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Old 12-04-2013, 06:57 AM
 
260 posts, read 252,635 times
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Hi, I'm thinking of relocating to State College. Anyone work for Penn State? I'm looking at open positions like this one for example. I'm worried I'll move out there, then after a year, be out of a job. Do they typically try to find opportunities for you to keep you on, or do they show you the door ASAP after a year?

The Information Science and Technology Division (IS&T) of the Applied Research Laboratory (ARL) at Penn State is seeking a Research Engineer. ARL is an organizational unit of Penn State at University Park. Our research staff work in multi-disciplinary collaborations with faculty from several academic departments and advanced research centers. The IS&T Division of ARL conducts cutting edge multidisciplinary research in the following areas: Sensor networks and their operations in land, air, and sea environments; sensor data fusion; unmanned autonomous systems; machine learning; analyses for data from information to knowledge to decision; distributed systems; control systems; wireless networks; information assurance and cyber security; and embedded computer systems. Responsibilities include: Conduct research in one or more of the above mentioned areas; supervise student interns; interact with research sponsors; support on-going research projects; contribute to the writing of future research proposals; and develop new research directions. This job will be filled as a level 3, level 4, or level 5, depending upon the successful candidate's competencies, education, and experience. Typically requires a Bachelor’s degree or higher (Master's degree preferred) in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, or a related field, plus five years of work related experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience for a level 3. Additional experience and/or education and competencies are required for higher level jobs. Expertise in Information Assurance and Computer Security is very desirable. You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply. This is a one-year, fixed-term renewable appointment.
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Old 12-05-2013, 08:50 PM
 
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I can't say for sure because I don't work for Penn State, but I am local and know many people who do. I'm pretty sure that all the job postings say that, and they are almost always (from what I understand) renewed. I think they just have to say that because if funding goes down, then they might not be able to renew every job. Again, I'm pretty sure this is how it works. Obviously I'm sure that you would ask in an interview! Just FYI though, I know people who apply to Penn State jobs for years before they get one. However Centre County is a great place to live and a Penn State job offers great benefits(not to mention a 75% tuition discount). Good luck!
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:08 AM
 
260 posts, read 252,635 times
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Thanks for the insight! I work for a major defense company in NJ, outside Philly, that's undergoing hard times. Getting another job is much easier when you already have a job, but I still need to be sure I'm making a good decision by leaving my company, selling my house, and relocating my family. Tough choices ahead...
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Old 12-11-2013, 01:12 PM
 
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The areas of research listed for the ARL appear to be defense related, so since you are already involved in defense related work, you should have a "leg up" in the hiring process especially if your expertise matches any of the research fields.

If you apply and are accepted, don't buy a house right away. Wait until you are sure of continued employment. There are plenty of rentals of all types in the greater State College area.

There are also other corporate research facilities in State College such as Raytheon and Olympus NDT just in case your contract is not renewed.
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Old 12-11-2013, 02:02 PM
 
260 posts, read 252,635 times
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Yes, I've been in the defense industry for many years now. The Raytheon location in SC is a software house, where I'm in the hardware side. There are companies like that in SC, they're just not really hiring right now.
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Old 12-11-2013, 03:28 PM
 
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Many in Congress want to cut the defense budget even further, which means a drought in defense related R&D jobs. The fact is that a lot of engineering jobs are in defense or aerospace. And many non-defense civilian companies that had big R&D budgets are no longer around or have "offshored" their R&D. IBM now boasts that it has 115,000 employees in India. Where are Westinghouse or RCA or the Bell Labs or Bendix or the Budd Co. to name a few. The loss of so much manufacturing and their research departments has sapped the US's innovative potential. See (MIT: With Loss Of Manufacturing The U.S. Innovation Engine Is No Longer Working).

But the politicians keep saying that the future is in STEM and we need to throw more money into STEM education. Ask an engineer if he would recommend the profession for his children. And why do engineers keep up to date copies of their resumes in their desks?
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Old 12-12-2013, 06:18 AM
 
260 posts, read 252,635 times
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Excellent points. I am an electrical engineer, and you're right- I and everyone else around me have updates resumes lying around because we're all worried about that axe falling. I'm going to direct my children towards the medical field when the grow up. At least they won't have to worry about job security.
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:03 PM
 
3,605 posts, read 5,482,182 times
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I wouldn't do it. How certain are you that you are going to be laid off in the next year?

You have a house. You have a job. You have a big city in your backyard. State College is a college town. There are probably plenty of burger flipping jobs there, but big time computer science jobs if this one were to end after a year? I doubt it.
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