Comprehensive immigration reform and STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) are critical to manufacturers – to address a skills gap that has left 600,000 jobs vacant and to build a 21st century workforce that manufacturers in the U.S. need to compete and succeed in the global economy.
Caterpillar is doing its part in spreading that message, sending its Chief Technology Officer, Gwenne Henricks, to Capitol Hill today to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee.
Ms. Henricks told the committee that our education system simply isn’t producing the necessary pipeline of STEM graduates manufacturers need to meet workforce needs – and a solution through immigration reform is badly needed.
“At Caterpillar, we know our people are our greatest asset. We employ more than 10,000 engineers, technologists and scientists worldwide who are dedicated to developing technologies that reshape the process of using, managing and owning heavy equipment. Last year, we filed for nearly 1,100 patents and spent approximately $2.4 billion on research and development. We need a solution that will address these issues and help us grow a sustainable pipeline of highly skilled workers to meet our growing needs while preserving the environment for future generations through innovation and collaboration,” said Henricks.
Getting comprehensive immigration reform enacted into law won’t be easy – if it was, it would already be done. The way we’re going to get the ball across the goal line here is by making sure that policymakers truly understand how essential reform is to the health of manufacturing and our economy as a whole. Big kudos to Caterpillar for taking such a leadership role in getting that message out there.