Immigration reform & future job growth

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Dell supports the current efforts to reform the U.S.’s current immigration system that focuses on a bipartisan, comprehensive approach.  This approach will benefit the economy, but it is only part of the solution to ensuring America’s long-term competitiveness remains strong.

Immigration reform, education and workforce development are the keys to future competitiveness and future job growth.  Education reform will help ensure that Americans have the skills needed to be competitive, while workforce development will help retrain those who lack the right skills demanded in today’s economy.

High-skilled worker gap

As Dell continues to transform from a traditional information technology hardware manufacturer and supplier to an end-to-end services and solutions provider, we are seeing a gap between the skills we need — high skilled engineers, scientists and specialized technicians — and what we can find in the U.S. marketplace.

Additionally, Dell has acquired a dozen companies over the past few years to build our services and solutions portfolio.  When these companies are acquired, they are instantly plugged into our global supply chain and customer base and we ramp hiring at these locations.  Because these acquired companies are generally specialized in one area, like cybersecurity or high end servers, Dell needs to hire employees with these specialized skills — which we are sometimes challenged to do

STEM training for the future

So what can the U.S. do about to remain competitive today while ensuring future generations have the skills they need to succeed?  Like immigration, STEM education — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — has been talked about for years.

The complaint often heard from employers and policy makers is that U.S. schools, both primary and secondary, are not producing enough high-skilled workers. To ensure that U.S. companies are able hire Americans with the needed skills, reform begins at the K-12 level and extends through college.

There are examples all over the country of schools building STEM programs to excite and engage students — including Clemson University’s recently announcement of $450,000 in STEM funding for school districts and technical schools.

Dell has been working with schools and districts across the U.S. to create a pathway to personalized learning — an approach in which  students’ needs and interests are guided by teachers to achieve mastery. One such school, Christian Brothers High School in Memphis, Tenn., is using Dell education technology solutions and services as it shifts to an all-digital curriculum.

“Our goal is to make science, technology, engineering, and math courses more accessible and approachable for our students,” said Chris Fay, principal of Christian Brothers High School.

Today: Retrain and retain

While education reform will help with closing tomorrow’s skills gap, workforce retention is essential to helping those with yesterday’s skills compete in the 21st century global economy.  By learning new skills and adapting to the market, today’s workers can position themselves to take advantage of the high-skilled, high-paying jobs available.  It’s not easy and it’s not inexpensive, but an investment in workforce development will help with the skills gap today.

Finally, immigration reform — especially immigration reform to address high-skilled workers —  will ensure that American companies are able to remain competitive. In an increasingly global economy, attracting the best and brightest requires immigration policies that ensure high-skilled workers who study in the U.S. are able to stay in the country after graduation. Those U.S.-trained workers are need to help create new businesses, contribute the American economy and make U.S. companies more competitive.

Passing comprehensive immigration reform is a great first step and we strongly urge Congress to develop a bipartisan plan along the lines that the U.S. Senate has passed. It’s our hope that the House of Representatives will take up the measure soon.

By addressing these three pillars — education, workforce development and immigration reform — the U.S. can ensure that it will be competitive globally, today and into the future.

Michael W. Young

Michael W. Young

Dell Contributor at Tech Page One
Michael Young is the executive director of Global Government Affairs at Dell Inc.
Michael W. Young
Tags: Business,Education,Government,Technology