The H-1B Visas lottery just opened and the 85,000 slots will be filled quickly with most going to science and technology workers. Recent government changes are encouraging employers to not discriminate against American workers by short-changing local talent for workers overseas. As companies we should be considering hiring and training our local talent to ensure we keep workers productive.
Where there is market openings young students move into those fields to obtain their degrees and education. We may need to do a better job at pushing students to enter those fields in which we have skill gaps. College counselors may need to highlight their technology and science programs to new students that are unsure of what to study.
There is a shortage within the technology fields and I have lots of friends from overseas that have a solid American spirit. Despite this, I believe it is important to hire locally when companies can and then recruit from overseas when local skills are not available. The H-1B Visa should be a method of filling skill gaps that are not available in the U.S.
We can get ourselves up to speed encourage technology programs within college as well as train new workers in-house. Companies can put together their own training programs and develop their workers from the local population. These workers are likely to start out with smaller paychecks but make their way up the ranks as they gain certificates and experience.
Filling the skill gap is possible if companies and universities work together to ensure they have a solid pipeline of employees with the right knowledge. Such fields offer promise for American workers because there is a ready made job for most graduates. The fields also have a high income and most students can easily pay their student loans back making it a prime target market.