Engineer Who Gave Obama Resume Declines Out-of-Area Job Offers

Fort Worth man still seeking work because he cannot relocate for family reasons

A Fort Worth semiconductor engineer who sent his resume to the president after a social media chat is still looking for work.

Darin Wedel, who was laid off three years ago, has turned down several job offers since sending his resume to the White House because the jobs were not located in North Texas.

President Barack Obama asked for his resume when his wife asked in a Google+ chat why the federal government continued to issue H-1B visas to foreign workers when people such as her husband could not find a job.

The exchange attracted national attention.

Jennifer Wedel said her husband has gotten calls from around the United States. The White House contacted some of the companies on the Wedels' behalf, she said.

"We had the head guy from Intel call us and basically said, 'If you move to New York, we'll get you a job.' ... It kind of gets me teary-eyed, because I wish we could," Jennifer Wedel said.

Darin Wedel turned down the offer from Intel as well as three other out-of-state jobs and one in Austin because his custody agreement does not allow him to move away from his daughter's mother, who lives in the area.

The couple said they knew their options might be limited when Darin Wedel was laid off. They said they are not frustrated and are incredibly thankful for the interest.

And Darin Wedel has a local lead — a job interview next week in Corinth.

In a Google+ hangout on Jan. 30, Jennifer Wedel asked Obama about the country's H-1B visa program.

The visa allows employers to temporarily hire a limited number of foreign workers in certain occupations, including science, engineering, medicine and the arts. The jobs generally require specialized knowledge.

When Darin Wedel was laid off in 2008, Texas Instruments had some H-1B workers.

Wedel told The Washington Post he was laid off because of a plant closing.

His wife, an insurance agent at State Farm, said she has found herself as a sort of spokeswoman working to make it so Americans have the first chance to get a job before foreign workers.

She said people from all over the country have reached out to her and told her stories similar to her husband's.

"I have clients who are struggling to pay their insurance bills because they have gotten laid off, and a number of those have been in the same industry that my husband is in," she said.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, emailed her Wednesday morning and told her that he is going to try to breathe new life into a proposal to modify the H-1B visa program.

Grassley said he and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, tried to pass a measure in 2009 that would require employers to make a reasonable effort to recruit Americans for jobs before they could hire H-1B workers.

Jennifer Wedel said she and her husband are humbled that their experience is bringing attention to the issue.

"I think it is fulfilling," she said. "I think it will be more fulfilling when we see change."

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