All the signs are pointing toward a growing consensus – high-skilled immigration is critical to our nation’s economic recovery. Now is the time to act on high-skilled immigration reform to further drive this recovery. Through government data, academic research and the frontline experience of companies across the country in a range of industries, there is a clearly established shortage of American workers with the science, technology and math skills needed to fill the new high-skilled and high-paying jobs being created across the country.
Today, Microsoft is encouraged by the bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives to pass HR 6429, the STEM Jobs Act of 2012.This bill will make up to 55,000 critically needed visas available to foreign national graduates of U.S. universities who have earned an advanced STEM degree.
While this is a positive step, further reform is needed to address our nation’s high-skilled immigration challenges. As we look to rebuild our economy, the private and public sectors face the same question: How can the U.S. strengthen education and American competitiveness so that the next generation will have the skills they need to succeed in a rapidly changing global economy?
Microsoft recently responded to this question with a bold new proposal – a National Talent Strategy – a comprehensive plan for how the U.S. can address this skills challenge. This National Talent Strategy encourages businesses to invest in American education, which will improve opportunities and competitiveness for our workers. We make a detailed case for a national “Race to the Future” initiative, including significant new investments in K-12 and higher education to ensure U.S. workers have the skills and experiences demanded for 21st century jobs. The proposal will help address employers’ short-term high skilled talent needs while raising $5 billion over the next 10 years to invest in U.S. education.
Our nation’s shortage of high-skilled STEM workers is a complex problem – and the solution is bound together in multi-faceted bipartisan action to advance educational investments that will enhance the skills of our workers and reform the outdated high skilled immigration system to increase our global competitiveness. Microsoft looks forward to continuing to work with Congress and the Administration on bipartisan legislation to address these critical issues that will result in a stronger U.S. economy and more high-paying job opportunities for American workers.