Bill Gates on the Need for Skilled Workers

By March 19, 2006General

Great piece by David Broder in today’s WaPo entitled, “For Gates, a Visa Charge“. It talks about bill gates’ visit to Washington this past week to push for more high-skilled H1B visas.

It’s been well-documented that we fall behind some of our major competitors in math, science and engineering education. And, this is our lifeblood for innovation. We also know that so many of our graduates in these disciplines are foreign students. So why on earth do we send ’em packing, send ’em home after they’ve been dedicated here? Are we putting the next Andy Grove or Sergey Brin on that plane? If so, big mistake. Sen. George Allen (R-VA) quipped at the NAM Board meeting that he’d attach a visa to the diploma, were it up to him. To that we say, “Amen”. The other side (the Dobbsians) makes the specious argument that somehow these are American jobs that these foreigners are taking . Broder pretty well debunks that myth, noting that the unemployment rate for computer and mathematical operators is under 3%. Broder quotes Gates as saying, “If you’re graduating from a reasonable university in this country with a degree in computer science, you have many job offers.” We know this to be true from our members, who tell us every day of their difficulty in finding skilled workers.

There’s also another great quote from Gates:

People just shake their heads at what kind of a central planning system would say having 65,000 smart people come in, that’s OK, by 70,000 smart people, no.”

It is long past time to boost the number of H1B visas we allow in this country.