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A skills shortage, a STEM response

Oct 19, 2011
Carter Wood

Recent items that have caught our attention in the world of workforce, skills and education...

Business Roundtable cosponsors STEM Summit -- News release, U.S. News, "STEM Summit 2012":

WASHINGTON, DC—October 18, 2011—U.S. News & World Report together with Innovate + Educate, STEMconnector™, and over 40 key organizations representing industry and education, will hold a major national event to focus policymakers and the public on the critical shortage of STEM skills in the American workforce. The three-day session called STEM Summit 2012 convenes at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel on June 27, 28, and 29 and will explore solutions and successes in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) as the pathways to jobs....

"Technology and innovation are key drivers to economic growth and jobs," said John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable. "U.S. workforce training has to catch up to a global economy where more and more jobs require STEM training. CEO's and education leaders have an important role to play in linking STEM education to job creation."

"We believe this Summit is critical to bringing industry, policy, and education thought leaders together to create a collective impact to advance the future STEM workforce that will move our economy forward," said Jami Grindatto, Intel Corporation and chairman of Innovate+Educate.

Skills shortage continues to afflict industry, growth -- News release, "Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte Release 2011 Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing Report":

10/17/11 -  American manufacturing companies cannot fill as many as 600,000 skilled positions – even as unemployment numbers hover at historic levels – according to a new survey from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute.

The survey, “Boiling Point? The skills gap in U.S. manufacturing,” polled a nationally representative sample of 1,123 executives at manufacturing companies recently and revealed that 5 percent of current manufacturing jobs are unfilled due to a lack of qualified candidates. ...

 

“These unfilled jobs are mainly in the skilled production category – positions such as machinists, operators, craft workers, distributors and technicians,” said Emily DeRocco, president, The Manufacturing Institute. “Unfortunately, these jobs require the most training and are traditionally among the hardest manufacturing jobs to find existing talent to fill.”

The full report is available here.

Michael Barone column, Washington Examiner, "Barone: Congress says yes to high-skill immigrants":

[It's] apparent that the United States needs more high-skill immigrants -- job creators rather than job seekers. The death of Steve Jobs (whose father, it turns out, was an immigrant) reminds us that highly talented individuals can be huge national assets.

The response in the House of Representatives has been a bipartisan push for more green card slots for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) graduates of American universities.

One sponsor is Silicon Valley's Zoe Lofgren, ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee's immigration subcommittee. Another, who apparently copied much of Lofgren's bill, is Idaho freshman Republican Raul Labrador.

And it appears that the chairman of the full Judiciary Committee, Lamar Smith of Texas, is interested. This is noteworthy because Smith has been an implacable opponent of any bill containing legalization or amnesty provisions.