MADISON (WKOW) -- It's been more than a week since the federal government shut down, and furloughed federal employees are still out of work.
Many, like Carl Houtman, are getting frustrated. Houtman works at Forest Products Lab on the UW-Madison campus. He's a chemical engineer for the USDA laboratory that focuses on sustainable forestry.
Houtman says it was strange going into work on October 1, when he was handed a checklist to be completed before leaving work indefinitely. The chemical engineer can't even set foot in the building, use his email or make phone calls.
What some may see as a vacation, is just frustrating for a dedicated researcher like Houtman. He says he's been passing time getting house work done and working as an arborist, but he wants to get back to his research.
"I'm actually fortunate, we have enough savings that if it goes on for a month or two, I'm probably OK," says Houtman, "But there are some people that are kind of lower graded laborer types, that I'm sure are living paycheck to paycheck and probably are having a hard time right now."
Houtman says his projects have been put on hold and some will have to wait until next year because the season is over. At least one conference had to be canceled last weekend and Houtman's international research work may not make its deadline if he can't do anything.
Some graduate students aren't able to complete their coursework, because much of it takes place in the lab. Houtman says some students are trying to do as much as they can at home for the time being.
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