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Increasing H-1B Visas Is Only a Short-Term Fix to IT Shortages

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The latest report from technology association AeA appears to confirm that while there is good news about the IT market -- with IT employment growing 2.6 percent in 2006 -- bad news may not be far behind.

 

According to AeA, unemployment for computer scientists and electrical engineers is practically nonexistent (2.5 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively).

 

This would be a good thing if there were lots of aspiring scientists and engineers coming up through the ranks. But has been widely reported, this is not the case. "Our own kids are not going into math and science, and we can't hire foreigners like we did for the 50 years before 2001. This could be a disaster," says AeA's president and CEO.

 

Not coincidentally, the AeA is lobbying for more H-1B visas, which allow U.S. companies to employ foreign workers. The AeA is also promoting the idea of emphasizing math and science education in U.S. schools.

 

We like an approach advocated by eWEEK columnist Eric Lundquist, which adds a much-needed long view to the short-term H-1B solution. Lundquist proposes that every U.S. company that employs H-1B workers would also be required to contribute to the education of a U.S. student or to retrain existing tech workers in the desired skills.

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