President Obama is in Pittsburgh today to meet with his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, a group of business leaders he handpicked from companies like American Express, Comcast and Intel. The council is presenting its ideas to create jobs.
During its last conference in August, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said many high-tech companies want to hire Americans, but they can't find qualified workers, so the Obama administration is rolling out a plan to create 10,000 more engineers a year.
That same sentiment was echoed by guests we had on our show last week. Venture capitalist Mo Koyfman of Spark Capital says the firms he works with can't fill their jobs, and he thinks the U.S. should loosen visa restrictions to take in more foreign workers.
Listeners weighed in and many couldn't disagree more.
Matthew Karlsson wrote:
I work in medical devices in the greater Boston area. We have been looking for Quality Assurance Engineer, Quality Director, Manufacturing Engineer and a few R&D Engineers for some time now.
Here is my solution. Halt federal funding/loan subsidies/etc. for all non-professional or non-vocational degrees. If someone wants to major in a subject they won't be able to get a degree in, that's fine, but let them spend their own money to do it.
This will create an incentive towards educating Americans in the kind of fields that can keep us competitive in the world.
Some of these companies are not finding the "talent" they need? I don't really buy that. I think that they want employees to come in a neat package with all of the fixings. I have a computer science background and many companies want all of their job criteria met on the first date so to speak. If these companies would be willing to offer training to people who have the talent but maybe not a specific skill, they might be more able to find who they are looking for.
And Mike Royce of Concord, NH shared his story:
Employers saying they are looking for IT employees “is a joke !!!”.
I have 35 years experience in the computer development / support industry.
I have NOT had a “real job” for over 12 years.
I am not a “derelict”, I am extremely capable and able to get the best out of any computer system in any company. I was the IT Director / Systems Analyst / Programmer for the Concord NH School District from 1979 to 1989 (I would still be there today except for budget cuts).
After leaving the school district, I have been a computer contractor working for large companies (mostly in Boston) like Fidelity Investments, Sun Life of Canada, Bank of Boston (with very little work after the Y2K crisis). I also donate to Channel 11 Auction, one day of consulting time for each day of their Spring Auction.
I have been sending out a monthly update newsletter of my work status to 57 contract placement agencies (with mostly NO RESPONSE). Weekly, I respond to many advertised positions and search for meaningful work assignments (again, with NO RESPONSE).
I have been a school janitor for over 7 years just to have benefits for my wife & I (A huge lose of productivity for just me – never mind the many hundreds of thousands of computer support people just like me – thus very little federal taxes are paid causing even more down grading of our society).
- Mike Royce, former IT worker, looking for a job in the high tech world
- Ron Hira, Rochester Institute of Technology associate professor of public policy
This segment aired on October 11, 2011.