To the U.S. technology industry, there’s a dramatic shortfall in the number of Americans skilled in computer programming and engineering that is hampering business. To unions and some Democrats, it’s more sinister: The push by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to expand the number of visas for high-tech foreign workers is an attempt to dilute a lucrative job market with cheap, indentured labor.
The answer is somewhere in between, depending as much on new technologies and the U.S. education system’s ability to keep up as on the immigration law itself. But the sliver of computer-related jobs inside the U.S. that might be designated for foreigners — fewer than 200,000 out of 6 million — has been enough to strain a bipartisan deal in the Senate on immigration reform, showcase the power of big labor and splinter a once-chummy group of elite tech leaders
I seem to fall on both sides of this debate about job related visas. On the one hand in order to maintain our technological dominance in the world we need people who have the skills to continue to innovate and if our populace doesn’t meet this challenge then we need to look elsewhere.
But on the other side, maybe we should be doing more to get our kids to do the work to meet the needs internally. That is a big problem as it seems that many are just not willing to put in the work to make that happen. The common answer to not having enough people with the necessary skills is to put more money into our educational system but that has been the solution for more than one-hundred years now and money just doesn’t seem to bring about the desired results.
I know my teacher friends who frequent this blog will have some comments about this and I certainly welcome them. How do we encourage more of our children to get the advanced education needed for twenty-first century jobs in this country? To me the first thing is to take the financial roadblock away from them that prevents many for attending college or trade school. Many of the more affluent countries in the world extend free education beyond high school. Why aren’t we one of them. It has been proven time and again that doing this has a very high buy-back.
I see all the studies about how those in Japan, Korea, and several other countries make education for their children their number one family priority. That attitude instills the mentality of working hard into the children. I can’t understand why so many parents in this country allow their children to drop out of high school! That dooms them to a lifetime of want and distress. How can any parent think that is enough for their children?
Yes, we need to do something to convince more kids to make a commitment and do the extra work to obtain technical educations. Yeah it is harder to learn physics and calculus but if taking the challenge doesn’t happen then by all means let’s do what we can to bring in kids from other countries to fill the gap.