POSTED: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 11:22am
UPDATED: Thursday, February 2, 2012 - 6:48pm
(NBC) — A Fort Worth, Texas man who has been out of work for three years could get some help from the highest office in the United States. His wife who shared their story with President Barack Obama and now the rest of the nation during a social media chat.
"It's pretty crazy -- very, very crazy," said Jennifer Wedel. Last night, through video on Google+, Wedel got a chance to talk one-on-one with the president. "Why does the government continue to issue H1-B visas when there are tons of Americans just like my husband with no job?" Wedel asked Obama.
An H-1B visa allows employers to temporarily hire foreign workers in certain occupations, including science, engineering, medicine and the arts. Wedel's husband, Darren, an engineer, was laid off three years ago from Texas Instruments. Many of his co-workers made up the 85,000 H1-B workers in the United States.
The Wedels said they believe in the program but want the number of visas lowered so Americans have a better shot at jobs. "It is truth to power, and I am talking to a powerful person, and I have one shot," said Jennifer Wedel. Obama never directly answered her question, but did say, "If your husband is in that field, then we should have his resume, and we should forward it to the companies who are telling me that they can't find enough engineers in this field."
It was a response Wedel wasn't expecting. "I think I lost my hearing," she said. They immediately sent his resume to Google, which promised to get it to President Obama.