Tech Companies Say Better to Import More Workers Than Retrain Experienced Ones, says IEEE-USA

Mar 19, 2014, 18:14 ET from IEEE-USA (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)

WASHINGTON, March 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Addressing a media conference call today, Scott Corley, executive director of Compete America, asserted that the large high-tech companies he represents would rather bring in more H-1B temporary workers than retrain experienced American employees.

Corley was responding to a question posed by Beryl Benderly of Science Careers magazine about workers over 35:  "... You just said it was so difficult to recruit people abroad; I imagine that's very difficult. … If you already have people who have engineering degrees and experience, why is it more difficult to retrain them?"

Corley replied: "If it could be done as easily, there would be less value in the worker. ... You're saying it's easy to be trained into these fields, but if that were true, there would be no value; they wouldn't be high-paying jobs. You would be able to find them anywhere."

"Mr. Corley made clear companies would rather use the H-1B visa to hire younger, cheaper temporary workers," IEEE-USA President Gary Blank said.

Blank added, "IEEE-USA recognizes the valuable knowledge and insight experienced workers contribute.  With U.S. technology companies sitting on nearly $1.3 trillion in cash, why can't they invest some of that money into the workers who gave us the Internet, GPS and smartphones?"

Corley's remarks supported his claim that, "… The most efficient and effective way to create jobs in America is to increase the number of H-1B visas issued. …" 

What the flawed claim fails to acknowledge is that the top 10 users of H-1B visas are companies that specialize in shipping American jobs offshore. 

By contrast, a Standard & Poor's report released today, "Adding Skilled Labor to America's Melting Pot Would Heat Up U.S. Economic Growth," drew an important distinction between temporary workers and skilled immigrants, concluding that, "Highly skilled immigrants help create jobs. They increase innovation and productivity and are more likely to start a business than U.S.-born workers. Startup businesses are the true engine of job growth in the U.S. economy."

For these same reasons, IEEE-USA supports additional employment-based green cards for high-skilled technology workers.

IEEE-USA serves the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of more than 205,000 engineering, computing and technology professionals who are U.S. members of IEEE. 

Benefits of IEEE membership:  

SOURCE IEEE-USA (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)