According to Scott Corley, executive director of Compete America, large technology companies would prefer to opt for more H-1B workers than retrain experienced American employees. At a media conference this week, Corley, in response to a question on why not retrain experienced American workers, asserted that companies would rather use the H-1B visas to hire less expensive and younger staff.
Also this week, Standard & Poor’s released a report on how adding skilled labor would heat up economic growth in the US. S&P asserts that skilled immigrants increase innovation and productivity and are more likely to start businesses than US-born workers. It seems that IEEE USA also supports more employment-based green cards for high-skilled tech workers. Both organizations indicate that these workers ultimately will create more US jobs.
Lest I get email regarding the motivation of immigrants to build lives and work here -- I’m not disputing this. What I want to know is what happened here? Wasn’t the US known for its entrepreneurs? Were the entrepreneurs of 30 or so years ago that spawned so many startups immigrants, or were they home-grown?
Rather than concentrate on why immigrants want to come here, innovate, and produce, let's ask why we aren’t innovating and producing. Also, on the subject of retraining, what really is the answer here? It’s hard to believe that some workers aren’t being retrained. For the ones who are, do they tend to become entrepreneurs, or are most just concerned about staying employed? Is there a tendency to hand over our future in this country rather than stay relevant? Oh dear, I can hear the responses now.
One last question: What is the entrepreneurial climate in the country today and what impact is that having on this retrain-or-import discussion?
Yes, I know I have more questions than input here. On one hand, having been in Silicon Valley during the 80s, I was witness to the buzz, the energy, and the excitement. Is it possible to get all that back? (Oops, that’s another question!)
Please weigh in with your thoughts.
— Carolyn Mathas is a freelance blogger and editor for EE Times' Industrial Control Designline