WASHINGTON An industry report on high-tech education makes the case that U.S. companies are doing their part to train the U.S. work force for a digital future.
The report, released Tuesday (Oct. 3) by the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), was timed to coincide with a Senate vote to raise the annual cap on high-tech H-1B visas.
"The future success of America's technological leadership is tied directly to our ability to prepare and educate our children for the digital world," said Rhett Dawson, president of ITI (Washington), which represents leading U.S. suppliers of information technology products and services. "Our companies realize the importance of investing in our education system and, more importantly, working with policy makers to help them better understand what the private sector is doing to train our work force."
The report estimates that ITI's member companies such as Intel, Microsoft and IBM, have spent more than $1.1 billion in education initiatives. It also adopted a set of goals for furthering high-tech education:
Increasing technology integration into the curriculum and student access to technology;
Improving teacher training and professional development;
Strengthening math, science, and technology education.
The Senate voted 96 to 1 on Tuesday to lift the annual cap on H-1B visas, which was strongly supported by ITI and other high-tech groups. Engineering and labor groups opposed the visa cap hike, and congressional Democrats and the Clinton administration called for worker retraining programs and other educational efforts as a way to preserve jobs for American workers.
The ITI report was designed in part to assuage fears of lost jobs in the high-tech sector.