April 21, 2017
Brent Parton wrote for Politico about how H-1B reform should present apprenticeship as an alternative to filling entry-level tech jobs:
This week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to curb abuse of the H-1B foreign worker visa program. While H-1B visas were designed to fill a shortage of specialized PhDs and engineers, employers, predominantly in the tech industry, have instead used them to fill entry-level programming and software development jobs.
The rationale for the H-1B program is clear: if there aren’t enough qualified American workers for these positions, then to compete and innovate, companies should be able to import them from abroad. In practice, it hasn’t always worked out this way. That Trump has prioritized reducing abuse of the H-1B program is welcome news. But that only solves one part of the problem. Tough talk and punitive measures alone though won’t do anything to actually grow the pool of high-skilled American workers and connect more of them to the good paying jobs tech can offer.