Posted by Jeff MeisnerEditor, Microsoft on the Issues
Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president of Microsoft, issued the following statement on today’s introduction of the Immigration Innovation Act of 2013:
“It’s critical that America address the shortage of workers with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. There are many high-skilled, high-paying jobs being created by American businesses across the country that are being left unfilled because of this gap. The country’s economic and technology leadership are dependent on improving STEM education and implementing broader immigration reform.
Today’s introduction in the Senate of the bi-partisan Immigration Innovation Act of 2013 is a major step forward. This legislation addresses the country’s immigration and education needs in a thoughtful and impactful manner.
The Immigration Innovation Act of 2013 contains crucial reforms in high-skilled immigration that provide more H-1B visas and green cards in exchange for a small increase in additional fees. Equally important, the bill directly invests in America’s future by directing these fees toward the funding of education and training programs for our own citizens.
Posted by Brad SmithGeneral Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
This is the second in a series of blog posts by Microsoft executives regarding the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Read the first blog post on the Citizenship blog by Lori Harnick, general manager, Citizenship and Public Affairs.
It’s estimated that 600 million jobs worldwide will need to be created over the next decade to make up for jobs lost in the recent economic crisis. Yet, many, many jobs stand open now without skilled workers to fill them. These issues of job creation and the skills gap were top of mind for many people last week at Davos, as I learned from the number of conversations I had with delegates and the many meetings dedicated to these topics.
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a monthly series from Microsoft called “The View from Washington State”. The View from Washington State provides insight and commentary on topics and trends of importance to technology, education, corporate citizenship and public policy in Washington State.
Several months ago, in the other Washington, I had the opportunity to discuss the country’s need for new ideas to address the current shortage of engineers and computer scientists. Among other things, I called for coupling an increase in H1B visas and green cards with higher fees to obtain those credentials for their employees. These fees would provide billions of dollars over the next decade to invest in improving K-12 and higher education here in the U.S., to ensure that American students in U.S. schools are better prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.
The idea is gaining bipartisan support in our nation’s capital and its adoption would provide short- and long-term benefits.
It would immediately help employers like Microsoft hire the people it needs today. We currently have more than 6,000 open job opportunities, more than half of which are for computer scientists and engineers. Giving employers who are finding it increasingly hard to fill the jobs they create access to more talent, will provide an immediate shot in the arm to the national economy. Put simply, if Felix Hernandez is available, you want to be able to sign him for your team.
Over the longer term, the resulting investments in STEM education will help ensure that more of our nation’s young people fully benefit from the exciting career opportunities being created by the innovation economy.
But at the same time, we here in Washington state must commit ourselves to implementing equally important efforts to address this skills shortage.
Today Microsoft is announcing a new mobile app called HelpBridge that is designed to help you connect with the people that matter to you most during a large-scale natural disaster. The app also enables you to give money, time and resources to support relief and rebuilding efforts.
Earlier today, Microsoft Executive Vice President of Legal & Corporate Affairs Brad Smith gave the closing keynote address at the 41st Annual Economic Forecast Conference. Presented by the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County, and attended by leaders across the public and private sectors, the conference provided insight into future economic trends and forecasts, as well as opportunities and challenges that surround the technology industry.
Brad spoke to the urgent issue facing the technology sector not just in Washington state, but across the country – the need for more qualified talent in computer science and STEM fields. He called for a stronger focus in improving access to quality STEM curricula and faster implementation of the new national math and science standards in K-12. Brad pointed out that of 42,000 high schools in the U.S., only 2,103 offered the AP computer science course. Narrow this down to Washington and the reality is just as grim, out about 770 high schools in the state, only 35 offered the AP computer science course. He also stressed the importance for higher education to increase their STEM related capacity enabling more students to access and complete high demand degrees and credentials.