person, and what you can do to improve your chances of winning.

Looking for Tells

When you play poker against people at a casino, you get to see them physically. So, you can look for your opponents’ bluffs by watching their body language. When you play poker online, you don’t get to see your opponents. However, there are still plenty of ways to tell when your opponents are bluffing. For instance, you can look for changes in your opponents’ behavior, like in the amount of time it takes them to place a bid, if they bid an amount that is out of the normal range of their bids, or if their chat behavior changes. When you play poker online you have to notice how your opponents play and make note of any changes — that’s how you make a lot of money as a poker player.

Placing Bids

When you’re playing poker for money, such as on sites like sportsbook.com, you have to keep track of the money you have on the table. This is a little more difficult to do online because you don’t have physical chips in front of you to remind you how well you’re doing. There is just a money number on your screen. Plus, it’s easier to get wrapped up in the amount of money you can bid when you have easy access to your bank account to get more money at anytime. Be wise with your money and don’t place bids that you wouldn’t do in a live casino.

Knowing When to Fold

Poker hands tend to go faster when you’re playing online, so it’s easy to be tempted to play every hand. You have to be careful, though, because if you don’t have a good hand, you might be setting yourself up to lose money. The rules are the same when you’re playing in a casino as they are when you’re playing online, but you can’t let the speed of the game throw you off so you play poker hands you shouldn’t.

It is definitely a different experience playing poker online, but the strategy is very similar. Be careful with your money, be wise about the hands you choose to play, and be on the lookout for your opponents’ tells. You’ll make more money that way and have fun doing it.

The Key to Creating a Spotless Online Reputation


Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalImages.net

Whether you’re a brand, a business, or a singular entity, your online reputation precedes you. The Internet is permanent; once an item gets published, it’s floating around forever. That can definitely affect you—for better or for worse, depending on what you do about it.

Make Smart Publishing Decisions

Whether you’re interviewing for a job that has nothing to do with the Internet or opening a new restaurant, people will Google you. Although you can’t always control what others say about you or your business, you can and should control what you publish. It’s better, for instance, to have personal pages locked down so that only your friends see them. Make professional Facebook or Twitter accounts you don’t mind sharing with the rest of the world. Be especially smart when posting pictures or YouTube videos. If you don’t want a boss or a fan seeing it, don’t post it.

Google Yourself Frequently

Googling yourself is something of a dirty habit but it’s also necessary. Keep an eye out for what’s being said about you, your business, and your brand. Generally, if you’re not a huge mega-celebrity and if you haven’t rubbed too many people the wrong way, you have a shot at cleaning house and erasing any information you don’t like. Once you’ve done that, however, try not to make the same mistakes again. You might not get so lucky next time.

Get Good Page Results

Specifically, the first page of your search results define your reputation online. If the first few entries have negative information, then trust that people will think of those things first. Potential customers might avoid your online shop, your new book, or your restaurant simply because of one bad review. You don’t even get the chance to impress them. That’s also why it’s vital to practice good business sense. Be polite, accommodating, and professional no matter what.

Seek Help from the Professionals

There are lots of resources that tell you how to make the best Internet impression you can. There are books, like the Michael Fertik Wild West 2.0 publication; countless articles and videos; and even professional services available for hire. If you want to become Internet famous or simply beef up publicity for a new business endeavor, these resources will help you drum up the right kind of attention. That way, you won’t have to worry about any negative search results.
The Internet is a great place to find information, as long as it’s good. Make sure your Internet reputation heralds your arrival rather than impeding it.

How to haggle for a better salary


Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are you afraid to ask for a raise? That’s understandable in the current economic climate, but many employees have good arguments for a pay raise, and learning how to negotiate salary is very important for new employees and for employees looking for more compensation.

This article give some helpful tips, and the most important involves getting as much information as possible.

“You shouldn’t just pull a number out of a hat,” says Ofer Sharone, assistant professor of work and employment research at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. “Tell them what you’ve researched and explain why you’re worth more than the average person.” Pynchon agrees: Don’t make the discussion about what you want, but what you can provide. “Tell them, ‘I walk on water, and I can walk on water at your company too.’ ” It helps if you request a salary before they offer you one; the first number on the table influences the rest of the negotiation.

Be smart about this. You have to know about your situation, the realities as work and the nature of the market in your field. Good luck!

Dealing with rising college costs

The issue of rising college costs is a hot topic these days, as young students and families grapple with the issue of how to pay for a college education. Too many young people are saddled with crippling college debt, and as this has gained more attention, it has certainly focused the minds of many Americans as they weigh their options.

Universities are reacting as well, and some of the trends are very promising. Davidson College has created an innovative no-loan policy.

“When I got my acceptance letter and my tuition bill, it told us that everything was mostly paid for,” she recalls. “I had heard something about Davidson’s no-loan policy, but it didn’t make sense because it sounded too good to be true. My mom was like, ‘This can’t be right. We need to go talk to them.’ ” The admission counselor explained that, because of the Davidson Trust, the school was able to cover 100 percent of demonstrated need without loans. Her mother cried. “At the time, I felt kind of embarrassed. When we walked back to my car, she said, ‘I’m so happy. I feel like I should make [the counselor] something.’ ”

Other schools like Harvard are also making it much easier for students to get grants instead of loans in order to lower the student debt burden. Families and students need to do their research, and you have to factor in costs and debt into your decision. Otherwise students will have this debt hanging over them for much of their careers.

You can read more about the student debt crisis and the value of a college education versus the costs here, here and here.

Read all of these materials, and you’ll be much more prepared for the decisions you’ll have to make.

Law school applications plummet


Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalImages.net

With all of the recent controversies surrounding the number of jobs law school graduates are actually getting, the idea of going to law school is starting to become less appealing, especially when you start to consider the ridiculous cost of law school.

Now comes word that applications in this admissions cycle appear to be in something like free fall. As of December 7th, they are down 24.6% from the same time last year, while the total number of applicants has declined by 22.4% year over year. These numbers suggest that law schools will have a total of somewhere between 52,000 and 53,000 applicants to choose from in this cycle, i.e., slightly more than half as many as in 2004, when there were 188 ABA accredited law schools (there are 201 at the moment, with an emphasis on “at the moment”).

To put that number in perspective, law schools admitted 60,400 first year JD students two years ago. Since a significant percentage of applicants are unwilling to consider enrolling at any school below a certain hierarchical level, and/or will decline to enroll at certain other schools without receiving massive discounts on the advertised tuition price, these numbers portend fiscal calamity for more than a few schools. But out of that calamity will come the beginnings of a more rational and just system of legal education for the next generation of lawyers.

Things are going to have to change. Students don’t want to do into debt and then end up without a job. The entire notion is silly.

The third year of law school is often a complete waste of time. Law schools should take a serious look at finding ways to give students internships for the third year where they can learn how to actually practice law while making money to pay for their tuition.

Related Posts

  • No Related Post