At PlanetMagpie, we have a dream. And this is its headline:
"U.S. Commits to Rebuilding its Tech Workforce—Offers STEM Tuition Credits, Paid Internships at Private Firms, and Levels the Playing Field with a New Tax on Offshore Labor."
We've been talking about what’s wrong with the offshoring trend. But you can’t talk about problems all day and not offer any solutions.
In this piece, PlanetMagpie lists our suggestions for solving the offshoring problem. Real ideas for mobilizing U.S. unemployed IT talent, curbing the increase in offshoring, and improving our economy. Take some time to consider how much better the U.S. economy would be, if we did the following:
- Tuition credits for STEM trade school and college students (American citizens only, academic performance requirements).
- First shot at STEM grad school openings go to American citizens who are in-state residents.
- Returning war veterans will NOT be required to establish residency again, in order to qualify for in-state tuition.
- Develop financial incentives for American companies to use “onshore” IT labor. Provide tax breaks for using onshore IT labor and an extra tax on offshored labor to help level the playing field.
- Government-paid tech interns work in a company’s tech department for 6-12 months on the government’s dime to get experience. Only American citizens eligible. Think of it like an apprenticeship. Penalties in place for businesses exploiting interns for free labor. Option to offer full-time employment at end of internship.
- Legal Directive: Instead of spending money on H1B lobbying, recruitment & visa fees, major organizations like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, etc., set up IT training centers for American tech workers. These centers will offer specialized training for employment at those major organizations.
- Recruiting and awareness building at high schools. Make students aware of the STEM jobs that exist, and of the schools where they can get STEM training following high school. Use the NEW Manufacturing Alliance (in North East Wisconsin) as an outreach model.
- Work with tech/math/science teachers to identify talented students who should be recruited. Offer government-backed scholarships to tech schools for high performers with more than one specialty (to avoid turning the program into a feeder for cheap single-task labor).
- Free (government-funded) IT training to veterans with technical aptitude. Retrain them for corporate IT environments as a path to entering the civilian workforce.
- Create policies to prevent H1B hiring loopholes: No phony employment ads to exclude American workers at the outset. No pre-negotiating wages to contravene real market wage standards. No spousal work authorizations. No EEOC claims used to bring in foreign workers under the guise of diverse hiring practices.
- Reform the visa programs (H1B, L, etc.) so major corporations can’t use them as a business model for importing cheap labor from overseas. Have an independent private agency audit and monitor U.S. businesses who hire H1Bs to enforce these policies.
These suggestions do often call for increases in government funding and oversight, but some could be implemented within existing Government programs, by earmarking a percentage of benefits specifically to tech force development.
Also, consider the increase in payroll and corporate taxes as the economy grows. Properly-written law will go a long way toward securing good corporate and government behavior.
In return, these ideas provide a check to economy-destroying offshoring activities, increase the skilled U.S. workforce, and build a future for both our economy and our nation.
Tell us your thoughts on these solutions, and give us ideas of your own, at reshoreyourIT@planetmagpie.com
. Our collective ideas will be sent to Senator Dick Durbin, who is spearheading Immigration Reform to include more H1B worker visas. We want to show him another path to fix the IT worker shortage in the U.S. that benefits the U.S. economy and America’s workers. Not to mention our national security.
Thank you for supporting American IT!