Posted by Jeff MeisnerEditor, Microsoft on the Issues
Today, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Microsoft’s Brad Smith urging lawmakers to pursue a “race to the future” approach to secure U.S. competitiveness and growth. Building on Microsoft’s National Talent Strategy released last month, Brad makes the case and outlines strategies to improve the education and immigration system, which will strengthen our economy and job opportunities for the next generation.
To read Brad’s op-ed, click here (Note: Wall Street Journal content is behind a paywall). For more on Microsoft’s National Talent Strategy proposal, click here.
Posted by Marietta DavisGeneral Manager, Greater Southeast District, Microsoft
This past Saturday, Tampa hosted “Back to School with Microsoft,” a successful event that trained more than 500 local educators as part of our efforts to modernize in-classroom teaching with Microsoft technologies, boost students’ technology skills, and emphasize the value of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning in preparation for 21st century careers. The Back to School event marks the kick-off of an exciting new effort between Microsoft, the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) to implement a strategic digital education initiative across the region aimed at preparing local students for the opportunities of tomorrow’s economy.
At Microsoft, we know that science and technology are enormous drivers of innovation and job creation, but too many of our students are facing an opportunity divide – a growing gap between those who have the access, skills and opportunities to be successful and those who do not. Microsoft’s deep commitment to education and significant investments across the U.S. are aimed at closing that divide, with a focus on helping youth obtain the skills that they need while connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship. We’re thrilled to be working with the City of Tampa and HCPS to bring the best technologies to area educators in support of helping students realize their full potential.
Cameron Evans, Microsoft chief technology officer for U.S. Education, has an opinion piece in the latest edition of Education Week. In the piece, he discusses five bold steps for personalizing student learning and better preparing future workforces for success.
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.
Posted by Brad SmithGeneral Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
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.
Posted by Brad SmithSenior Vice President and General Counsel
Earlier this week, I traveled to Olympia to testify before the Washington State legislature on the recommendations of the Higher Education Funding Task Force, which I had the privilege to chair. The task force recommendations provide a systematic roadmap for stabilizing the health of our higher education sector and paving the way for more Washington students to earn four-year degrees.
As I talked with lawmakers, I was struck by several observations.
First, some proposals floating around Olympia would result in even deeper cuts to higher education, making a bad problem even worse. Higher education has undergone severe budget cuts over the past couple of budgets, and that is ground we will need to make up if we expect our public colleges and universities to serve more Washington students going forward.