H-1B Visa Debate Resumes

 
 
By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2007-10-12 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Opinion: Our education system, not H1-B visas, is to blame for worker shortages.

Now that the U.S. Congress is in session, we are once again seeing a push by the major technology companies to get an expansion to the H-1B visa program. As always, we are hearing the same complaint that America isnt producing enough qualified engineers and computer scientists to fill the needs of major American companies. In the past I argued that it seemed crazy to say that there arent enough technology workers available, when every one of us knows a few highly skilled technology workers who are either unemployed or underemployed. But I do agree with the technology companies on one point. America isnt producing enough new qualified technology workers. And the main culprit is our failing higher education system.
I personally know a young man who is currently working toward an accelerated bachelors and masters degree in engineering. An honors student in high school, he is currently in his sophomore year at a state school where he is maintaining grades consistently above a 3.5 average.
So far, so good. Sounds like a perfect future candidate for those desperate tech firms. But this year he seriously considered dropping out of the program and may face a similar decision next year. Whats the problem? As a middle-class kid living at home with his single mom, he can barely afford to continue at the state college he is attending. Sure, as an honors student he received a decent number of scholarships. And he gets a good amount of student loans. But the scary thing now is that even at a state school, this young man is facing a bill well over $12,000 per semester. With the scholarships barely making a dent in this bill, by the time he gets his masters he could be facing a student loan debt over $100,000.
This boggles the mind. Twenty years ago I attended a private university for much less than this. And at that time friends of mine attending these same state schools paid very little per semester and left college with almost no student loan debt. Click here to read the entire column U.S. Higher Ed Fails for Future Technologists
 
 
 
 
Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr Rapoza's current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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